Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘bad reviews’

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Brillo Books

“In The Universe of Click it’s more important to have someone saying ‘I loved it!’ than ‘The notion intrigued me, but I was unmoved by the pleonastic ramblings on page 94.’ A review is somehow less decisive than the perception that someone has liked something and passed it on to friends and acquaintances on Limped-In, Face-Schmuck, Mumbler, and Fritter…”


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Writer, Reject Thyself

Okay—so perhaps your take-home message from the recent Giraldi-Ohlin incident was “Oh my god, I hope that I never get a review like that.” Unfortunately, at some point, every writer usually gets some harsh feedback—in a workshop, in a review, or from a reader. (Discuss: which writer is most fortunate, and why?) Anyway, when you receive said harsh feedback, your options are: A) Lash out at reviewers (pretty much never a good plan) B) Curl up under chair with bottle of whiskey and/or teddy bear C) Develop thicker skin, keep head down, keep working on next project Should you choose […]


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Sticks and Stones: On Harsh Reviews

Does anyone actually believe that words can never hurt you? Come on, people—we’re writers. If there’s anything we believe in, it’s that words have power: to inspire, to move, and—yes, I’m afraid, to wound. “Mean” reviews (and their counterpart, “too nice” reviews) have been a topic of much discussion for the past few months, but things reached a frenzy this past week when the New York Times published a scathing double-review of Alix Ohlin’s new novel and collection, Inside and Signs and Wonders. Writers everywhere jumped up to defend Ohlin, defend Giraldi, and question whether harsh reviews have a place […]


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The Worst Book Ever (?)

Publishers Weekly’s blog has named the Worst Book Ever, and it’s pretty bad. But the Amazon reviews of Microwave for One are themselves delightful little vignettes of fiction: It used to be that I got home from work and the only thing I’d want to put in my mouth was the cold barrel of my grandfather’s shotgun. Then I discovered Sonia Allison’s Chicken Tetrazzini, and now there are two things. This book is all you need for all the cooking you will ever do. Yes, even when you’re cooking for more than one! Impossible you say? Well, I thought so […]


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The "Nice" Review

Are book reviews useful if they’re… well, nice? Two of the biggest names in reviewing, Janet Maslin and Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times, are known for delivering smarting critiques of the titles that cross their desks. Kakutani is so infamously harsh that an essay on The Millions came up with a term for her brand of criticism: the Kakutani two-step. But some book reviewers take a different tack. Author Ben Winters explained why he gives everything five stars on sites like Goodreads: The problem isn’t that “amateurs” are doing the reviewing: the opinions of regular old readers or […]


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When are you big enough to handle the bad review?

Last week, a personal book-review blog called BigAl’s Books and Pals posted a review of a self-published novel by Jacqueline Howett. Howett took exception to the review and posted a series of ranting comments, eventually deteriorating into obscenities—but not before the thread had gone viral, and not in a good way. Some insist that any publicity is good publicity, but the writing blogosphere unanimously agrees that Howett shot herself in the proverbial foot with her behavior. But for writers who don’t have public meltdowns over bad reviews, is any publicity good publicity? How do bad reviews affect book sales? David […]


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Embracing the bad reviews

You’ve got to hand it to novelist Brad Meltzer for bouncing back from brutal criticism of his novel Book of Lies with this hilarious YouTube video. His grandmother and members of the Little League team he coaches all take a turn quoting, rather gleefully, from published pillories, urging viewers to buy the book so they, too, can hate Brad. If you want to hate Brad Meltzer in paperback, please do so at your local indie bookseller. (Via Kathryn, via InkyGirl.)



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