Friday, December 18, 2009

There but for the grace of God...

A short post from me this week, as I'm snowed under - literally, it snowed here last night and if there's one thing the UK can't cope with, it's a flurry of the white stuff. Stoically we endure grave threats to our nation's wellbeing - the Blitz, numerous recessions, terrorist attacks, the collected TV works of Simon Cowell. Yet when a few flakes drop from the sky, our transport system grounds to a halt, schools close and people start stockpiling tins of spam.

However, I offer all of you, writers both real and budding, a cautionary tale. What not to do when greeted with a one-star review on Amazon. We all dread having them. We've all cursed and sworn and wished ill on the reviewer who has taken a kick at our hard work. But I think we're all wise to keep our counsel.

For proof, go here..

Read it all to see the unfolding horror - and make sure you click to reveal 'Niteflyr One's' (aka the author) responses.

Crumbs...remind me to stay away from the science fiction romance genre.


Dan - Friday


  1. What a brilliant link. Thank you. Thank you. Just don't grace the discussion there with any other comments. NiteFlyr One is thriving on the ublicity.


  2. Oh my, checked out that link. it started out not to bad, but that changed quickly, looks like that author has burried her self into a spot she will have some work to come out of.

  3. Think you're right Stan. Ms Sams is probably going to end up quadrupling sales by virtue of notoriety.


  4. I didn't read every post but I saw enough to find Niteflyer's deterioration depressing. Apparently there was no one, family or friend, who could have pulled her away from the keyboard until common sense could squeeze itself in. She and the publishers may make a lot of money on this book but it won't be because the book is worth reading. A bad review doesn't kill a career but her behavior certainly kills a reputation. I think her readers will find it difficult to take her seriously as a writer.

    Leighton explained how helpful reviews are in getting books published and in helping sales. As I mentioned in a previous comment, I had not done any reviews on Amazon until a few days ago when I posted one on BURIED STRANGERS and on Yrsa's two books. I was intimidated by having to create a title but, more seriously, I don't like the star requirement. That is so subjective and more a reflection of the reviewer's taste than the quality of the book. My three kids share the same taste and interest in books but the closest I have come to reading one of their favorite authors is Dave Eggers' ZEITOUN. ( I don't include David Sedaris because those who don't find him funny must be the smallest percentage of any population).

    That being said, I will be leaving reviews of your books on Amazon as I read them. But there won't be any 1 star, negative rants. Those serve the ego of the poster who likely wants the author to know the power the reviewer wields. What better way to get back at someone who is an object of their envy?

    All the posts on Murder is Everywhere are proof of the talent of the posters.

  5. It is depressing reading Beth. I have some sympathy for Niteflyr even if I disagree entirely with her actions, but it just goes to show how, no matter how bad the review is, you need to kick the cat, down a litre of wine, or better still give a wry grin and shrug. It's all part of the game, as well as a simple fact of writing that some people out there will dislike your work regardless of how vehemently you defend it. You answer the question by pointing out that those one-star reviews are usually written by someone with an axe to grind or an issue of some sort. They're best ignored.

    The only time I have ever reacted to a bad review was when one blogger tried to label me as sexist. I sent (what I thought) was a pithy email on the basis that you can say what you like about the work but don't try and make any assumptions about me, never having met me. I felt kind of cheap afterwards though. Not sure I'd do it again.

  6. This is just terrible. The Writers Guild should fund an intervention group to keep writers from going off the deep end. On one of the groups to which I belong, we've just had a ten-day snarling match over a long (and I mean looooonnnnngggggg) piece by a writer who, essentially, called for death to all reviewers who didn't like his work. Seems it's the reviewer's responsibility to "get" (for example) whether a book is intended to be funny, rather than the writer's responsibility to make sure the humor is actually on the page.

    Every writer has had bad reviews. We send the baby out into the world, all dressed up, and hope that people will greet it with open arms, rather than a sledgehammer. When we don't get our way, the only thing to do, I think, is move to the next book. And maybe commission the creation of a voodoo doll, but privately.

  7. Dan, I think your response to the blogger regarding your supposed sexism was appropriate. You are a parent so you are familiar with the concept of the "teachable moment", those times when you have to show your children the bigger picture. Adults, too, need those moments especially because words on paper can so easily be misinterpreted. Expression and tone are in the brain of the reader not the writer.

    Tim, writing is a most dangerous high-wire act. It takes courage to put your creation into the world to be loved or pummeled. Those who are committed to criticize envy the courage as well as the talent.

    Instead of voodoo you could wish upon them a lifetime of reading the minutes of Parliament or the US Senate.

  8. Beth -- Or back issues of Westways magazine. Or anything in my dentist's office.

  9. Damm, I got here too late today and missed the fireworks!