Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Another Author's "Big Mistake"

Last week in a post about self-doubt, I mentioned The Author's Big Mistake. In case you missed it, The Author's Big Mistake is basically responding to a review. In a situation where an author shows up at a review blog to defend him/herself or the book, the readers never, ever walk away with a good impression of the author. Authors never sound like fully rational human being when they discuss their own work, because...well, they're not fully rational human beings. It's especially difficult to remember that reviewers can only review the book they read, not the book you wrote.

Another incident of an Author Behaving Badly was brought to my attention today. Books and Pals reviewed Jacqueline Hewett's The Greek Seaman, and gave it a mostly positive review. The first comment on the thread is from her, and it's rather aggressive, accusing the reviewer of not having the cleaned up, formatted version. What? I'm going to quote her comment, and then provide a more proper response.

You obviously didn't read the second clean copy I requested you download that was also reformatted, so this is a very unfair review. My Amazon readers/reviewers give it 5 stars and 4 stars and they say they really enjoyed The Greek Seaman and thought it was well written. Maybe its just my style and being English is what you don't get. Sorry it wasn't your cup of tea, but I think I will stick to my five star and four star reviews thanks.
Let's try this instead.
I'm sorry, it appears you read an early version of the book. It's been proofread and reformatted since that edition was released, and I apologize for not sending that version on to you. Thank you for taking the time to review. Have a good week.
Or alternately, she could have said nothing at all.

Also, if Maybe it's just my style and being English is what you don't get is indicative of her regular style, I can't say that the reviewer was far off with his comments. Anyway, that's the only the first comment of many and they're all gold.

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