I just got finished reading a post over at Chuck Wendig’s TERRIBLE MINDS blog – (and if you aren’t following Chuck’s blog you are REALLY missing out on a giggle-fest and a lot of writerly wisdom – so long as you don’t mind the occasional every-line-or-two dose of potty-mouth that Chuck continually indulges in) – that was answering the question “Why I Don’t Like To Negatively Review Other Author’s Books”.
So I got to thinking on that and I posted a comment over at Chuck’s blog and now I’m going to re-post it for my readers.
I was a paid reviewer for about two years or so – back when magazines actually PAID you to write a review.
It was a REALLY cool gig. I got paid ten to twenty dollars for waxing loquaciously for about two or three paragraphs on a book that I hadn’t actually had to pay for. I don’t know how much per word that boiled down to – but it was still a REALLY cool gig.
But then I came to a book that I couldn’t find much nice to say about.
“This person paid for advertising,” the publisher told me. “Can’t you find ANYTHING nice to say about it?”
“Well,” I said. “I like that it had two covers – front and back – with pages in between – although it could have done with a few less of those pages – like all of them.”
Well that flew about as far as a solid concrete fart.
Another time I kicked a book hard in a review and three months heard back from an editor of an anthology that I had submitted a story too – and he wanted to know just why the hell I had gone and kicked his book so hard in print for?
Was he being unprofessional? Hell – I don’t know. I was just the guy who had kicked his book.
So if I’m reading a book and I don’t like it I just throw it in the corner and let the cat pee on it for awhile. I figure that’s criticism enough for my needs.
I still write the occasional Goodreads and Amazon review and the like – stuff that I don’t get paid for. And I’ve given up on EVER writing reviews on books that just plain toilet-bowl sucked.
The fact is we writers read DIFFERENTLY then honest-to-dewey-decimal-system readers.
A reader looks at a book it’s all about – well, I liked that.
Or – well, that book sucked worse than a toilet bowl clogged in the heart of a Texas black hole.
A writer looks at a book – well he’s looking at how it’s put together.
It’s like talking to a cabinet maker. He sees a table and he’s looking at the joints and the choices of wood and how much goat was thrown into that cabriole – while somebody else is just thinking “Gee, my beer sits really nicely on that table. It doesn’t even spill.”
Besides – my momma told me a LONG time ago that a fellow ought not to say ANYTHING if he can’t think of anything nice to say.
That’s my two bits.
Anyone doesn’t like it can get that quarter changed with the bartender.
But don’t forget to tip.
Yours in storytelling,