Jules Jones

Yog's Law: Money flows *towards* the author

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julesjones
Well, I now know not to ever read a live-blogging review of one of my books... It wasn't one of my books that got eviscerated over at Dear Author this weekend, but it was a book by someone I've known a long time. It makes it rather more flinch-inducing than if it had been a stranger's book.

I'm not sure what to think about this, partly because I can't be completely detached over this particular example. I'm of the general view that authors need to learn to deal with critical and even abusive reviews (and to understand that the two are not identical), but I think live-blogging reviews have the potential to cross the line from snarking the book to snarking the author even when the reviewers are normally very clear on the difference, simply because they are immediate and off the cuff. I rather think that the best thing to do is to stay well away from one if you've got any emotional involvement at all.

ETA: This thread is now on screened comments which will be unscreened as and when I am around to do so, and disemvowelling will be applied if it becomes necessary. I apologise to those commentators who can disagree without being abusive, but some of the private email I'm getting suggests that it's now attracting drive-bys.

If you have come here from somewhere else, understand this: I am not a member of the Cult of Nice. I do not think readers should adhere to "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" when discussing books. I do think that authors should consider whether they can handle adverse comment before reading it -- and that the particular form of comment I referred to up there has the potential to get under the skin of authors who are normally able to deal with adverse comment.

If you are reading that last sentence in the original post as anything other than having an implied "lest ye be tempted to be stupid in public" clause, and you post a comment, you may not get the reaction from me that you were expecting. Whichever side you think you're on.
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I think Dear Author do actually stay the right side of the line most of the time, which is why I was rather taken aback by the way some of the comments were so gleeful about attacking the author and not just the book.

I suspect that part of the problem is that there isn't such a clear delineation between original post and audience commentary when they're doing it that way. And because it's live, there's an egging-on effect.

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Moderating the comments would change the nature of Dear Author in ways that would completely shift the community and I really don't think that's something Jane wants to do, let alone is able to do, considering she does actually have a life outside DA. FWIW. YMMV, obviously.

You're treading on thin ice here. I've seen you participate in *much* worse sporkings of other authors -- and yes, it was personal attacks on the author and not just the book.

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Not just on your own LJ -- on other people's LJs. In a thread that included something that was decidedly close to the line on incitement to go and tell the author to her face, which is why I remember it.

As a Dear Author reviewer, I have to say, No, I'm not. While I felt--well, there's an Afrikaans word "skaam" which is kind of embarrassed, kind of guilty, kind of full of schadenfreude--when I reviewed The Curtis Reincarnation, my first review of a not-good book, I tried to be honest, tried to be forthright, and tried to talk about the good as well as the bad. And I wouldn't have joined DA if I didn't think that the other reviewers had the same ethic. ::shrug:: Sorry you feel differently.

Sarah, I think the DA group are honest, decent reviewers who try very hard to write a review that is useful to readers -- of which I am one. I wouldn't participate in the comments there as much as I do if I thought there was any malice in the main posts.

bittermint, note that I said that authors should not read live-blogging reviews, not that reviewers shouldn't do them. My concern here is that there is a different emotional tone to them, and I think that they have the potential to unpleasantly surprise authors who would normally not have a problem with Dear Author's posts.

The Curtis Reincarnation

lakeaustin

2008-12-11 03:45 am (UTC)

Oh really? I quite liked The Curtis Reincarnation. Goes to show everyone has different tastes and standards. And -- we have to keep in mind that a review - no matter how professional or well-intentioned or ethical the reviewer - is one person's opinion.