Authors & Reviewers: Twain or Taint?

Everyone else and her blogging grandmother has already weighed in recently on authors and reviewers mixing it up in posts across the universe.* I thought I’d add to the noise. Cuz that’s what teh interwebz is for.

Authors write books. Reviewers sometimes review those books. They are sorta like strangers who come together for a night of passion and now are unwed parents, sharing this one thing — the story — in common. Hopefully it’s a thing they both love, and they work together to introduce it to the world.** But sometimes the relationship isn’t so smooth. And then the best you can hope for is no unnecessary screaming.***

So in the interest of promoting less screaming, here are my thoughts:

1. You don’t have the right to be a dick. That’s true for authors and reviewers. Nobody can stop you from being a dick, of course, but it’s not a right. It’s wrong. How about just don’t be a dick?

I realize the problem here might be in the interpretation. One man’s dick is another man’s… Uh, well, that analogy is sort of falling apart, but you know what I mean. I have to think, though, most people can identify a dick when they see one (we’re romance readers after all) so just don’t be that guy.

2. Everybody DOES have the right to free speech. That is an actual inalienable right spelled out across the real world (not just teh interwebz) in various bills, constitutions, declarations, international covenants, etc. I get annoyed when some people say some other people have the right to speak freely and yet other people don’t. You can stand on either side of the author/reviewer equation and find a few saying the other side shouldn’t speak. Sorry, it’s my right, and yours too.

The corollary, of course, is that speech has consequences. Again, that’s true of both sides, authors and reviewers. A good rule to go with the right is “Think before you speak/send.” If you have the strength of your convictions and you’re willing to live with the consequences of your speech, then yay you.

3…. No, there is no number 3. Don’t be a dick. Speak freely. That’s it, I think.


* In case you missed it (which I’m slightly ashamed to admit I had) fabulous author Jess Haines has a convenient roundup of links along with her take on the kerfuffling.

** Some people object to anthropomorphizing stories as babies, but this is my analogy. Go get your own.

*** I’m sorry that in this analogy the reviewer is the dead-beat dad, but I think we all know that the burden usually falls on the mother, and of course the story is the primary responsibility of the author.


6 thoughts on “Authors & Reviewers: Twain or Taint?

  1. To clarify, I don’t *actually* think of reviewers as metaphorical dead-beat dads. Authors need reviewers, whether they love our stuff or not. It’s unfortunate that some reviewers are less than tactful, and even more unfortunate that some authors don’t have the sense God gave them to respond with nothing more than a “Thanks for your time,” if they must say anything at all.

    • I think the problem is writers — authors and reviewers both — are creative types, so we tend to be passionate, opinionated, and clever with our words. And also probably don’t have quite the filters or armor that normal people have 🙂


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