Monday, May 5, 2014

Keep Calm and Carry On

First, Poison in the Blood got a 4-star review from RT Book Reviews! w00t!

"The second installment of the Emily Chronicles brings fans right back into the dark, imaginative world of a London filled with magic and the fascinating characters who control it. Emily Black is a strong, courageous heroine, with a moral compass that serves her well as loyalties begin to shift around her and her marriage evolves in ways she never could have imagined. Bachar keeps the plot moving along nicely, and her inventiveness makes the world of this story come to life."

So cool. :) Remember, you can get 30% off the ebook of Poison in the Blood at the Samhain store when you use the coupon code POISON14 at checkout. I'll stop now...

It's a great feeling when you get a good review. And it's a terrible feeling when you get a bad review, but that's to be expected. It's like the old saying,
"You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time."
Authors, some readers will hate your book, and that's okay. What's more, a bad review can be a good thing. I attended Sarah Wendell's "Romance Reviews: How to Get Reviewed, and How to Put a Review in Your Rearview Mirror" workshop at the Spring Fling, and she discussed how the epic D- review for The Playboy Sheikh's Virgin Stable Girl continues to sell books every time she mentions it. (And I don't know about you guys, but I totally bought and read Pregnesia based on the SBTB review.) A trope/character/theme that one reader hates is often another reader's catnip.

But there's a lot of drama that goes on in the endless "authors versus reviewers" Internet battle. You'd think it was the Starks versus the Lannisters. Or better yet, the Lannisters versus the Lannisters.


Anne Rice was recently in the news talking about author bullying. I'm not going anywhere near the STGRB crazy town, though Jenny Trout trying to drop some knowledge on Anne Rice and being called a "gangster bully" for her efforts is definitely worth noting. (Especially because it reminded me of the "Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta" scene in Office Space.) (You need T-shirts, Jenny.)

For me, the importance is in the focus of what you're hating on. It's okay to hate the book. Throw it against the wall to your heart's content. Hate the characters. Hate the pacing, the plot, the cover. Just don't hate the author as a person. It's the "I hated this book and I think that this author should be raped in prison" comments that skew toward harassment. From what I've encountered this is not a widespread problem in the romance community, but good lord, the sci-fi and gaming community has an ugly history of it. (Ever heard of Anita Sarkeesian? She spoke out against misogyny in video games and got an avalanche of rape and death threats.)(By the way, her "Tropes vs Women in Video Games" series is really interesting.)

I've been harassed online as an online gamer--specifically a female gamer. And not only the random "get back in the kitchen and make me a sandwich" or "do you want to cyber?" comments (the answer is no and no), but I received constant threats that lead me to delete my character and quit the game. Thankfully I've never experienced harassment as an author, and I hope I never do.

When you're sitting at your computer or staring at your phone it's easy to forget that there are other people out there somewhere in the ether of the Internet. So, with all that in mind, here are Auntie Robyn's Tips for Posting Words on the Internet
  1. Take a deep breath. Walk away from the thing inducing your rage for at least 10 minutes before you post about it. I recently got a new smart phone, switching from an Apple product to a non-Apple product. I've been ready to smash this damn phone against the wall so many times. If I were to write a review of the phone while I'm swearing and ready to throw it across the room it would be a very different commentary from the review I'd write ten minutes later after I figured out what the problem was.
  2. Take another deep breath and perhaps a grain of salt. I'll admit it, I've cried over bad reviews. But then I had a beer and/or some chocolate and moved on. I have learned things about my writing from these bad reviews, and I hope that I've grown as a writer because of them. Bad reviews will happen. Bad books will happen. It's just the way of the Force.
  3. Still have rage face? Go ahead, vent your spleen. If we've learned anything from Disney's Frozen, it's that sometimes you have to let it go, because you can't hold it back anymore. Go forth and share your feels. But as you're venting, ask yourself a few questions before you hit post. Like, "Would I say this to a person if I met them face-to-face?" "How would I feel if someone said this to me? Or to a family member?" In the age of Google alerts, there's a good chance that the author will see your review. Most people will be okay with you hating their work, but not okay if you're stating that you want them to die in a fire because of it.
  4. You can like a thing and still voice critical commentary about it. Also, it is okay if someone else has critical commentary on the thing that you love. This is an area where fandoms tend to lose their damn minds in unreasonable ways. For some reason they take criticism of that thing they love (like a video game, or a comic book series) as a personal attack and go WTF crazy on the person who had the criticism. Authors, it's okay if someone doesn't like your book. Don't try to authorsplain the many reasons you think that reader is wrong, or didn't understand your book. Don't unleash your army of followers on someone who one-starred you on Amazon. That person is allowed to have an opinion.
  5. Remember Wheaton's Law. I cannot stress this one enough.
Now I'm gonna go hug my RT review and bask in its awesome, because I know there's always a chance they'll give my next book 2 stars (like they did for B,B&B) or call my hero fluff (like they did with B,S&M). And that's okay. It's all okay.

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