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Sunday, 19 October 2014

Why not post a review and spare an author from getting stuck in velvet? Plus, gratuitous llama...

Anyone who isn't a writer probably imagines an author's response to reviews to be something like those 'actors receiving the review of the critics' that you always get in a certain kind of film, usually from the 1950's.  You know, where everyone sits up all night and then sends out for the first editions of the newspapers.  They all sit there, smoking and drinking coffee and biting their nails until someone else bursts through the door waving The Times and shouting 'Darlings! They LOVED us! Well, except you, Daphne, but it wasn't your fault that the dog did that with your wig.'

I hate to break it to you, but, for writers, it isn't like that at all.  I mean, yes, we do the whole 'coffee and biting nails' thing, but that's just general and we don't do it waiting for reviews, it's just our default setting.  Also, dogs could do absolutely anything to our wigs and nobody would notice, it's one of the perks of working alone and only going out after dark. Plus, sending out for the newspapers would be a waste of time for most of us, who can only dream of being so much as name-dropped in The Western Daily Pan-Handler in the small ads. You know, underneath the 'hutch wanted for large rabbit' and 'sofa for sale, some stains, mostly explicable'.

No.  We authors sit at home and, if we read reviews of our books at all, we read them alone. Some of us may wear smoking-jackets and hold our cigarettes in ebony holders whilst we are doing it, but since I am usually wearing pyjamas and holding a chocolate HobNob firmly between my fists, I cannot vouch for this.
Like this. Allegedly.

And mostly reviews are completely fine.  I don't even mind the bad ones - as long as they justify why they utterly hated and despised the book, that that is perfectly okay, everyone is entitled to their opinion, after all.  There are always one or two odd reviews of any book, things like 'I didn't enjoy this at all, it was far too slippery and smelled of jam', but that is okay too because we generally assume that the reviewer just pressed the wrong button and was really intending to write a review of the cheese sandwich they had recently eaten.
'Disappointing. The hero and heroine were unbelievable and took too long to get together. One star.'
But generally, writers are pathetically grateful for any reviews.  They prove to us, you see, that people are reading our words.  Books sales don't mean much, I mean, someone could have bought forty thousand copies of our Great Work in order to build a wall to keep the llamas out of the onion shed and, whilst the money received from this venture would be sincerely gratefully banked and spent on food and heating and things, it's still nice to know that those lovingly hand-crafted words have been appreciated by someone who isn't a camelid and can hold a pen.
Cute, but inexplicably scathing about inconsistent character motivation
So, if you've read a book lately, why not pop by a review site and let the author know? He or she has probably been in the smoking jacket for weeks just waiting for feedback, and authors smell funny at the best of times, so, you know, do them a favour...

Just don't tell them it smelled of jam.  Even if it did.

10 comments:

Carol Hedges said...

Indeedy. Mind, I DO sit in my smoking jacket, a glass of fine port on the coffee table and await the verdict of the general public.
Well ...I will do when it comes back from the dry cleaners.

Jane Lovering said...

Why would you send your glass of port to the dry cleaners? It'll come back as a little pellet...

angela britnell said...

I should have guessed you'd fit the Choc Lit Llama in there somewhere!

Liz Harris said...

Loved the post, Jane!

Liz x

Sally Malcolm said...

LOL very funny post! I usually read reviews from behind the sofa, much like I watch Dr. Who...

Chris Stovell said...

Bravo! Let's hear it for more reviews... but preferably kind ones.

Clare Chase said...

Brilliant post! (Though laughing that much did make me slop my tea. Just saying.)

Flowerpot said...

Very good Jane - though of course good ones are the ones we all want!

Lesley Cookman said...

I like the llama.

Jane Lovering said...

Thank you everyone, I'm delighted you all agree. And that Lesley likes the llama, because that is also a most important thing - Llama love!