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Just to recap

Reviews are the opinion of the reader who read your work. You write something, you send it out into the world and people read it. Maybe, if you are going to get offended by the way people interpret it, you could add some disclaimers:

- not to be read by people who aren't me
- not to be read by people who are going to say they don't like it/get it if they don't
- not to be read by girliejones - that's fine by the way, if you don't want me to read your work, chances are that I don't want to read it either

You cannot control how someone reads your work. If they misinterpret it or don't get it or don't get it the way it was intended THAT IS YOUR FAULT AS THE WRITER not the reader's. Get on with it and write better stuff, don't whinge to me. Cause every single time I get one of these, I'm forced to go read the material and agree with my reviewer (haven't found an example yet where I didn't but heck, now I have to check the latest one out).

PS I'm also getting sick of having to read bad things said about my reviewers in your whiny emails. We put up on ASif! the background of our reviewers as a courtesy. Don't you think everyone reads them and makes their own judgements? Reading a whiny email where you point out this reviewer said they were X on their bio does not make me want to take your side over theirs. After all, they sat down, read your work and wrote me up a review in their spare time. And you're taking up some of my spare time with your whining. I'm not going to take down reviews after their published.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 7th, 2007 02:35 pm (UTC)
Gosh... as far as I know there is NO field in the arts where artist's get to negotiate the content of their reviews... so what's going on? Every time you get one of these what?!!
Jan. 7th, 2007 02:38 pm (UTC)
Oh I get them at regular intervals. As though a reviewer must surely have been biased because they state on their bio they like dogs and this was a story aimed at cat lovers.
Jan. 7th, 2007 02:43 pm (UTC)
That is so unprofessional for a writer to do that!

I would reply to such complaints by quoting AC/DC:

'If you wanna be a star of stage & screen,
Look out! - it's rough & mean.
It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock'n'roll...

Which is why I'm not an editor. ;-)
Jan. 7th, 2007 02:48 pm (UTC)
Yeah but now you have that stuck in my head, which is better than the raging thoughts I was having.

It should be noted that the writers are never one's you've heard of. I can't imagine Big Names in the scene sending me these emails.
Jan. 7th, 2007 02:44 pm (UTC)
I do think that readers can misinterpret the works of writers, and have it be the readers' fault -- either because they weren't reading carefully, came in with preconceived biases, or other issues. But, outside of press releases issued on their behalf, writers and artists can't control this, and it's downright silly to think they can't. I'll admit, though, that I don't take bad reviews well myself -- they send me into a sulk. A quiet sulk that demands copious amounts of chocolate to help me deal.
Jan. 7th, 2007 02:52 pm (UTC)
I'll admit to having taken some of the stuff I read the wrong way this year and because I wasn't reading carefully but in every case it was because the first 4 pages were dull dull dull. Never had a problem with concentration with a really polished piece :-)

I get that bad reviews suck. Every time I get one of the emails, I also want to go into a sulk. They never start with "thanks for taking the time to review this story of mine even though I am actually a no-name crap writer who will change hobbies next year and vaguely talk about how I used to write at dinner parties." And it forces me to put posts up like this that look like *I'm* whinging when really I'm trying to help "up and coming" (their words not mine) writers act professionally.

Jan. 7th, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC)
The main reason I just sulk quietly in private with some chocolate is that I figure if I say anything, I'll get an even worse review the next time.

And if I don't focus on the concept of "there will be a next time," I'd just give up on writing altogether.
Jan. 11th, 2007 06:13 am (UTC)
Well but that's the point! And the next piece, or the rewrite will be better!
Jan. 7th, 2007 08:46 pm (UTC)
Cool writers do thank you. I've had some great messages and letters from authors who I have reviewed this year, who've thanked me for taking the time even though what I said wasn't entirely complimentary.

My favourite is when I was bitching on my blog about how my brain was in no fit state to cope with a Jeff VanderMeer novel and he appeared in the comments (Gah!) to say, "Yeah, don't read that, it's rubbish, read *** (not his work) instead.

I kind of loved that. :)

Hey, the letter's page didn't work out - giving the complainers a platform - so why not try putting up a FAQ of what to do if you want to complain about a review?

1. It is okay to request that any glaring inaccuracy in a review be corrected/noted. The implementation of this is at the discretion of the editor, but generally we prefer not to look stupid, and will be grateful for such input.

2. It is not okay to complain that a review does not like your book.

3. It is not okay to make personal or hurtful remarks about a reviewer, or about the manager or admin staff of the site.

4. We know that bad reviews suck. We get that. But they are not directed at you personally. Please do not assume that they are.

5. Really, it's not about you.

6. Or you.

7. Good reviews are a reward, not a privilege. Treasure them as the jewels that they are.

8. Disliking a particular book does not automatically void a reviewer's qualifications to Read Books and Express Opinions About Them.

9. Professional, Big Name Authors get bad reviews. They suck it up. Sometimes they even thank the reviewer for going to the trouble of reviewing the book. That's classy.

10. Are you sure you want to send that email?
Jan. 11th, 2007 06:12 am (UTC)
I know you are right - cool writers do thank you. Or they send you personal copies of their work even though you dissed their last piece.

It's the newbies really who don't know how to behave outside a university classroom or something. See this is why I didn't choose teaching as my profession. As soon as you get done with one, you gotta start all over again with the next crop.

I like your list but I think this one would be all that's needed:

1. If you would like the editor to consider your point of you, please refrain from writing abusive or offensive emails.
Jan. 7th, 2007 02:50 pm (UTC)
If they misinterpret it or don't get it or don't get it the way it was intended THAT IS YOUR FAULT AS THE WRITER not the reader's.

Don't entirely agree with that. Readers do come in with their own viewpoints, they can read things into a story that were not intended by the writer. I had a fanfic where one reader took it an entirely different way to what was intended. I was upset, questioning myself, wondering what I'd done wrong. But everyone else had read it the way I intended. That one reader had a particular view of the characters and so she'd read things that were light hearted, joking, as nasty. I wrote back a polite email explaining my intention and she said she could then see that.

But that's probably a bit different to original fic. And I don't understand why anyone would complain to you. They should be happy that their stories are being reviewed, and realise that reviews are usually taken with a few grains of salt anyway.

Wish you didn't have to put up with this nonsense.
Jan. 7th, 2007 02:57 pm (UTC)
I think that's a fair point and maybe *the* point. Readers come to work from their own position and you can't control their interpretation of your work. Once you put it out there, you've done your bit. And any interpretation is not wrong - it's *an* interpretation. The experience is owned by the reader.

*Often* I see things in work that noone else sees. That's my experience and it's unique. And that's the best and worst of art.

I would have thought it be better to be reviewed than not be reviewed at all .... or is that love? I no longer remember :-)

I wish people could learn to discern between fact and opinion and that neither matters in this case because all press is good press. And I agree with you - *OFTEN* I will read something that got a bad review. I, personally, can separate the opinion of a reviewer from the work and whether I wan to read it.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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