Archive for November, 2011

Hey, where have you been?

Oh, wait.  It was me that took a little hiatus.  Sorry about that.  It won’t happen again…until it happens again.

Anyway, I’m back and I’m a little irritated.  No.  Actually, I’m really irritated.

Like all good narcissistic authors, I check sites where my books are sold and I read the reviews people leave.  I’ve been fortunate that most are good.  Occasionally, I’ll run across one where the reader does not care for the book and while that admittedly stings a bit, I’ve always maintained that anyone who purchases a book has the right to dislike it.  I have pretty thick skin and it doesn’t bother me if someone doesn’t like something I’ve written.  Stings yes, but it doesn’t linger and I don’t harbor any ill will toward the reviewer.  In fact, I’ve engaged with folks who have written less than flattering reviews, essentially telling them I’m sorry they didn’t like the book, but I appreciate the fact that they gave it a shot.  That’s about all you can do.

But I read one last night that….really irritated me.  Because it really wasn’t about the book.

It was about me.

Over at BN.com, some person using the handle wem3124 wrote the following:

I read the book and thought it was pretty good story, in spite of one glaring grammatical error carried through the entire book that makes it difficult to read. One character speaks and the author includes a second character’s response in the same paragraph.Before submission of this review, there were four Customer Reviews and one Editorial Review. One of those Customer Reviews appears to be legitimate. The other four reviews, including the Editorial Review, all appear to be written by the same person. I invite others to read the reviews and compare them. In an interesting coincidence, the name used for one of the characters in this book is ‘Santangelo’. The same as the name of a main character in books by successful author Jackie Collins. Any other coincidences? I wonder.

Now, if wem3124 wasn’t a gigantic coward and hadn’t set their profile to private, I would’ve been happy to address this “review” directly with them.  But since wem3124 has chosen to take a shot at me without giving me the chance to respond personally, I thought I’d go ahead and respond publicly.  Let’s break this down, line by line:

“I read the book and thought it was pretty good story, in spite of one glaring grammatical error carried through the entire book that makes it difficult to read.”

Well, thanks wem3124.  I’m glad you thought it was a pretty good story.  That’s probably why you gave it three out of five stars, which I appreciate.  Grammatical error, you say?

“One character speaks and the author includes a second character’s response in the same paragraph.”

Actually, this isn’t a grammatical error.  This is most likely a typesetting and/or formatting error.  They occur often, especially when books are formatted for electronic reading.  I’m not sure how much you know about publishing – actually, I don’t think you know anything about it, given this “review” – but when an author submits their work, it’s vetted by a number of professionals:  editors, copy editors, typesetters, etc.  Numerous people work hard to make the book better and to get it as clean as possible.  Unfortunately, even with all of this attention, errors still sometimes occur.  Especially when the technology is new.  But regardless – I’m sorry this took away from your reading experience.

“Before submission of this review, there were four Customer Reviews and one Editorial Review.”

Whoa.  Your glaring lack of a coherent transition there made this somewhat difficult to read.  But go on…

“One of those Customer Reviews appears to be legitimate.”

Uh, okay.  Why wouldn’t it be?

“The other four reviews, including the Editorial Review, all appear to be written by the same person.” 

Well, now this is gonna get awkward because I’m starting to see what you’re getting at and I don’t like it very much.  I’m also starting to think you aren’t very smart.  You do see that the editorial review (you shouldn’t capitalize this – again, your glaring errors are making your observations hard to read) was written by Library Journal, right?  You understand what Library Journal is, right?  It’s an industry publication that reviews books prior to publication.  Right up there with Publisher’s Weekly.  It’s not some  fake periodical I made up.  Oh, and you should also know that they select books randomly.  Publishers submit their books for review, but there’s no guarantee.  They don’t accept bribes or first borns.  Despite your ignorant insinuation otherwise, it’s…legitimate.

I can’t speak to the other four reviews.  I don’t know who wrote them.  But let’s be very clear about this fact:  I did not.  And to hint that perhaps I did is idiocy on your part.

“I invite others to read the reviews and compare them.”

Big of you.  Did you send out an Evite??

“In an interesting coincidence, the name used for one of the characters in this book is ‘Santangelo’.  The same as the name of a main character in books by successful author Jackie Collins.

I had to look this up as I haven’t looked at a Jackie Collins book since I was a teenager and my mom had a few lying around the living room.  I was unaware that Ms. Collins had a heroine by the same name, but thank you for the comparison to an author who’s had an incredibly successful career.  I guess it’s interesting, though I’m not really sure why.  You’re insinuation seems to be that I stole the name.  Really?  Are names even stealable?  Have you heard of Harry Potter?  Do you want to know an interesting coincidence?  There is also a book called Harry The Dirty Dog!  I hope J.K. Rowling didn’t “steal” the name Harry from that book!  But to be clear:  I had no knowledge of the Collins character and did not intend in any way to capitalize on an already established fictional character.  I don’t think anyone was dumb enough to buy my book after reading Liz’s last name and think that I was Jackie Collins.  Except for maybe you.

“Any other coincidences? I wonder.”

Well, you tell us, Sherlock.  Were there any other coincidences?  I’m guessing no, otherwise you would’ve gladly attempted to point them out and continue to suggest that my work isn’t original.  I think that’s also what you implied in your clever little title of your review – Is This Author Blowing Smoke?  I see what you did there!  So cute!  So funny!  So utterly stupid.

I have no problem if you didn’t like the book, but the moment you decided to question my integrity, that was the moment I decided I’d hit you in the mouth if you were here with me right now.  Attack the book if you don’t like it.  Tell all your friends not to buy it.  I really don’t care.  But don’t attack my character when you don’t know me, don’t know anything about my books, don’t know anything about the work that went into them and then decide to hide behind the veil of an anonymous Internet moniker.

I seriously hope that this finds you, wem3124.  I’ll be happy to refund your money in full.

You just might want to duck when I hand it over.