Don’t be lame

I’m gonna go all Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul on your asses this morning, so bear with me.  I just dropped my son off at his Christian preschool, the Christian part being fine with me and not so much with his father who was subjected to several years of Catholic school.  Whatevs.  At preschool age they sing songs and make Jesus sock puppets and learn how to be nice.  They learn the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  My son is three and he gets it.  You know who isn’t getting it?  Writers who write mean-spirited, illogical reviews of others work.

I don’t like to write reviews and frankly, I’m not very good at it.  However, if I really like someone’s writing, especially an indie writer, I’ll do my best to say something and do the star rating thing.  I have never given anyone less than three stars and the three stars usually come from their work just not being my taste.  I rarely read anything that I would give less than three stars to and on the occasion I do, I don’t review it or rate it.  Why you ask?  Don’t you all deserve to know what I think is crap?  Well, for one thing my opinion isn’t anymore important than yours is.  Just because I’m a writer doesn’t mean I know better than someone who isn’t.  So, when I get spazzy and enthusiastic about books and stories that I really love, the ones that I don’t get so crazed over? They might be your spazzy about books.  For another thing, giving another writer a bad review-especially one that is poorly written and obviously vindictive-is bad for business.  Another platitude applies here: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.  You see, because when I read a mean-spirited review written by an author of another’s work, I don’t even consider their opinion and make a mental note to not read any of their work.  I wonder if they realize that this isn’t a case of all publicity is good publicity, but instead a big fat advertisement that they are a douchebag?

It annoys me that everyone can’t follow the Golden Rule and that some people go out of their way to tear down other writers, but the best revenge, I suppose, is to go on writing and improving while they waste their time showing everyone how lame they are.

5 thoughts

  1. Having been a non-writing reader, I think I can sort of understand low-rank reviews from readers. I think they take those scales (hated it, didn’t like it, liked it…) pretty literally. When they choose a star, for them it’s really more about their personal experience with the book than it is a conscious implication about the book’s objective worth (sometimes). And I think that a few non-writing readers/reviewers feel that how many stars they give a book says something about them and their tastes. As though they think of someone going over their collected rankings and getting an idea of what they like in terms of genre, commercial vs. literary, popular vs. unpopular or controversial. And sometimes, you know, the book just sucked and people feel it needs a warning label.

  2. I agree with you mostly. I don’t think no one should write reviews or give books they didn’t like low rankings, but I don’t think writers should use bad reviews against each other. How a reader ranks books definitely gives others an idea of what their tastes are. And if you have similar tastes, that can be helpful in making choices on what to read. I don’t agree with the sometimes a book sucks and needs a warning label part though. I don’t want to negatively influence anyone against another writers work, it’s something everyone should decide for themselves. I suppose my only exception to that would be stating that I won’t read a writer’s work who has slammed another writer. That’s as negative as I’m willing to get.

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