Monday, July 10, 2006

On the subject of reviews.

My first ever post was a response to a hideous review of Trading Tatiana.

It all came back to me today when reading this post on Murderati. It seems I'm not alone in finding negative reviews devastating. (Though the one I referred to is Queen Negative of Negativia where being positive - or just a bit nice - is a criminal offence.)

Fortunately, there are some wonderful reviewers out there (here) who take their responsibilities seriously, do proper research before drawing conclusions and don't use the review as a vehicle to show how clever they are - by definition SO much cleverer than the author of the book they've just slated ...

Crimeficreader, Maxine et al are two examples ... And I'm not just saying that cos they like my writing!

11 comments:

Minx said...

And this Elena I'vegotastupidsurname has written what exactly??
They are paid to hate everything, no spite, no dosh.
I would imagine that it is very painful though Debi, negativity is very destructive when taken into the heart and how can you not ewhen someone is attacking your offspring.

All together now...
BOLLOCKS!!

Kath T said...

After reading a few reviews in the papers regarding books, I often wonder if I've read the same book. Have wondered if their noses are a bit to close to the Tipex thinner as they write!

Don't think ther reviewers are being clever - just have a bad case of verbal diarrhoea.

Crimeficreader is a fantastic his clear reviews. Also Amazon is always worth a read as people who have read the books leave a good selection of comments and reviews.

Maxine said...

Actually I've been having a bit of a ding dong with Sara Gran (Dope, Come Closer) on her blog about this but taking the other side! I don't know why I did, it was a bit of an impulse becuase all the other comments were saying "how mean" etc, and I dunno, it just came out! I'll see if I can find the link if you are interested:

Sara Gran asks for advice on a bad review

crimeficreader said...

Dearest Debi,
I was about half way through an engaging little piece about Trading Tatiana, but I shall now have to put it on hold, lest it be said that there is some form of mutual back scratching going on here.
I am fond of free books, NZ Sauvignon Blanc, champagne (Louis Roederer brut preferred), vouchers for free passage at WeightWatchers, back copies of various crime newsletters, and of course, hard cash (which would no doubt wend its way into my "Peugeot Lemon Friday Afternoon Car Trust Fund").
But seriously, thanks for your comments Debi and thanks to Kath T for yours also. It's nice to be appreciated.

Debi said...

Thanks, guys. It was painful in the extreme at the time and I keep thinking it's over now, I've dealt with it and I can move on. Then I go and post this and it all comes back!

Thanks, Kath. I felt safe letting you see the review cos I know you've already read TT and enjoyed it. It's scarey letting other people see it though ... might it prejudice people in advance?

Maxine - great link. Thanks. I've posted a comment.

Oh Cfr - I see what you mean! But how sad that we can't say what we think and give credit where its due without being suspected of cynical manipulation!

DAVID THAYER said...

Hi Debi, I haven't had the pleasure of reading Trading Tatiana, but I've been on the other side of reviewing. There was a discussion sometime back about trying to match books with bloggers, but US publishers either send their entire list or nothing at all. I find myself swamped with books but not much I want to review.

Kath T said...

Yes, I think an 'iffy' review can put you off reading/buying a book. But after reading Murderati's review I genuinely believe that a lot of book reviewers aren't genuine book lovers or readers. The plots in the books are there to take you away on a flight of fantasy, not to pick holes in.

This has reinforced my theory not to read reviews, just read the book. Am just going to check out Crimeficreaders lovely clear reviews, who is someone who obviously reads and knows what he's on about.

Debi said...

Hi, David, and welcome.

And thanks too for assuming it would be a pleasure to read Trading Tatiana!

I checked your blog but could only find 2 posts - both over a year old. Is that right? Or am I missing something ?

Kath - I've said it before and make no apology for saying it again - thank goodness for people like you!

crimeficreader said...

Debi,
Could it be that David Thayer is now at Wordpress?
http://davidthayer.booksquare.com/
(Oh, I do love to Google...I could Google all night long...)

Kath, thanks again for your positive comments. Just point of note - I am female. This is important as I'll be reading Simon Kernick's Relentless at some point in the near future. One media reviewer took him to task for having something footie related in the novel, that simply isn't possible, apparently. Well, I doubt that non-football loving girlies would notice that one. So it won't tarnish the novel for me!

As an aside, I posted recently about the absolute mass of crime and thriller fiction reviews that was in The Sunday Times last weekend. Two particular comments by John Dugdale caught my eye. He thought that Robert Wilson's lastest in the Falcon series ventured too much into soapland and that Sophie Hannah's wonderful debut into crime fiction ventured forth with an ending that brought authorial fair play into question (his only criticism of the book). Wilson's latest is a "must read" for me anyway, but I now want to see if I agree with Dugdale's thoughts. Hannah's book is now on my "to buy" list as a result of his last comment, because I'm curious. Many thought that Lehane's Shutter Island was superb. But by the time I finished it, I thought he cheated the reader. Well, I felt cheated anyway. I say all this as I think it's possible that sometimes a negative word or two in a review has the opposite effect. But a wholesome slamming/slagging off of a book is likely to be its death knell and those who are tempted to do that should remember that some might like the book, even if they don't. Thus I think it's also good to give an idea of what the book is about, then readers can make up their own minds.

Not only do readers have different tastes, they also have different tolerance levels across a whole range of issues...

Sorry to go on, again. I hope my comments are useful and add to the other considerations already expressed.

Kath T said...

Very, very sorry for the gender change Crimeficreader - will give my wrists a slap. Should have thought it out before I wrote.

Debi said...

Don't any of you ever apologise for 'going on'. All input is welcome and 'useful'.
Thanks!