Re: Re: Handling negative reviews

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Ann Emmert Abbott

I have been persuaded to read a few books by bad reviews. I think the exception, at least for me, is that if I read that an author is accused of plagiarism BEFORE I’ve read the book, I probably won’t read it. I know I would be thinking, “Now, is this part original? Did this come from [other book]. Maybe I should read [other book] at the same time to compare … ” Screw that!

Scribner is once again inundating me with books to review. I can scarcely keep up with the ones I’ve agreed to read (having recently been attacked by a spate of ethical vampires and zombie chickens). And these people know all they will probably get from me is a mention in my blog!

Where was I? Oh, yes, bad reviews. Here it is: if I read a book that is real good, I say so. This seldom happens. If I read a so-so book that has flaws, I point them out. This is known as a “bad review”. If a book is terrible, I just don’t review it, and usually I let the author/PR flack/publisher know, if it’s one I asked for. I’ve been thanked for this practice. More than once, because so many awful books are coming down the pike, thanks to low-cost subsidy publishing.

That isn’t to say that traditional publishers don’t produce crap, too. Often it amazes me. What WERE they thinking, I wonder aloud.

You are all involved with your own book. I see a ton of books, and I’m always comparing them, so don’t take the bad review so personally. It isn’t about you anyway, it’s about books and reading.

(For inquiring minds: the previous part of this post was set in 12 pt. Georgia)