Over at my day job, I wrote a piece about Anne Rice and others signing a petition urging Amazon to stop allowing anonymous reviews. The issue isn’t negative reviews, it’s trolls using the anonymity to personally attack writers.
I’m not the type to worry about bad reviews — in fact, I think the idea of reviews at all for fiction is sort of pointless in our modern age of book previews. I suppose nonfiction is a different story, but that’s a different post.
Attacks on writers — or other readers or reviewers, for that matter — is a real problem, as the article points out. There’s a little too much nastiness on Amazon and Goodreads, and it gets in the way of meaningful commentary/discourse/discussion, as when Rice was attacked in a writing advice forum.
As with anything else online, there are multiple sides to the story, and probably multiple sites telling each side of the story, but the article will give you a general idea of the battle lines. It would be nice if someone called a truce.
I tend to stay out of the tradpub vs. indiepub wars. Each model has its pros and cons for individual writers, so I’m of the mind to suggest you do what works for you. That may even change on a book by book model. I’ll just point out the article I wrote about B.C. poet Shane Koyczan’s Kickstarter for his new poetry collection, which earned him just over $91,000 — when he only asked for $15,000. (Note the article says $82,000, but the Kickstarter went on for a day after the article’s publication.)
I didn’t have time to work on my fiction today, but I did manage to write an article about a writer attacking JK Rowling, then getting mobbed by the Internet. The whole thing makes me sad in a few different ways. I haven’t read either author, so I can’t really comment about their writing. I’m not the type to criticize other authors, as Shepherd does here, but I also don’t agree with the torches-and-pitchforks response to the column either. It seems to me there are better targets for outrage in the news right now.
The Internet has erupted in outrage after mystery writer Lynn Shepherd attacked J.K. Rowling in a Huffington Post column titled “If J.K. Rowling cares about writing, she should stop doing it.” You could sense this one wasn’t going to end well just from the headline.
Shepherd wasn’t attacking the Harry Potter books, which have made Rowling a household name and literary deity. In fact, Shepherd admits she hasn’t even read a word of the Potterverse, adding she thinks it a shame that adults read the popular YA books.
In which I talk to some other writers about strange encounters with readers. Here’s a bit from Michelle Berry:
One night I was reading at the reference library in Toronto and, not really thinking, picked a passage about the embalming. As I was merrily reading along I glanced out into the audience and there, directly in front of me, were two middle-aged women huddled close together. They were both crying. The rest of the audience were laughing. But these women were crying.
I was reading about liver cancer and about a mortician using eye caps, and brushing makeup on the dead woman’s neck and whistling a merry tune, and it was a scene that was touching but also a bit odd and confusing — because it was also kind of funny. I faltered, of course, and my tone suddenly suggested that I didn’t really think what I was reading was humourous, so the rest of the audience kind of went blank.