A mixture of romance, work and life left to simmer on a weak flame.

"Love - a wildly misunderstood although highly desirable malfunction of the heart which weakens the brain, causes eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise and the lips to pucker."--Unknown.

"I learned long ago that being Lewis Carrol was infinitely more exciting than being Alice."--Joyce Carol Oates

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Smart Bitches Day...Writers beware!

Apparently I am out of the loop with message boards. As I hie myself off to several romance sites to start scouting out the threads, I wanted to add my SBD post, as if the one below didn’t hold enough bitchiness already.

Let’s just get one thing straight…
I would never and will never discuss my writing on this blog. I will never reveal whether I am a writer or not. That identity (if it exists) is a seperate entity from the Fiona you know. Now knowing what you don’t know, let me begin offending writers everywhere:

When you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, you not only put your very heart and soul into your craft, but you have officially opened yourself to an entire world of criticism. You have taken a step that many fear, to the point of never realizing their writing dreams. Many people dread the writing process because they are haltingly aware of the position of criticism that it puts said author into. And many, frankly, just don’t have the balls to take it.

And now, with the internet and blogosphere, criticism of writers is at its all-time highest. Everyone is a critic. Everyone is an expert. Everyone has an opinion and now the means, thanks to Blogger, to share those opinions with the public sector.

Suck it up.

That’s right. Suck it up. Some will love you, some will hate you, but when you took that all too small check (unless you are Viswanathan...hers was no small check!) that put your name on a spine and your cover on a shelf, you wrote a free ticket to ‘criticize me hell.’

I have heard time and time again that authors should not review books. Says who? So once you pick up a pencil you lose your right to an opinion on other works? I don’t think so! Authors have been reviewing and commenting on each others work for centuries. Why does the romance genre suddenly get a pass on this? Who better to tell me what is wrong with the craft than another in the same field? If I can trust an author enough to devote hours of my life to their words, I can trust them enough to give an honest review. And beyond that, I hold myself in enough regard to know if an author is blowing smoke up my ass or not.

Should authors have anonymous blogs? Yes. If you, as an author, want to discuss the genre, the works and the authors, but are afraid of the backlash or are a black and white, here’s the crux of it bitch…become anonymous. Create an alternate identity. You do it all the time in your books. We (bloggers) do it constantly also. There is no better way to free speech than anonymity. If you are holding back due to the fact that you are published, then create an alternate identity. Don’t punish us by withholding your thoughts and smart ass comments…we need them! They are like water to a dying man. And in response to Barbara of Dishing with the Divas questioning Mrs. Snark…I trust someone who doesn’t feel the need to wave their name around in the air much more than those who try to fit their name into every post, comment and sentence that they write.

Should authors differentiate between the author and the individual? Yes! Are you an author first and foremost, or are you an individual who writes? Many may have a hard time seeing a difference between the two, but I think it is rather simple:

Some people identify themselves as authors, “Hi, I’m Mary Sue, I wrote RomanticRendezvous. Perhaps you’ve heard of me…or it?”

Others see themselves as people who also write, “Hi, I’m Mary Sue."
In my opinion, I like to know that you are an author on one hand and a woman with a mind and an opinion on the other. I look for author information on the author’s website, but I look for the individual on their blog. I think Megan Frampton does this best.

Should authors respond to bad reviews? No! Authors should be the bigger person! You don’t like what people are saying about you? So what…suck it up and shut up...see Wendy’s post here. Don’t stoop to their level and respond! Especially if you have been grievously dissed. It is embarrassing for all involved when you start trying to defend yourself. You sound weak and pathetic no matter how strong and convincing your argument. And you are only fodder for the gossip mills. Lady Whistledown anyone? Yes, let’s not give her any more to report on, shall we?

All in all, if I hear one more author whining about how authors shouldn’t write reviews, I may spew vomit all over the blogosphere. As a published author, you hold a unique and precarious position in the reading community. You are looked up to. Your words have been validated with a cover and back blurb. Many of you are, well, revered. I know it is muddy waters that you have been forced to traverse, but there you have it.

…Fiona…

9 touched me

Blogger Avid Reader pondered...

All in all, if I hear one more author whining about how authors shouldn’t write reviews, I may spew vomit all over the blogosphere

Please don't! :-)

I agree, I don't walk around telling everybody what I do for a living and so why can't authors take off their author hat and be a reader? Especially if they want to join in discussions with other readers. What is so hard about that? Also, many online use pen names anyway, I wouldn't ever feel comfortable spelling out my whole name on the internet.

Just my 0.2 cents, rock on!

Keishon

5/01/2006 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger Emily Ryan-Davis pondered...

Hi Fiona! I found your blog through http://sum-of-me.blogspot.com and I wanted to briefly thank you for such an insightful stance on this topic!

5/01/2006 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Fickle Fiona pondered...

Keishon,

"why can't authors take off their author hat and be a reader?"

Hear, hear! I have asked myself that same question time and again.

Emily,

Welcome to the hodgepodge!

...Fi

5/01/2006 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger Megan Frampton pondered...

Hey, Fiona, thanks for the props!

And I agree with you TOTALLY, even though I am too conflict-averse to continue reviewing. But if someone dislikes my writing? So what? I'm not crazy about it all the time, either.

5/01/2006 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger Tara Marie pondered...

***standing and applauding***

"Suck it up" it one of my favorite expressions.

I HATE the "if you don't have anything nice..." logic too. If a book sucks, tell me it sucks, you can do it nicely or you can be snarky, just be honest!!

Megan is the best.

I also love Paperback Reader, their reviews are great and can slam a book in the nicest most polite, unoffensive way, not by pointing out why it sucked, but by pointing out flaws int the writers craft. I wonder if that offends writers more??

5/02/2006 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger Fickle Fiona pondered...

You are very welcome Megan! ;-)

Tara,

Thanks and personally, I rather like it when reviewers don't have anything nice to say. I've said this before and perhaps it is just my masochistic personality, but a really good ass-ripping review will get me to read a book faster than a fangirl gusher any day.

Off to visit Paperback Reader...

...Fi

5/02/2006 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger Tara Marie pondered...

...but a really good ass-ripping review will get me to read a book faster than a fangirl gusher any day.

OMG, me too--LOL. I can't tell you how many lousy books I've read simply because a really snarky reviews are too funny. Don't you think "How bad can it really be??"

5/02/2006 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger Bev (BB) pondered...

When I first got online and found various romance forums and lists, which was about 12 years ago now, I guess, I admit, I was slightly awed by meeting authors "face-to-face" as it were.

That lasted about a month, half a year tops. After that wore off, I started treating them all as just readers unless I know we're discussing one of their books. The only time that's really difficult is when they won't let people forget their standing, like Fiona is describing. What they don't understand, though, is contrary soul that I am, it doesn't give their words more weight with me but less.

Then again, maybe that's a more normal reaction than I think it is. Personally, my wish would be that if authors truly want readers to treat them as just another reader then they should act like one . . . unless the individual situation is such that they simply can't. And even then, bowing out of the discussion is still an option that some don't seem to easily see.

5/03/2006 07:26:00 AM  
Blogger Fickle Fiona pondered...

Tara-I defintitely do!

Beverly-Very good points.

It's not that I don't like authors, if anything it is the complete opposite, but it is amazing how a select few can put such a a bad taste in my mouth.

...Fi

5/06/2006 03:48:00 PM  

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