Thursday, January 3, 2013

Words, and rumors of words

To those of  you who may have seen a prior version of this post, my apologies.  I hit the "publish" button when I meant to hit "save."  So what you saw was an inadvertent but incomplete post.

Here goes the whole thing.

It has been brought to my attention that some people -- and they know who they are -- have taken exception to some of my comments, specifically my analyses of their writing and their comparison to other people's writings.  They don't like my opinion.  Well, they're allowed not to like it, but I'm still allowed to have it.

When you write and publish, people read and compare.  It's as simple as that.

Now I know perfectly well that this is not going to sink into the already-made-up minds of those people who know who they are.  Others reading this, however, might actually learn something.

I can understand that a writer would be upset that someone, whether that someone is a reviewer, a reader, a contest judge, another author, or whoever/whatever, doesn't think their writing is stellar.  I can understand it even though I think it's something all writers need to accept as a normal part of the writing life.  But what kind of jerk takes out their frustration, their anger, their spite, their hurt over a negative review on a totally innocent person, a third party who's not even involved?

For the record:  I don't know Courtney Milan.  I've exchanged a couple posts with her on her blog (months and months ago) and  a few on Dear Author and maybe a few other places.  I haven't read a whole bunch of her books.  I don't know her personally at all.   I've never met her in person, never talked to her on the phone, never exchanged an e-mail with her.  So if someone is pissed off at me for not liking their book, why take their rage out on Ms. Milan? 

Who would be so petty, so thin-skinned, so spiteful as to bad mouth Courtney Milan solely because I used one of her books for comparison? 

For the record, I don't think Courtney Milan is the greatest writer on the planet.  Nor, for that matter, do I think I am.  In fact, I don't think any writer is "the greatest."  Too many variables enter the picture to single out anyone.

Spite and juvenile retaliation have no place in the already cut-throat world of digital publishing.  And please note that I didn't qualify that as trad-pub or self-pub.  Readers don't always recognize the difference; all they want is good books to read.

And that's where the discussion should stay -- on the books.

I don't give a rat's behind who likes me and who doesn't.  If I did care, I'd be in a world of hurt, because there are a helluva lotta people who don't like me.  And mostly they don't like me because I'm opinionated, and I don't apologize for it, and I rarely back down.

But y'know what?  Most people have opinions.  I'm perfectly aware of that, and I'm perfectly aware that their opinions may be very different from mine.  I also accept that other people may be just as pig-headedly stubborn in sticking to their opinions in the face of countering evidence as I am.  That's life.

A writer who gets a negative review has a variety of ways to respond.  She can get all upset and angry and throw a tantrum.  She can totally ignore it.  Or she can use the comments in it -- even if she doesn't agree with them -- to write a better book, to prove the reviewer wrong, to sell a bazillion copies and gloat all the way to the bank.

Ultimately, the marketplace will be the decider.  If people like your book and buy it, regardless what the critics think, you have your victory over the naysayers.  If people don't buy your book. . . . . . . . .

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