JRAllison's picture
JRAllison November 29, 2011 - 4:29pm

When a debut author who self-published gets more than one review that say the book is "a similar style" to another author's, and even worse, point-blank accused of "copying" some other authors, what should be done? Is it worse to say something on Twitter, Amazon, and the wall of facebook?

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig November 29, 2011 - 4:56pm

Do you mean is it worse for the author to say something in those outlets or the people reviewing? I'm pretty confused.

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin November 29, 2011 - 5:04pm

Well, the first thing you have to ask yourself is it true?

And find that out for yourself, posting all over trying to drown things out with "I DID NOT STEAL THE ENDING FROM FIGHT CLUB!" is probably just going to get people suspecting that you stole the ending from fight club.

Find the most original elements of your book and start pushing them. Rethink your marketing strategy.

It's hard to say with this little information though.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. November 29, 2011 - 5:09pm

It might be better not to respond. Brandon mentioned that one lady in his article and I looked her up and she ended up cussing out this guy who criticized her book and made herself look really bad. You don't want to come off as this prissy asshole who can't take criticism.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig November 29, 2011 - 5:25pm

Ha, I remember that, it blew up on the web, and she was nucking futs. I mean, it is something to consider. If you can't do it objectively, leaving your emotions out of it, you might be the next example writers use to make fun of people who can't take bad reviews.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. November 29, 2011 - 5:56pm

Sometimes I think writers can communicate too much with fans like Anne Rice, she gets into big religious discussions with her readers. I think authors should hold a certain air of mystery.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig November 29, 2011 - 8:21pm

Alien--I agree. I don't want to know EVERYTHING about why/how you wrote a story or exactly what you meant by what. I want to experience it for myself. If I want it all laid out, I'll watch a sitcom.

Anyway, I am of the opinion that arguing against a bad review makes you lose credibility, not the reviewer.

wickedvoodoo's picture
wickedvoodoo from Mansfield, England is reading stuff. November 30, 2011 - 5:18am

Yeah - an arguement will do anything but change their mind. If they're giving you a bad review and it seems like their honest opinion - then you have to just suck it up and accept it. Can't win them all. If they are nasty about it and are pointlessly malicious then you have to hope that their credibility as a reviewer precedes them (such as that Suglia chap that bashes all the Palahniuk books) and that nobody will take them seriously anyway.

Either way - an arguement is just going to piss people off.

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter November 30, 2011 - 10:28am

I'd leave it, but if the accusations get really overbearing (as in, a LOT of people are reading the novel and saying the same thing about copying) then it might be time to address it through a carefully worded blog post, Facebook update, whathaveyou.  That said, you've got to be really careful about what you say.  Be tactful.

Chester Pane's picture
Chester Pane from Portland, Oregon is reading The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz November 30, 2011 - 10:25pm

Um, I have to disagree with that keeping distance comment. Fuck that. Open the lines of communication. It is only writing. People write, but they are still just people. The writers who realize this don't come off as complete asses. Talk about the work. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

That's my opinion. Get in the fuckin' trenches instead of being on hoity-toity superiority trips. There are plenty of well-known writers who discuss their work openly. It is just writing.

Now as for being a writer and gettin' all teary-eyed because you don't like what someone said, well then maybe you shouldn't be putting your work out there. Either that or grow some mettle and realize that every single writer on the planet gets criticized by someone.

Charles's picture
Charles from Portland is reading Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones November 30, 2011 - 8:40pm

i dont know if you can say authorial debut and self-publication in the same sentence and get any respect anyway. i say leave it be.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. November 30, 2011 - 9:31pm

@Chester, I agree with you to an extent.  I think writers should have an open dialogue with readers in a public forum like I used to love going to the UCLA Festival of books because authors would have panels and discuss their works and audience members could ask questions.  I guess what I am opposed to is the Facebook/twitter type of writer who has to be in constant communication with fans.  I don't want to know that my author's favorite cereal is Lucky Charms or that they just had the loveliest lunch at such and such cafe.  Writers shouldn't be turned into 'celebrities', otherwise Stephen King becomes as meaningful as that worthless fuckwad Ashton Kutcher.  I think smart writers know when to maintain privacy and not lay their entire life out for people.

Chester Pane's picture
Chester Pane from Portland, Oregon is reading The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz November 30, 2011 - 10:23pm

@Danny, I see what you are saying now. I didn't realize you were talking about that kind of interaction. And I suppose it depends on the degree and content. I agree that the micro-updates border on ridiculous, but then again I don't really pay attention to them.

I think we are all going to see a lot more of that sort of thing though as technology advances, like it or not. Especially from the younger generation of writers who have been raised with said technology.

I bet Stephen King would be doing it if he was younger. He has a highly addictive personality.

Now you'll have to excuse me, I have some status updates and tweets to attend to.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig December 1, 2011 - 7:47pm

I think it can work either way. Gaiman maintains an active twitter and a tumblr account. I don't think it takes anything away from him, but he's selective about what he puts out there. He's still "mysterious", because telling me the goings on of your his book tour, or making jokes about the apocolypse doesn't open his brain up and demystify the words he puts on the page.

On the flip side, King, another of my favorites, keeps pretty mum outside of very structured events. That's okay, too. It works for him.

I don't think there is a rule that works for everyone. If your writing is truly good, people are going to wonder how you came up with it--and there's the mystery. But battling poor reviews via FB, Twitter, etc...just seems like a terrible idea.

JRAllison's picture
JRAllison December 1, 2011 - 11:09pm

In my case, I do not have to ask myself if I've copied anything. I've never even heard of the authors concerned. I wrote from a vacuum. Yes, that makes me an ignoramous in that genre, lol, but I don't care about that. I've added that it in my bio, I love roiling things up. Thing is, those reviews are not all bad. I think some of them actually mean well, saying that I'm similar to a good author. What do you make of that?

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs December 2, 2011 - 3:43am

I'm seeing the "similar style" thing in one of the reviews of your book, which isn't a problem at all and there's no need whatsoever to respond to it on various websites. I'm not seeing an accusation of copying another author. If that was done in private rather than in public, there's no need to make your response public. If you feel the need to defend yourself in private, go right ahead. But I think writers should be careful about what the say in public on the internet.

I lot of people have been comparing my writing lately to Richard Brautigan, which I think is really great. He's one of my favorite writers, although I would not consider him an influence of mine.

Jay.SJ's picture
Jay.SJ from London is reading Warmed and Bound December 2, 2011 - 4:18am

There are authors who defend and argue their books on goodreads and it just gets you negative attention.

JRAllison's picture
JRAllison December 2, 2011 - 4:56am

Thank you for your comment, Bradley! There was this guy who posted EIGHT consecutive tweets SCREAMING at me. They were things like "Bukowski's thighbone turned in his grave but it has more impact than his writing", and "you'll never write properly so STOP". I don't remember exactly. I thought it was so funny I retweeted them all. Maybe I was too naughty? LOL LOL. BTW, I just bought your book and just about to read it!

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs December 2, 2011 - 4:58am
Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break December 2, 2011 - 8:14am

As Jay said, nothing good ever came out of repsonding to reviews.

Does the opinion of this person (who you've never met nor will you ever meet) really matter to you that much?  Are they from Kirkus or Publisher's Weekly?

Keep moving, dude. If you get caught up in every little bad thing someone says about you then good luck finishing another book.

 

 

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig December 2, 2011 - 2:01pm

Bradley, I cannot thank you enough for posting that link. I kept forgetting where that exchange took place, and it is just...gold. The best unintentional hilarity on the web in a long time.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig December 2, 2011 - 2:04pm

It appears she has deleted all of her comments...

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters December 2, 2011 - 2:05pm

I'm wildly disappointed she deleted the majority of her posts. 

I'm also having a great time rewriting that coffee sentence.

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break December 2, 2011 - 2:12pm

Oh man, you guys should've seen it back when it first was happening.  Her first three posts were to five-star reviews, y'know, to counter the review that had just been given.  And then when people started to get on her about being hyperdefensive, she started dropping F-bombs left and right.  It was a total trainwreck.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig December 2, 2011 - 2:25pm

Yeah, I saw it unfold live, as well, it was pure insanity. Every comment she made seemed impossible to top, and then she did! "FUCK OFF!" <---my go to response to critcism, every time. 

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs December 2, 2011 - 5:27pm

Retweeting negative comments about your book if they're funny is ok. Defending your book on twitter probably isn't. And it's not like eight consecutive negative tweets matters in the least (unless the person has tons of followers, in which case it matters a little more, but barely considering his/her followers probably wouldn't have heard of and bought your book in the first place--actually, it would probably be better if they had a lot of followers, in which case a lot of people would find out about your book who were not previously aware of its existence). A negative Amazon review would be of more significance than a series of negative tweets.

Also, have you really not read Bukowski? You should.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. December 2, 2011 - 5:45pm

That's it Bradley, I'm going to twitter obliterate you. You are going to be so twoted?

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs December 2, 2011 - 6:07pm

I do not know how to respond to that question.

JRAllison's picture
JRAllison December 3, 2011 - 4:36am

Haha, those comments are great! I saved the link! 

Bradley, I would like to thank you for responding to me all the time. It's very nice of you! No, that guy didn't say I copied Bukowski, he just said Bukowski's turning in his grave has more impact than me ( perplexing comment ). We had Bukowski in school ( so I'm not particularly erudite ). I don't think we have to take this kind of thing seriously at all ( my guy even said he did NOT read the book "?!!?" ), there's no need to defend ourselves against insanity. I was only wondering if we should be doing any clowning at all in public. I don't know if people get insulted if we fool around. I notice everyone seems to be very serious.

 

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated December 5, 2011 - 7:44am

I feel so cynical saying this, but how/did her sales change after that disaster? I'd rather be the jerk author who replies then the guy who writes low selling books on the side.