Reviewing Policy/Save a Life

18 Dec

Hey guys – I got no one to chat about today, but then I got the interviews raring to go until Christmas Eve, a break on Christmas and then at least two more after, so I wanted to mention two things.

First off, I don’t know what the policy is where you are, but if you have blood services, please consider donating. I know – you’ve probably donated toys and to local shelters and you don’t have the time, but if you’ve never donated blood before, this is the perfect time to donate. In Manitoba, where I live, they put out special bulletins when they’re worried about their supplies – and I imagine it’s always a concern over the holiday season everywhere, so if you are healthy and meet the qualifications for donation, go for it. I know the needles are a little scary at first, but I’ve been donating since I became eligible and even though I’ve never needed a transfusion, it’s surprising to learn how many loved ones needed transfusions at one point or another. Besides, in Manitoba they give you soda and cookies so it’s like paying you.

And hey – if you’re not eligible, that’s cool too – I had to stop for a year when I got some piercings and then again when I got some inoculations, but if you meet eligibility criteria, go save a life or five. The rest of you: take some first aid courses for when someone chokes on a drumstick. 

 

And now that I have demanded blood, onto my policy on reviewing!

I’ve been following along with a variety of drama involving whether or not authors, inspiring or signed, should say boo to anyone online. Originally, I started a post about the importance of reviews and how inspiring authors shouldn’t be harassed into saying kind things about books because it would hurt their chances of getting published later. It got long and ranty. I’m bound to elaborate on this subject over the next few months, here’s my little reviewer opinion in a nutshell:

1.       If you see anything from me in regards to another book or whatever, it will be honest. Remember that everything that comes from me is an, “In My Opinion”. The only time I lie about what I think is good or bad is when one of my nieces or nephews asks me what I think about a cartoon. When I can no longer be fair or honest, I need to stop rating books on goodreads.

 

2.       If you’re reviewing my work, I want you to be honest. I don’t mind if you don’t like my book. I don’t mind if you point out all the errors or you hated a character or you felt something was forced or missing. For those of you who can’t differentiate between an author and their works, I don’t even mind that you find me a repulsive human being. By all means – discuss, and there’s more then one way to discuss most of what I’ll eventually end up publishing. The silly romps, not so much.

 

3.       When it boils down to it, I prefer honest criticism to generic praise. Also, I enjoy snark,so I won’t be put off if someone says something snarky about me or my work. There are things that might hit close to home over the years, but I think the vast majority of the people aren’t cruel enough to make light of personal tragedy. Those that are, aren’t worthy of the rest of our collective attention.

 

4.       Please be decent to one another when you start discussing serious topics. You’re entitled to your opinion, so are other people. I want to encourage thoughtful discussion and, if you can discuss something complicated and polarizing where everyone is respectful, You Might Have Just Won the Internet. Alas, the prize is maintaining the fragile peace…

 

5.       What you have done for me previously will not in the future be a reflection of my opinion on your work. I’m more likely to grade you harder if I liked what I saw last time and you aren’t up to par. However, I do feel the need to say, “I’ve known Author X” just to be up front. This won’t apply to authors I’ve met in like, conferences for a day or whatever, but if I chat with someone semi-regularly or they’re my beta, I’ll tell you.

 

6.       I’ll still recommend a book I didn’t like to someone looking for that kind of book. If someone’s asking for book recommendations, I usually ask what they’re looking for, and then make recommendations. Will I say, “I didn’t like it.”? Sure – but most people who know me know my tastes and quite frankly, don’t care.

 

7.       Fellow Author-Type-People, don’t be jerks. You’re an awesome person because you donated blood like I told you earlier, not because of your writing prowess. If you get your sense of self-worth based on what other people say of you, there are other issues at work here, and you probably shouldn’t be publishing anything you couldn’t stand to see ripped apart.

 

You with me so far? I know the politics of “If you come across as a negative reviewer, no one will want to publish you” but you have nothing to worry from me. If you only get one thing from this little individual blog post, I’m selfishly asking for things I can improve on.

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3 Responses to “Reviewing Policy/Save a Life”

  1. Heather Geoffries December 18, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    I’m with you. I much prefer to read an honest review. I’m also fond of a little humor to add pizzazz. When I say humor I don’t mean personal mean things just for the sake of being mean but like my crit partner picked on me for flying eyes. I had written: “so-and-so’s eyes flew to the door.” and she said: “so the character popped her eyes out and threw them across the room.” I had a pretty good laugh and fixed it. I’ve reviewed a couple books that I thought needed a lot of work and the other reviews proclaimed the piece to be awesome…I’m pretty sure they were trying to be nice on a couple of them. That doesn’t mean I shredded the person but I did point out plot holes, character’s that didn’t stay in character, and when the flow became choppy. I’m hoping that helped the author smooth things out.(and I always give the person credit for the things I like.)
    Anyway, I liked you post. Thanks for the pointers. 🙂

    • ltgetty December 19, 2012 at 3:52 am #

      Heh, I’m not sure if they’re pointers. I guess I’ve read so much drama about the author-reader relationship since especially now, do to online communication particularly, I just wanted to throw out where I am in all of it. I don’t think posts like this are really necessary, I just wanted to throw out to fellow authors to not pull punches on me in case they think I’ll be mad at them. The objective stuff like inaccuracies and inconsistencies I can’t defend, but the subjective stuff is a literal minefield in ToO, and I’m okay if the subjective stuff is also not up to par. Besides, let’s pretend I’m okay but I have one annoying quality – if no one tells me say, my dialogue sucks, then how am I to improve?

      I think there’s a difference between discussing things in a book that may or may not work and being a jerk for the sake of being a jerk, but I think the vast majority of readers can also tell. If a reviewer’s stye is snarky or hard or whatever, I think authors just have to accept that and not take it personally.

      I was originally going to write something a little funnier then this, but it got to be seven page and I figured rather then blather about the importance of a free press and all that, to be succinct with this.

      • Heather Geoffries December 19, 2012 at 4:38 am #

        Well even though I am a fan of humerus posts. I think this is a very to the point and useful topic.

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