Fun and Games: What Authors Really Mean When We Say…

obscene.gestureLet's sit down and have a talk about reviews. As most of you know, I'm an author. I write fantasy. Later this year, I will be delving into science fiction.

Reviews are a daily part of life. It's part of the territory. People read my books. When people feel strongly enough about the title, they leave their thoughts, which come in form of a review.

Reviews are a blessing and a curse. They help other readers decide if they want to read a title. They, sometimes, inform the author what they're doing right or wrong. I love a good, solid critical review–the type where the reader took the time to say what actually bothered them, with specifics. Those are useful. They hurt, but when I say thank you, I mean it.

Mean-spirited, negative reviews are the ones this post refers to. But, author meltdowns have happened on any form of critical review. For your entertainment, I have located a few, like this one (archived implosion here) and this one and this one and this one and I think you've gotten the point. There are so many meltdowns on the internet of epic level that it's impossible to list them all.

There are times when I've gotten a review where I've simply gone, “What the actual fuck?” Except… that's not what I'll say in public. Sometimes I'll sigh in public over a specific comment, but that's where it ends–a sigh. Why?

It's not worth it. It's just not. I may get depressed or unhappy about a review, but that's not the reviewer's problem. It's mine. However, there is a bit of a language some authors (like me) have developed when dealing with reviews.

None of these reviews are real, nor are these responses I would actually say to a customer. But sometimes, just sometimes, I get a review with this sort of stuff in them, and sure enough…

The Review: This book sucks! Go die in a fire, it never should have been written!

The Response: Thank you for your thoughts. Alternatively, no response is made at all.

What the author might be thinking: Go die in a fire? Is that the best you can do, you yellow-livered ass wipe? Defenestration, baby. While lit on fire. Then go get run over by a bus. I can't forget the bus. I want to defenestrate you after lighting you on fire so you can be run over by a bus. I hope a velociraptor eats your internal organs while you're still alive.

Followed by: Please kill me, I want to die. I am a waste of air.

The Review: These characters are flatter than cardboard.

The Response: Thank you for your thoughts. Alternatively, no response is made at all.

What the author might be thinking: Wanna know what is flatter than a piece of cardboard? You, after I go on a joy ride with a steamroller.

Followed by: Please kill me, I want to die. I am a waste of air.

The Review: A Five Year Old could have written this.

The Response: Thank you for your thoughts. Alternatively, no response is made at all.

What the author might be thinking: If you have managed to get a five year old to focus on anything longer than a few minutes, you need to be donated to science in order to identify what planet you actually originated from. I should study you… or expose you to real five year olds, since you seem confused on the true nature of reality.

Followed by: Please kill me, I want to die. I am a waste of air.

The Review: I didn't understand anything that happened in this book.

The Response: Thank you for your thoughts. Alternatively, no response is made at all.

What the author might be thinking: Did you actually read the book or were you skimming trying to get to the ‘best parts?'

Followed by: Please kill me, I want to die. I am a waste of air.

The Review: This book sucks.

The Response: Thank you for your thoughts. Alternatively, no response is made at all.

What the author might be thinking: … fuck you.

Followed by: Please kill me, I want to die. I am a waste of air.

The Review: All other negative reviews with no critical value.

The Response: Thank you for your thoughts. Alternatively, no response is made at all.

What the author might be thinking: Please kill me, I want to die now. I'm a waste of air and should no longer pollute this world with my existence. I will eat this ice cream now. :cries over a gallon tub of chocolate mint ice cream:

I will leave you with this lovely picture of a velociraptor. velociraptor-info-graphic

It is a lovely picture of a velociraptor. Okay, Utah Raptor, but you know? Technicality. It has teeth and is bigger than you.

It wins.

Every time.

This post has been brought to you by allergy medication and excessively warm and humid weather conditions.

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1 comment
T.F. Pruden says November 30, 2015

Hi R.J.;

Damn you’re insightful! Have you been reading my mail?

I’d like you to review my first novel ‘A Dog and His Boy’. Though I’m not sure I won’t end up in a bleeding mess on my office floor once you’ve finished with it.

Have a great day and thanks again.

TFP

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