A few of us were joking on Twitter that we should start an Authors Behaving Badly blog or tumblr, featuring nothing but screencaps of rants about how reviewers are (fill in the blank with your favorite) stupid, ugly, mean, uninformed, amateur, etc. etc. etc. At first I thought that there was no way that we could even get a post a week, but with Goodreads, Amazon, and individual blogs providing the raw material, I’m rethinking my original position.
The main reason not to do this, of course, is that the vast majority of authors are wonderful, warm, sensible people who do not deserve to be lumped in with the Drama Llamas. On the other hand, the DLs deserve to be called out. What to do, what to do.
What these DLs do not seem to understand is that the worst thing that can happen to them is … crickets. Radio silence. The ebook falls in the forest and no one is there. I could go on bludgeoning you with metaphors, but you get the idea.
Sure, bad reviews hurt. As a reviewer and blogger, I can tell you that bad reviews of reviews and blog posts hurt too, and mine take much less time, effort, and investment. But a bad review means that someone went to the trouble to write down and post what they thought of your book. Go over to the Absolute Write boards some time and look at the authors who are hoping for someone, anyone, to notice their work.
I was at RT for half a day this past weekend and I ran into an author who had received a harsh review at DA. She was extremely witty and gracious in her response, and at the time I thought that the way she handled the situation probably sold some books. And in talking to her about it, I discovered I was not wrong.
I had the opportunity to speak with a number of authors, sometimes briefly, sometimes at length. I haven’t read books by all of them, let alone given all of them sparkling reviews, but they were welcoming and friendly to me. We don’t all have to like each other (or each other’s work), but jeez, is it that hard to pretend?
The one thing authors who get bent out of shape about brief, biting, snarky, or angry reviews forget: the alternative is not necessarily a good review, but no review. There are thousands of books out there, waiting to be read. Time is scarce, books are not. If reviewers think that they’re going to get hammered for saying what they think, they’ll just refrain from posting anything. And that’s if they pick up the book and read it in the first place. If an author is widely known to be a DL, readers will stay away unless they really really want to read that particular book.
It’s not boycotting, it’s not payback. It’s playing the odds. Why read a book that might lead to a confrontation when you want to discuss it, especially since there are plenty of books by authors who don’t behave like that?
Not only did I get a reminder last week that authors are fun, enjoyable, and lovely people, but I’ve been on a great run of luck in my reading. I’ve posted some reviews of books I loved over at DA in the past couple of weeks, and I have at least a few more in the hopper.
That said, a tumblr called Drama Llama is looking awfully tempting.