I’m having an ongoing discussion on this very topic with another writer that I work with. She recently came under criticism for one of her works saying it was way off base and she needed to “get it right.” The funny thing about this is that the person criticizing her doesn’t know that she’s been a professional in her field for several decades. I’m advising this friend that the ‘advice’ she’s being offered should not be considered, because it’s crossed the line into opinion (and we all know how valuable that, given that everybody has one). In essence, it's nothing but the other person bleeding insecurity all over my friend, and she doesn't have time for that.
Constructive criticism is necessary, and we need it to improve. However, the verb in that statement is CONSTRUCTIVE. It needs to have a valid, neutral point. One thing I’ve found disturbing is that many book reviewers seem to think it’s clever to get “snarky” in their reviews lately, and they don’t realize how bad that makes them look. I was really amused by this award because the last book review I got a couple of months ago was for Progenitor, and it was so full of “text speak” and snark that I deleted it. I’m sure s/he thought they were extremely clever and witty, but to me it seemed to reflect badly on them to the point it would eventually embarrass them, and I wasn’t going to allow my hard work to be used in that manner. The entire point I gathered from that review is that they absolutely did NOT understand what they read, so they they lashed out in emotion. Then I get an award two months later. It just goes to show how subjective reviews are, especially when it comes to fiction.
This helped me to file that chip off my shoulder, but I’m still hesitant to solicit for book reviews until I see the general trends in this area. It’s not looking good, as I’m still seeing that “snark” in many book reviews for my peers. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that if you expect us to be professional as a writers, then we expect you to be professional as a reviewer. Heck, it has broader implications than readers and writers. It’s about being a decent human being.
But writers also have to learn not to take things personally, even if it seems personal when a reviewer writes something that clearly indicates that they either don’t like or understand our work. Yes, they should have sense enough to admit they don’t “get it,” or to not review things they don’t usually read, but you can’t count on people having sense enough to do it. People rarely act according to logic, because human default settings is to follow personal feelings. Learning to chill out and accept that most things aren’t about you puts you a step ahead of a lot of the world.
Perhaps that’s a good lesson to take into the holidays, and beyond.
But still, phrases like LOL and ROFL should never be used outside of your texting app. A professional should know this is improper and inappropriate.
As for the award, they did send me a badge to put on my book cover now , but I'm no graphic artist. Author Shout will have their website updated with the awards and graphics for the winners in mid-January. I'll wait and let their pros do it right. I can be patient and share more on that in mid-January.
That’s all today. Take care, and have a great rest of the week.