Entitled People. They’re amusing. One anonymous individual, who lacked the courage to post publicly on the subject, decided it was a good idea to come onto the blog to air out their dirty laundry regarding reviews. The original discussion, about author morality, racism, and regionalisms, can be found here.
But I’ve included a screenshot for your amusement. Because yeah. I am going to have some fun with this.
I’ll begin with the first question. Were they polite?
The review in question was on Amazon, and authors are never supposed to respond to reviews on Amazon. As such, literally all of this ‘charming’ person’s points are invalid.
I like to call this the ‘entitled person syndrome.’ They paid money for a book, so they feel they should get to do whatever they want with said book, include influence the author (aka me) on how they write future books.
Truth be told, I find this ridiculous, and I laugh whenever readers start up on this.
That’s not how this works.
If you don’t like how I write books, the only correct response is to go find an author who writes book you like. That’s the name of this game. That’s literally how this game is played. I write books I hope people will enjoy. Some will enjoy it. Others will not.
They may or may not leave reviews. More often than not, the people unhappy with a book are more likely to review the book. This is common human behavior. They’re unhappy, so they want people to know it. They’re unhappy, so they want others to be unhappy, too.
The second question, simply, is a sterling example of the entitlement readers sometime display regarding books and the authors who write them.
You’re not reading the book to give ‘valuable input’ to the author. You’re reading the book to enjoy the book. If you don’t like the book, move on. Reviews are not a place to ‘teach authors’ or ‘give them valuable input.’ It’s where you tell other readers about why you think they should or should not read the book.
There is a job where readers give ‘valuable input’ to the author. That job is the author’s editor. Unless you’re my editor or critique partner, you’re not giving me valuable input.
You’re waving your banner high and displaying your entitled reader syndrome for the world to see.
Reader, if you think you’re great at writing books, go write your own books. Seriously. If you think you’re great at editing books, ‘reviewing’ authors is not how you land a job as an editor. Actually, it’s a very good way of making certain the authors go out of their way to avoid you and your ‘reviews.’
There is this gentleman who constantly leaves unhappy reviews and does just this. I haven’t read his reviews since… probably Cheetahs Never Win? He tends to leave 1-2* reviews because I didn’t write the book he wanted to read, and he enjoys trying to tell me how to edit the book to make him happy.
For all I know, it’s probably the same dude who left the comment on the blog. Because that would be very much his mode of operation.
This, honestly, makes me laugh.
A: I avoid any and all of his commentary because he doesn’t enjoy my books, and he is not my audience. He just… I actually have no idea why he wastes his money on my books. Like, seriously. If you go two, three, or four times not liking a book by an author, stop buying books by that author. All you’re doing is wasting your money.
No author has 100% of an audience. There are people who hate Harry Potter because the writing is immature, they think the plot is stupid, or they hate wizards. (Do NOT turn this into a discussion of the author. I will delete all comments about Rowling as a person. This is STRICTLY about the books, NOT about the person who wrote the books.)
B: I never consider any ‘advice’ from an unknown reader on a commercial site. They have zero qualifications for being an editor. They’re some random Joe on a book purchasing site.
Literally, only an idiot would take writing or creative advice from some random Joe on a commercial site who is leaving a negative review because they are unhappy with the book. Like, there is stupid, and then there is randomly adjusting your writing to match the whims of an unhappy reader on Amazon.
Pitchforks are over there, you can form your mob in the corridor, but please be aware that you’re not going to be making any forward progress on this one.
I never consider reviews as a viable source for novel editing feedback.
Like, no. That’s not how leaving reviews works.
Reviews are meant to inform other readers about why or why not the reviewer liked the book.
That’s it, that’s all.
You can post whatever you want, but the reality of it is, you can bitch, whine, and moan all you want in a review hoping the author will cater to your needs because you spent a few bucks on a book.
In reality, you’re being an entitled so-and-so when you do that.
You’re supposed to be reading books because you enjoy reading.
If you want to be an editor, being one of those reviews on Amazon is not how you go about doing it. (And like the one reviewer I utterly ignore and don’t even look at ANY of my reviews intentionally anymore because of, if he were to email me today begging to edit my books for free, I would laugh, delete his email, blacklist him, and if he had social media profiles I could block, I would do so without hesitation.
Nobody needs an entitled editor who wants a book written to be perfect for them rather than a refined version of what the author intended to write.
When you ‘critique’ a book because ‘it isn’t the book you wanted to read’ that’s entirely on you.
Authors do the best they can, and it is impossible to write a book everyone will like.
I used to sometimes peek at the 5* reviews because they can be nice… but that, too, is going the way of the dodo.
The reviews aren’t for authors, and they never were… and I wish readers remembered that. Reviews are for readers, by readers.
That’s it, that’s all.
So no, Mr., Mrs., or Mx. Entitled,
I will not edit my books to your standards because you took the time to ‘leave a review with invaluable information for the author.’
That’s not the purpose of the review, and you’re not a member of my editorial staff. And I promise you, this behavior will not get you invited to become a member of my editorial staff.
I hire people who actually like my books and want them to be better.
The editorial relationship is one of trust, and the type of person who leaves such ‘invaluable’ insights to authors on consumer sites, where authors aren’t supposed to interact with the reviewers in the first place, is not a good sign on the trust front.
Food for thought for today.
Reviews are appreciated because they help other readers decide if they want to give my books a try.
They are not for me.
They never were.