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VIRTUALLY HERS came out Oct. 2009. Get it at SAMHAIN Publishing. VIRTUALLY ONE coming soon.
VIRTUALLY HERS OUT IN PRINT AUG 2010.

I've also made available at Amazon BIG BAD WOLF a COS Commando book, an earlier manuscript about Killian Nicholas Langley. You can sample the first five chapters right here. EBOOK now available for KINDLE, NOOK, and at SMASHWORDS for $4.99.

I appreciate all your emails. If you'd like to buy Virtually His NEW, please contact me. Thank you.



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VIRTUALLY HERS UPDATE

VIRTUALLY HERS OUT IN PRINT AUG 2010! Discounted at Amazon!

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sometimes You Have To Let It Go

I rested today by catching up with bills, emails and news ;-). So exciting.

The Internet is abuzzed with Bad Big Author Behavior again. Best-selling author Alice Hoffman went on a Twitterampage after receiving a lukewarm review from the Boston Globe's Roberta Silman. She went so far as to actually publish the reviewer's phone number and telling her readers to harass her.

When I read the review, it wasn't by any means savage or one-sided. Silman gave good and bad points, but Hoffman obviously strongly disagreed. Which is her right (we authors tend to disagree with bad reviews of our books, ahem), but I think it crosses the line when she decided to put the reviewer's phone number out to the public, you know? It's a book review, not a screaming contest.


Anyway, Hoffman also obviously didn't realize how popular Twitter was because her bout of insanity (which we authors sometimes have too) caught the attention of many major papers and blogs, including the NYT. By Monday, she issued a lukewarm apology through her publicist and deleted her Twitter acct. Another clue to Hoffman's naivete, since we all know the Internet never forgets and that deleting doesn't neccessarily gone forever. Screen captures of her Twitterama have been posted in blogs and news articles.

As a published author, I understand the frustration and indignation of having one's works being criticized. It's not easy being told the book failed in this or that aspect, but I always keep in mind that this is so for that reader, and no matter how big that reviewer is, it's still one reader. Also, it never fails to puzzle me why an author would actually go so far as to put out an angry rant against the reviewer. For reviewing his/her book! For putting it out into the public! It's way, way, WAY better than suffering the fate of being lost in oblivion among 10000 books, I tell you.

I've been told many hurtful things about my stories and writing style, through emails and on discussion forums. Many times, I've sat on my hands while I read them because the urge to reply and defend myself is very human. I do think that sometimes it's good to clarify certain points if there were some misunderstandings about the plot, but most of the time, it's better to just learn to ignore the pain or not read any reviews altogether.

There are, however, some fairly ridiculous criticisms that had come my way through the years. And I've talked about them here in my blog because I felt the attacks were unneccesarily vicious. Let's see:

1) the one who emailed about my writing porn trash

That one was fairly amusing, especially, during a quick search, I discovered that the writer was on the board of a library. Anyway, this person wrote at least five or six emails denouncing my sex scenes till I finally had to tell her, politely of course, that I was sorry it didn't work out, but there was no one forcing her to read another of my books.

2) the one who called me a pimp for writing about female trafficking

It was a strange review, which I thought was unfair, since I was in no way glorifying this horrible crime. Would someone writing about gruesome murders be called a murderer? Would someone writing about torture be called a sadist?

3) the one who thought military men weren't romantic and wrote to me about EVERY of my book that contained military characters

Umm. Well, I thanked her for buying my books. What could I say?

4) the one who thought "kickass" women shouldn't have long hair like Nikki's.

This person wrote on every forum out there basically this same comment. She also added that her hair got caught in an elevator once, so she couldn't believe an operative would actually have hair that long. Then, after a while, she finally wrote me an email about it. This hair thing obviously bothered her a great deal. Since I traversed the Internet so much and was aware of her irritation, I was sympathetic to her pain.

5) the most recent one was an email from Macedonia asking me why I was portraying her country in such a bad light, that there was no such thing happening in her part of the world. She was very adamant about this.

You hear that incredulous laughter? Yes, moi. But what can I say/do? Send her links of all the news articles, UN reports and personal accounts from abused Eastern European women that I've read during my research? Ask some of the women I've interviewed to write her?

At least this reader was polite ;-).

Really, there's nothing for me to say, but to take it as part of the experience of being published. You put your work out there; readers are going to experience the stories their own way. I couldn't have anticipated the negative points brought up above (Long hair? Pimping?) but then I also haven't anticipated the many great emails I've received through the years, including the ones from readers who have found my books a comfort during hard times.

Being published, for me, is wanting to be read, to connect with as many readers as I can. But the downside is, that also means getting readers who don't connect and don't mind saying it in the snarkiest way. As a roofer, I've heard worse comments, so no, I'm not as bothered by it. Besides, some of the snark was quite funny.

I tell myself that these readers gave me 25 cents and made my publisher happy with a sale. I also remind myself that I am also a reader and have my likes and dislikes. I just don't email the author to tell him/her how he/she failed! My personal rule: email and internet forums are like real-time conversations--if I wouldn't say something to the person face-to-face, I wouldn't write the post. I very much doubt many of the snarkers would actually go up to the writer in real life to say, "I think your book is trash! In fact, I threw it away! And I'm never going to buy another of your books, you moron!" But somehow, they think an email with those words is okay. Strange.

But back to Hoffmangate, who did it the other way round (paraphrasing her tweets): "I think your review is trash! Who are you, you moron, to criticize me, a bestselling author? You're a nobody, that's who! And now I'm going to tell the world your phone number so they can tell you you're a moron too!" You just know she didn't even think twice about typing those words, but if she'd had to take a plane to Boston to confront that reviewer, she probably would've realized how extreme her reaction was.

What about you? Have you ever emailed to an author to tell her that her story sucked donkey balls? ;-)

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10 comments:

vince said...

I've never sent an author a nasty, or even polite email that I didn't like something. If I really didn't like what I read, I just didn't read it again. If it really was either a) bad or b) not my cup of tea, I just never bought another book from that author.

May said...

I do write a negative review for the book I don't like in my blog. I answer when someone asked my opinion about the book in public forum but do not put negative (or positive) review on them.

I do not send an e-mail to author to tell her how bad I think of her book. I email author to tell her how much I love her books.

However, I think I understand your Macedonian fan. I lived in Thailand and usually avoid reading any books involved with Thailand. I *knew* we are not perfect but I just do not want to know and see it portrait in the book.

LadyZannah said...

What about the one from the reader who wanted to strangle Killian's cousin? :P
Only time I've been truly upset with an author was actually Cindy Gerard. Her book on latin hottie Manny and also the one on Nolan had the most horrible Spanish I've ever seen. I told her about the bad Spanish but I also told her I enjoyed the story.

Deborah Blake Dempsey said...

You know, I've read some mediocre to bad books in my time, but I have never contacted the author to tell them. I think it takes a lot of time, dedication, love and balls to write a book and to have it published is a true gift. Just because I do not connect with it, does not mean it sucks completely so I always think "it's not MY glass of long island ice tea". Also, there's a lot of self/soul putting on the page for writers and their work are their babies which makes them sensative and protective. You truly have to grow a thick skin and unfortunately, Alice read the review on a really off day and responded to it when she should have quietly shut her computer down and grabbed her own glass of long island ice tea.

Lisa W. said...

Nope. Can't say that I have ever gone out of my way to tell an author that I didn't like their work. Dislike of something is all personal opinion so if I don't like it, I generally keep it to myself as a rule. If I do share my opinion on my dislike (which is rare) I at least try to be nice about what I have to say. I try to be as polite as possible to my authors as well as fellow readers b/c in the end, it doesn't really matter what I think about a book. Positive or negative. Everyone is right in their own mind of what they think of something. If I really like it though, I'll say so. Just because I want that author to know I like their work and that matters to me.

Gennita said...

Vince,

Sending an email telling an author why her book was a bad read does seem like a lot of work, but something must have triggered the need to communicate this.

I can understand certain situations, like when an author kills off the protagonist of a series, like Slaughter did to her main character after a bunch of books. It made me really unhappy and certainly, I agreed with many of the online discussions from similar unhappy readers. I can see, in that case, how a reader would want to tell the author what she did to an invested series character upset her.

Gennita said...

May,

I understand. It's a hot button issue for you, but would you write to that author and tell her she was writing untruths about her country?

Actually, I don't mind if there were disagreements with the politics portrayed, but this one was an adamant denial that such a thing existed.

My hot button is virgin spies. I just cannot tolerate them, for some reason, LOL.

Gennita said...

Lady Zannah,
{{I'm looking innocently at you}}. Jed is adored. ADORED, I say.

Gennita said...

Deb,

Discussion on a public forum, polite or snarky, is entirely different from sending a personal note, isn't it? At the same time, I've seen authors intrude into a public forum screaming "how dare you say these things about my book?" which also smacks of rude arrogance.

************

Lisa,

Absolutely. When I love a book, I always want to look for someone to praise it to. Why not tell the author too? ;-) It feels good to make someone's day!

J. said...

I've never read a book so bad that made me want to email/contact the author to tell them about it. But I have read my share of bad ones. Just like Lisa, if I don't like it I tend to think that it's just a difference of opinions. I may not like it but maybe someone else does? However, reading this and seeing the other ppl's comments made me realize how much I've neglected the really good authors out there. I show my support to the really good authors that I like by purchasing their book(s) but dropping a friendly email once in a while to them will surely also brighten their day =]

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