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March 28th, 2007

12:40 PM

Time out



I've decided to lock up the comments function of the previous three blog entries for now because I think we need a time out as the discussion is turning into an argument about topics that are straying very far from the original subject.

To recap:

The issue here is not about authors complaining about me. They can complain all they want for all I care. My personal belief is simple: I dish, they can dish back, and we can all have one big party and everyone is invited. The issue I raised about in the beginning is about authors who send me books and then pretend in public that they don't. Or authors who request reviews from me and then act as if they have no idea how I get my hands on their books. In short, authors who want me to "publicize" their books on my website and then act otherwise in public. It's the hypocrisy that puzzles me. Why ask me to review their books when they fear that their peers will reject them or something when they get a good review from me? Or, when I pan their books, why pretend to have no idea how I got hold of their books and then play up the "victim of Mrs Giggles" angle to gain sympathy and attention?

Now, if I buy those books myself and these authors then complain and call me names in their blog, that's fine. I have no problems with such behavior. I hope that makes it clear. I'm not going to hold grudges just because someone disagrees with me or doesn't like my review. The issue is never about me being infallible or being above criticism. It's when authors do one thing and then pretend otherwise that is the issue here.

The issue is not about Romance Divas. Some Divas overreacted when I said that I don't go there anymore after one visit. It's my fault, that one - the other part of my post wasn't exactly sunshine and roses so that part of my post about the Divas is understandably assumed to be more negative than it actually was. I did post an explanation as to what I really meant about the Divas but nobody seems to be listening.

Things are snowballing out of hand and people are beginning to assume that I'm issuing a fatwa on authors who dare to  complain about me or I'm waging war on the Romance Divas. I am not!

15 comment(s).

Posted by Alessia Brio:

Y'know, to a sex writer, snowballing has an entirely different meaning. ;)

Y'all made the blog hum for a few days, though. That was entertaining.
March 28th, 2007 @ 7:05 PM

Posted by Barbara B.:

You can't make that kind of comment without an explanation, Alessia. What the heck is a snowball in sex writer parlance?:):)
March 28th, 2007 @ 7:46 PM

Posted by Robin:

The issue I raised about in the beginning is about authors who send me books and then pretend in public that they don't. Or authors who request reviews from me and then act as if they have no idea how I get my hands on their books. In short, authors who want me to "publicize" their books on my website and then act otherwise in public.

I think what happens is that when an author writes a book, her critique group tells her how great it is, her editor tells her how great it is, her family and friends tell her how great it is, and her fan base tells her how great it is. So she sends it to you, certain that you're going to love it -- because the only feedback she's gotten suggests that it's an objectively great book -- and when you don't love it as much as everyone else, the author feels humiliated or embarrassed or something else, and they just can't bring themselves to admit they actually sent the book to you expecting in their heart of hearts to get a stellar review (whatever they think that is). And for a bunch of reasons, the Romance publishing/writing culture just doesn't seem to do a good job of making its authors understand that there's a whole world of difference between the work and the person writing it. So the author takes the review personally and ends up disowning the request, not even realizing the response is hypocritical because you're the tagged as the wrongdoer at that point (and how could you have any feelings at all since you trashed so and so's book?!), and the author is in what she perceives to be self-protection mode.
March 29th, 2007 @ 12:41 AM

Posted by bam:

off-topic and all that, but this is for Barbara B.

Snowballing: "Snowballing or semen swapping is a human sexual practice in which one person takes into their mouth the semen of another person, and then 'swaps' it back and forth with another person through kissing or spitting."
March 29th, 2007 @ 1:26 AM

Posted by Roslyn:

I dunno Robin, I'm sure you're right, but that just sounds crazy as hell to me. Even the most wonderful book in the world isn't to everyone's taste. These are individual book reviews and must be taken as such.

Frankly, I assume when I send my book to a reviewer that it will be panned. I dunno, I guess I'm a pessimist like that. But I certainly don't get pissed if they don't like it. I especially appreciate it if they give specifics about what they don't like. That's what I'm looking for. Specific imformation I can use to improve my next book.
March 29th, 2007 @ 2:31 AM

Posted by Jax:

Just for the record, there is no war raging between Romance Divas and Mrs. Giggles. IMO, this is about authors voicing their opinions and complaints based on her post. I don't want the whole situation to be misconstrued. There is no hard feelings (except with the individual authors maybe) and I hope that those who took the whole thing out of context will realize that things can easily be escalated on blogs. I can't control what my members say or do, and frankly, it's their own feelings they are voicing and not our writing community. We often write things we wished we had clarified or we would love to have erased, so I'm hoping we can all move on from this.
March 29th, 2007 @ 2:55 AM

Posted by Robin:

Even the most wonderful book in the world isn't to everyone's taste. These are individual book reviews and must be taken as such.

Oh, I so agree with you! But I have seen more than a few authors take a questioning comment, let alone a negative review, personally. One of the PBR gals indicated that they still get some nasty emails for delivering a less than stellar review. Then there are the fans who leap in to defend the author from a bad review, which can perhaps make an author feel justified. The only way I can understand it is to think of it as a reflection of the way Romance has traditionally been more fan oriented than reader oriented. Along with a healthy (unhealthy?) dose of "if you can't say anything nice . . ."

I'd personally think there's more pride to feel in saying that yes, you sent your book to Mrs. G and she hated it than disavowing any knowledge after sending it to her. But then I have no ambition to be a Romance author, so I can only speculate on those dynamics from my own POV.
March 29th, 2007 @ 3:25 AM

Posted by Jayelle Drewry:

Wow. I must have been in La La Land. Mrs. Giggles havin' a throw down? And I missed it. Damn. I sent my books to Mrs. Giggles fully expecting her to rip me a new one. When she did it made for an excellent discussion and I learned about the Gorean world.
March 29th, 2007 @ 4:48 AM

Posted by Sasha White:

I missed the bruhaha too!

But I will say, some of my books you've reviewed were sent by me, and others weren't. But it doesn't matter to me how you get them. If there are books or mine you don't have and want...let me know!! LOL (Uhmm. That offer's only for Mrs.G)

A review by you, good or bad, is still promotion . :)
March 29th, 2007 @ 7:19 AM

Posted by Anonymous:

Well, yes, and then there's the fact you WILL review those stories sent to you. We may laugh and play with the snarking that goes with it, but I know I for one am happy you are willing to take on newbies. Surviving without having a new one torn is sort of like a rite of passage--so to speak. :)
March 29th, 2007 @ 4:38 PM

Posted by Maria Duncan:

Snowballing: "Snowballing or semen swapping is a human sexual practice in which one person takes into their mouth the semen of another person, and then 'swaps' it back and forth with another person through kissing or spitting."

Dear God!
March 29th, 2007 @ 11:04 PM

Posted by Jackie:

"And for a bunch of reasons, the Romance publishing/writing culture just doesn't seem to do a good job of making its authors understand that there's a whole world of difference between the work and the person writing it."

I don't think this is limited to the genre. One of the hardest things an author has to do in this business is stop thinking of her work as her "baby" and recognize that once it's published, it's just another product to be sold -- no matter how emotionally invested we are in it.
March 29th, 2007 @ 11:11 PM

Posted by Nonny:

Robin said: "And for a bunch of reasons, the Romance publishing/writing culture just doesn't seem to do a good job of making its authors understand that there's a whole world of difference between the work and the person writing it."

Actually, that's a very good point. The first critique and writing groups I joined were science fiction/fantasy, and the attitude was radically different.

For example, on various romance fora around the 'net, I've seen writers repeatedly post upset about rejections and receive a lot of supportive response. A first rejection, an especially nasty rejection, something just plain *weird*... that's one thing. But there's been some people who post, it seems, at every single rejection, and they're coddled.

That would NOT have been tolerated at the SF/F groups I was in. After the first few posts, the writer would've been told to shut up and grow a pair, because a form rejection is the LEAST they have to look forward to in the future. If they can't handle that, then they're in the wrong business.

I'm not saying that either way is "right". I think both can be taken to a negative extreme; I've seen some people coddled when they should've been bitch-slapped, and I've seen people blasted and flame-broiled when they needed a shoulder to cry on.

I could be wrong, because I haven't been a member of *every* romance or SF/F forum / crit group out there, but it's the trend I've seen after lurking and posting on various writer's forums for over five years.

Food for thought. :)
March 30th, 2007 @ 1:58 AM

Posted by Xandra:

"And for a bunch of reasons, the Romance publishing/writing culture just doesn't seem to do a good job of making its authors understand that there's a whole world of difference between the work and the person writing it."

I would venture to disagree with this, at least as far as my experience goes. The RWA, at least, constantly gives out the encouragement in some form or another for authors to remember that their work is not their baby. Seems to me it's partly of a gender thing, and partly a size thing. Women tend to circle the wagons and provide sympathy over these little writing heartbreaks, the same way we would over other types of aches and pains (and bad reviews do hurt on an emotional level at least a little, whether or not you appreciate them for the concrit they can eventually be to you) in different areas of our lives.

Romance is also the largest genre, and there's more than one writer out there who's penning romances because they believe it's a way into publishing that will pave the road for them to start writing "real" fiction. When you have a statistically larger pool of writers than, say SF, you'll have a statistically larger pool of those who can't/won't learn to take the hits with the pats. But it's by no means unique to romance--it's just more obvious by the size of the market.
March 30th, 2007 @ 2:24 AM

Posted by Cass Curtis:

A few of my pals sent you their books, and one friend kind of dared me to send you mine. So I did. :) I had no real expectations, well except the slim hope my story might garner a "69" that being my favorite number. ;)

So I was thrilled to get my 83 from you.
Sure I giggled when I read the review. No other response seemed appropriate.

When I send my work to reviewers, I never expect them to give me a great review. I'm a newbie to fiction writing and romance in particular, so right now, I'm just looking for "good" or "Needs a little more cowbell." :)

Reviews are opinions. Everybody has one. Thanks for giving me yours.
March 30th, 2007 @ 6:46 AM