Word of mouth is a bitch: an opinionated response.
There’s a bit of a debate raging in the book blogosphere.
Independent author Sylvia Massara wrote a blog post urging authors to beware “the unprofessional reviewer.” However, Massara took what could have been a professional, diplomatically written blog post and turned it into a whining rant stemmed from reading a bad review about one of her books.
Massara’s blog post is objective for all of three paragraphs. In the fourth paragaph, it becomes blaringly clear that Massara is writing from anger. Not only does call the reviewers of her work unprofessional, she claims they were not objective in their reviews and then she states who these bloggers are and links to their respective websites.
It’s one thing to claim a book review website is being unprofessional, it’s another thing entirely to name who they are. At this point, Massara’s just pointing fingers at the people who gave her a bad review.
As a book blogger, I’ve written my share of good and bad reviews. I’ve even written a review on a book I did not finish. I stated that I did not finish that book and I even told readers to take my review with a grain of salt because of that.
Regardless of whether my reviews are glowing or scathing, one thing remains the same: all of my reviews are subjective.
It’s almost impossible to write an objective review. It’s a review. It’s commentary on what I liked or did not like about something. And while I agree with Massara when she says that reviewers should back up their comments with facts (provided that it does not ruin the book), I do not agree with Massara on several other things she comments about in her blog post.
In her post, Massara writes, “Oftentimes, the people who set up these [book review] blogs have never written a thing in their lives, except maybe a grocery list. Most are avid readers who think they are qualified to review someone else’s work.”
Ouch, Massara, ouch.
You basically just called readers/book reviewers idiots.
Unless you know every reader/book reviewer on the net personally, don’t insult them.
I’m a writer. I write fiction and I write articles. I’m also a wife. I write grocery lists and I write to-do lists.
I’m also a public relations major, so let me give you some free public relations advice: issue an apology. Apologize to those book bloggers you bashed in your post. Apologize to the readers/reviewers who came to your blog today. Apologize via Facebook. Apologize on Twitter. APOLOGIZE.
You’ve already ruined your reputation, but don’t be a bitch about it. Apologize.
The only people unqualified to review a book are people who have not read the book.
Whether a person reads one book a year or 20 books a month, they are qualified to review someone else’s work. That’s how it works. A person reads a book and forms an opinion. They either enjoyed the book or they didn’t.
That opinion is subjective. I may read a book and think the world of it. I’ll recommend that book to a friend. My friend may read the book and think it was OK, but nothing great. Another friend may read it and think, “What a load of crap.”
I know writers usually aren’t big for math lessons, but let’s try a simple one.
If reviews = opinions, and opinions = subjective, then it’s safe to say that reviews are subjective.
It’s really that simple.
“It’s very sad when [book reviewers] go about damaging the image of upcoming small press and indie authors with the rubbish they write,” Massara states in her blog.
What’s sad is an indie author ruining her own career with a single, badly-written, unprofessional blog post.
You know what else is sad? An eleven year old shaming you on your own blog post.
Eleven-year-old book blogger Melina comments, “It is kind of mean to link to their blogs and say what you said. They were just blogging their feelings about your book. You are blogging about their blogs and about them as people. It’s different.”
Other comments to Massara’s post come from other authors. An anonymous author writes, “Please, please, please, do yourself a favor and remove this post before it gets out of hand and damages your career.”
Oops. Too late.
The book blogosphere is buzzing about your whining rant, Massara.
And this time, you have no one to blame but yourself.
Edit: Apparently, Massara has edited her post. She has taken down the links of the review blogs she bashed and added a tidbit at the end of her post about commenting. Sorry, Massara. It’s too late. Google has cached your original post, and the damage has already been done.
Edit Part Deux: Checking back with Massara, she’s now deleted all the comments to the post. Still no apology.