Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Few Brief, Honest Words About Reviews and Reviewers


Every writer I know says that there's no such thing as bad publicity, so that they therefore never get upset by bad reviews.  I appear to be the only one who actively dislikes getting one.

Okay, I'm going to be honest here.  I think that my distinguished colleagues are all lying through their teeth.  I'll bet that even [insert name of your favorite living writer here] gets moody and snarls at the dog on getting a bug-crusher of a review.

This observation was occasioned by the fact that over at Best SF,  my story, "Passage of Earth," was given a quite positive review by Mark Watson.  This perked up an otherwise cold and wet April morning for me.  I know it's only words.  But then, words are my all, my raison d'etre.

And what is the proper form for thanking a reviewer for a good review?  You don't.  The review was written for readers, not writers.  To thank reviewers would be to imply that the opinion of the author was a factor in their reviews.  Which would be an insult.

Still being honest, I'll admit that, yes, reviewers are human and so they'd probably enjoy the thanks.  But it would still be an insult.  And even if they didn't take it that way, it wouldn't be good for them.  So I shall continue to respond to positive reviews (with the exception of this one; but then, I'm not really talking about the review but about the phenomenon of being reviewed) with silence.

That's the plain and simple truth, in my humble opinion.  Yours may differ, and if it does, feel free to write a fan letter to your favorite reviewer expressing your thanks for his or her body of work.

Only, please.  Not to one who's panned my work.

If you're curious, you can read the review here.  But really, so long as I'm being honest, I'd much rather you read the story itself.  It was published on Clarkesworld and you can find it here.

Above:  A cold and rainy morning in Philadelphia.


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