So I'm hesitant to post this because I really don't want to seem like I'm whining (because I'm not a whiner), but it's been on my mind lately, so what the hell.
Part of being an author is getting reviewed. We know that. Sometimes, we might not like it, but we know it all the same. In fact, as the years have gone on, I've more or less numbed myself to reviews (after the first initial weeks of a book's release when you really don't know what the reaction will be). I mean, some people are going to like it, and some people aren't, and that's life. Really.
But I've made it a point, on Goodreads, for example, to only highlight books that I've enjoyed. Why? Because I know that authors are out there reading their reviews! And I'm always sort of surprised that some people can say such terrible things so publicly about an author or his/her works. I KNOW this sounds weird. I know it! I know that negative reviews serve a purpose to steer other people away from wasting their time reading said book. But still! I still find it negative reviews to be shocking, I don't know why.
Maybe it's because, as an author, I truly believe that it's an accomplishment to write a book, much less get it published, and so I'm not going to disparage what anyone else does. Could that be it? Yeah, maybe. Or maybe it's just that I don't like tearing someone down when I know the hard work that goes into it, and I also understand that, as noted before, if something isn't my cup of tea, that doesn't mean AT ALL that it won't be anyone else's. Maybe it's because, unlike a TV show or a movie, which are collaborative efforts and have a lot of cooks in their kitchens, a book is really the work of ONE person, and I think it's gutsy for that ONE person to put him/herself out there in such a vulnerable way. But regardless of my reasons (and obviously, I'm still mulling them over), I simply will not critique another author in public. It is my golden rule. I don't see the service of it to anyone. (Again, yes, steer someone clear of it, I get that, but isn't it also just as productive to instead point them toward something you like?)
I don't know. I don't know what my real point is here. Ha! I just read a review (not of my work, I'll note) that I thought was fairly rude and disparaging, and I thought, "I'll bet dollars to donuts that the author sees this," and had a momentary pang for her. I think part of the problem is the anonymity of the web: people write terrible things - not just about books, of course, but about celebrities, in blog comments, all over the place - that they're not accountable for. And I'm not talking about middling or lukewarm reviews. I'm talking about the really eviscerating ones that sort of raise your eyebrows and think, "WOW!"
Anyway, I really don't want to come off as sounding lame/whiny/ungrateful for this job that yes, exposes me to criticism, but offers some wonderful other benefits. It's just sort of me talking about this out loud and wondering if people realize that authors really do see your blog reviews/Amazon reviews/etc. I'm not suggesting that anyone alter their review to spare the author's feelings...really. That's part of this biz. But...I dunno. Am I making sense to anyone????