...Things I Have A Problem With:
Writing is book is no easy task. Sure you may have the plot figured all out, know every single minuscule details of your characters life in your head - how they look, talk, live, die, etc.- know what arc to give them to bring their story to life on the page, how to hook your reader with exactly what they expect or don't expect. None of this matters if you can't put these things onto paper (virtual or real) and create a story. A voice compelling enough for a person to pick up a book and read it. Then comes the task of finishing a draft. Polishing it until your wrists are complaining of falling off and you're at risk for carpal tunnel. Then comes more intense revisions. Then comes the process of finding the courage to find someone who will love your baby as much as you do: understand it, love it, and do their best to do right by you and your story. That's not a easy task. Rejections are hard to stomach for anyone. The best of people sometimes don't do well and take it as a personal failure and give up however most are resilient as they bounce back and work their asses off to fix it even more and try once again to find someone else. Then when they DO find that right person, you have to find a whole another group of people (publisher/publishing company/house) that agrees with you both and is as excited to bring your baby to the general populous known as the world. Not such an easy task after all. Working through more hoops after finalizing that process (a long one at that- generally known to last anywhere between 14 to 24 months) and anxiously waiting for the rest of the world to read your work and then judge it. Critique it. Comment on it. *gulp* SO. Not. An. Easy. Task. (Think about that research paper draft that came back marked in red all over).
So, when you read someone's book and decide to review it, please keep these things in your mind. From one reader to another, this is what I believe is key in not just your professional opinion but as a person as well.
BE CONSIDERATE. Please.
If you don't like the book, okay, no harm done. Why bash it? Learn to look at the good things and the bad ones. If there aren't any good things, just say that and shut up. Is it always necessary to itemize the bad things and write paragraphs upon paragraphs about them? Isn't that a tad bit juvenile? Thought we left that side of ourselves back in middle school. Sure you have devoted two, or three or maybe even 5 hours to the task but I'm sure you took away SOMETHING from it. Perhaps that that kind of book is NOT YOUR CUP OF TEA. It didn't sit well with you, doesn't mean it won't with others. This bothers me most when something bad you say about a book turns other people off from even picking it up. Comments like, "You didn't like this? Oh, that means I won't either', 'Not going to bother reading this then', 'Thanks for saving me my time'. You know what all of those sound like to me? Just sad pathetic excuses and cop-outs. This enrages me SO SO SO MUCH that I want to bang my head against the wall until there is nothing left of it. Your words have the power to take away someone's choice of reading that book and judging it FOR THEMSELVES. It could be something that's totally up their alley but nope, you've just saved them 5 hours on something they could have enjoyed or maybe even loved. A leisurely read that could have taken their minds off everything else and just transported them to another reality. Or an epic read that could have just for a few hours taken them away from all of their real life issues.
Pinch yourself. Yeah, you felt that? You're human. Think about the author. When they pinch themselves, they feel what you felt too when you pinched yourself. I'm sure they feel the same emotions that you do. The author is a human being as well. Something to consider.
So, next time you use your words to describe what you thought of another's words, think about the effect YOUR words will have. Think before you discards someone's words as paltry and not worth someone's time. Think twice before you put someone off of a book they could want on their shelf. Think about the fact that you're taking that choice away from them and what would you do if someone took that choice away from you. Just think.
Until next time,