Posted by : Sherri Cornelius Thursday, September 17, 2009

Something occurred to me this morning upon waking. When I get published--how do you like that positive spin, when--people will start talking about how much they like, or dislike, my book. Not only critics, but regular people, too. If my book gets any exposure at all, it will be discussed somewhere on the internet.

Then I started thinking about how I talk about movies and books. Do I give thoughtful commentary and gentle advice? Not really. Usually I declare something sucks or rocks. And though saying something sucks is not thoughtful commentary, it's a lot gentler language than I've seen lots of interweb denizens use.

I know intellectually not everyone will like my work. But in my mental preparation I've focused on professional reviews, and most professionals have a certain amount of decorum, and normally don't use phrases like "hated it" or "sucked the big one" or "OMG its so stupid do NOT read tihs book" (sic). I'm pretty sure I can process professional criticism. A reader's criticism, I'm not so sure. I ready for that? Are you?

{ 23 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Hmm. I remember Bryce addressed this in his blog a while back when someone compared his self-published Oasis to a bean burrito: "This book is like a $0.69 cent bean burrito from Taco Bell. It will dull your hunger for zombie brain bashing if you're really in a fix, but it will not satisfy."

    Check out a link he has published in the Self Published Carnival #4 about 'When Authors Attack.'

    Maybe you just need to toughen up in advance of your monumental success so that you're ready for it... for only $49.99 a month I will put together a gradually incremented level of online literary abuse for you. That's a BARGAIN ;)

    I think you'll handle it just fine. You're gonna be a superstar!


  2. When you get published, you've got two options:

    Option 1) Become a recluse. Hide in your mansion, never write again, rarely ever go out into the world, when you do, wear a brown paper bag over your head.

    Option 2) Uberarrogance. Tell everybody, even those who don't care, that you're the greatest writer of all time. Shakespeare, Kafka and Hemingway haven't the talent to even kiss your ass, let alone write something that compares to your work. Tell everybody that their work is crap compared to yours.

  3. Can I hide in my mansion and still write? (like I'd have a mansion to hide in.)

  4. Superstah!

    But see, that quote you gave is something I think I could handle. It's thought out, and obviously a chance for the critic to show how clever he is.

    I might take your offer of abuse. ;)

  5. I'm already expecting to get rabid hatred from fanboys (the comic book geek community is probably second only to Twilight lovers in capacity for vitriol). I'll hear that X character is a ripoff of Y character from Z publisher, and Z publisher did it better anyway. On the other hand, they'll be faithful purchasers of every book to keep their collections complete, so there's that.

    I figure it's just part of the job, like rejection letters and synopses.

  6. Well now I know which of WIGSF's options you will fit into. LOL

  7. I might have a total niche opportunity here - abuse fledgeling authors so that they're hardened to the abuse. Maybe I should just start sending out random rejection letters to people who publish stuff on the Internet who haven't even SUBMITTED things yet.

    Wait, that might affect my karma - you think?

  8. I think that the fact you're aware of this, thinking about it, and preparing yourself for it means that when (what a great word, when) it happens, you can handle it. Yeah, it'll hurt, of course, and it'll make you mad, but being prepared for it will enable you to channel your feelings into making your work better. You'll be able to shrug them off.

  9. I have given thought to this very question. I'm not sure if I'm ready. While it warms my heart greatly to see a positive review on something of mine, it's like a stake to the heart if someone doesn't like it. Of course, the same thing happened with my first rejections, and after a dozen or so of those, I've felt that the stake doesn't penetrate quite as deep as it did. So I expect the same will happen when someone reads something of mine and compares it to a Taco Bell burrito.

    Though on that note, I actually like Taco Bell burritos. LOL

  10. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Taco Bell burritos, and Bryce is a tougher cookie than Kristy let on in her comment. He knows how to take it on the chin, knew he would take it on the chin, and was willing to put his work out there anyway.

    And for you, the same. You might be taken by surprise at some of the venomous injection people are capable of when they do say something unkind about your work, but eventually you'll have seen them all. When someone comes up with a new one you'll smile and say, "Oh, that one's fresh and clever, ain't it?" And you'll move on.

    How do I know? I don't of course; I'm not published either. But it will be easy for you to find 10 positive reviews to every one negative one once you're published. Look at Meyer and Twilight; even Stephen King ripped her a new anus about how poor her work is, there's an Internet (it's capitalized, btw, as a proper noun) FULL to BURSTING of insulting things about her so-called "characters" and supposed "story", and yet -- she's gotten five or so books published and all have sold multimillion copies or whatever. Now she's got multiple movie deals too. She's wealthy and writing and doesn't have to work another day in her life, and not one critic I've seen likes her work. Not one. Fans, yes; vehment, rabid, slathering, defend-her-to-the-death fans, for sure. But, she sucks and she made it big. HUGE, in fact.

    You, therefore, who do NOT suck, will have no trouble finding critics who DO like your work. You'll see.

    Can you handle it? Meyer can. Why couldn't you?

    Load me up with burritos. They're yummy and a great late-night snack. :)

  11. I can beat your price, AND offer more scathing insults and Felix the Donut Vendor stories to boot. Overall, I'm a better value to the customer. I'll outbid you for the insulting contract on this.

    Or you can consider a partnership wherein I buy you out Bill Gates style; not Bill Gates real-life, Bill Gates The Simpsons style.

    Your choice. ;)

  12. I pride myself on being able to take criticism, though my critics so far have been a bunch of wannabes like me. Some of it was not so nice, and I got through it all right. I'm sure there'll be a learning curve, but hopefully I'll be able to shrug off the occasional (there's another hopeful word) bad review.

  13. Your comment assumes I'll be making millions of dollars to sooth the wounds. It also assumes that Meyer and I are made of the same stuff, and that Meyer doesn't cry in her pillow at night. ;)

    But yeah, I know it'll be fine, it was just an angle I hadn't considered before.

  14. When you're published, why do you think you'll have the time or the inclination to read snarky Internet comments from people who don't like your work?

    You'll be too busy dancing around the mansion singing, "I'm a published author, tra la la la la! And you're NOT! Ha ha ha ha HA!" And then writing some more. :D

  15. Good point! I'll probably leave off the "you're not" part, though. :D

  16. Buying out Bill Gates on The Simpsons style. Classic!

  17. When I had my first art show I was terrified of the potential criticism. And then one day while sitting in the cafe where my work was hanging a guy started talking to the group I was with. No one there happened to know I was the artist of the work on the walls. This guy did NOT like my work. He said several things about to us. The other people at the table didn't agree with him, but they didn't leap to the work's defense either. I said nothing.

    Then the guy left without knowing I was the person he was insulting.

    And to my surprise while it didn't feel great, it didn't upset me as much as I thought it would. I felt okay. So even though I am not looking forward to the hate, I think it will be okay. (And I am sure there will be hate!)

  18. LMAO, I love Darc's Falcon's comment. Dancing around your mansion sining. Just don't dance with your burito, makes a mess. :)

    As for all of this I am conflicted. I take constructive critisim from people that are...more experienced than me, like Darc, he is an awesome author. He doesn't tear apart my work, but will actually give constructive critisim. It doesn't make me cringe when I see a super long post or email from him, because he will take the time to follow up and be sure to help me along.

    I don't think I have had any haters yet that just want to mindlessly bash my work. But then, I'm still a little nobody on the blogsphere....

  19. I think I remember you talking about that when it happened. Urgh.

    But why are we so sure there will be hate? Why? Maybe everybody will love our work. No reason they shouldn't, as far as I can see. I'm sure they will let me know what the reason is, though.

  20. You hit on something there, Beth. I think I would benefit from finding someone more experienced than me to critique my work. I guess at this point it would have to be a published author in my genre, but one of those willing to help an unpubbed noob is hard to find. A few years ago I happened to meet someone more experienced who was willing to help me, and I benefited greatly.

  21. Yeah, you can handle it; Meyer DOES cry -- all the way to the bank. If she can be a megastar (megastah), so can you!

  22. I can't wait to cry all the way to the bank. I usually cry leaving it. lmao


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