10 June 2014

On handling disappointment and coffee #writertip

Today has been one hell of a day. Maybe not to you, but to me. I'm stressed and can't punch anything within plausible reach realistically, so I'll blog.

Lately, there seems to be a drive for author support, such a review an author, share links, etc. Which works fantastic, as word-of-mouth is really the best referral a customer, client, or especially reader in this case, can give. But what if we get a not-so-exuberant review?

Stay calm
First off, it's not the end of the world if a reader doesn't find your plot line particularly exhilarating. And what if they don't get that your story is a great big subtle metaphor for the state of the whale rights in Patagonia? Be safe. Stay calm. Most importantly of all, keep your retorts to yourself.

Even on social networks.

Stress turtle says less-stress
That's right, filter your response to the world. Because the world is watching folks, and it's even judgier than you.

Some authors are all sunshine-farts and bubbles of Eau de Madre Theresa, others are stormy individuals, subject to instant mood-shifts with tongues of lightning. It doesn't matter. Very few authors get ahead by talking shit about the very people they write to amuse, entertain and/or inform. Readers are friends. Readers are family. Readers are also customers.

Let me demonstrate.

The Starbucks state-of-mind
If any of you have set foot in Starbucks coffee chain stores lately, you might have noticed there's a new campaign for "love your coffee or we'll make it right." Right? You pay your five bucks, or whatever, they craft a coffee-infused delicious goodie for you and you are guaranteed to orgasm in your stomach or they will make that sucker all better. Well, what about books?

Do we get a guarantee we're going to love every single word? That the punctuation will be utterly flawless, enough to make Ellen Datlow weep over her keyboard with tears of joy? No. And if the reader doesn't like the book (aside from a return on Amazon and usual return policies at brick-and-mortars) do they have an iron-clad open offer to toss the book back across the way for a refund, or better yet, a full-rewrite? Not exactly.

It's a gamble
So, what Carrie's saying here, every book means taking a chance. Spending well-deserved time of relaxation on this pretty cover or that hot recommendation from RT magazine. Disappointment's a bitch.

Back to coffee.

IF your coffee was made wrong, would you go back to the barista and tell them only what was right about the coffee? Or would you say, it's bitter, too sweet, etc, and state the problems with the creation?
Aha. Gotcha.

Reviews are a choice, people. They are generally a right. People reserve the right to form an opinion based on what their five senses are telling them, and if your book (or mine) sets their stomach to a roil, or crashes their brain, they can completely say so. This is for honest, open reviews, not in reference to trolls that set out with pure intent to damage an author's career by smearing their works.

So what matters in this particular entry is a state of mind that you want to have, should you happen to catch a nasty little slash at your latest beautiful and all-perfect production. Understand that society is generally a "hated-it" sort of crowd, or ZOMG I WANNA HAVE BABIES WITH IT FIVE BILLION STARS WITH TOO MANY EXCLAMATION POINTS THAT FALL OFF THE WIDTH OF THE FUCKING WEBSITE...and not much in-between.

Now, make sure you leave a review every once in a while, and enjoy that perfect coffee.


Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...


Pamila Payne said...

Good points, Carrie. If someone tied a person to a chair, pried their eyes open, made them read a book and told them it would be the last book they'd ever be allowed access to--and they didn't like it--outrage would be understandable. Otherwise, not.

Icy Sedgwick said...

I've had less than perfect reviews before and I was more annoyed because they didn't state what they didn't like than the fact they were bad. At least if they'd pointed out what they felt was a flaw I'd have had something to work on, you know? Same as good reviews that state what they liked instead of just "OMG THIS IS AWESOME". Feedback is feedback, after all.

Unknown said...

I agree to an extent, Icy. But reviews are not writer-critique groups. They are opinions of a product, simply-put. People tend to remember cons over pros *90% of the time.

*percentage estimated

synde said...

I FUCKING LOVE THIS BLOG... As a reviewer I do not want to be attacked by someone for having an opinion..
Authors remember good or bad reviews generate buzz..be glad you are getting them at all..insert smiley face here.