Thursday, December 17, 2009
Five ways not to respond...
…to rejection or reviewers.
1. Suggest that the reviewer kill himself.
In a one-sentence mention of a story by Kevin W. Reardon, an editor said that the story’s weak beginning didn’t work for him.
On his personal LiveJournal account, the editor had divulged that he was feeling depressed. Someone calling himself Cole replied,
You mentioned, in one of your posts, that you live in an apartment with windows. Is it a high floor? If it is, you should go now to the window …take your cat in your arms and jump… You can make this sense of emptiness end. The pain can be over.
Three guesses as to who Cole is?
Apparently “Cole” moved on to making death threats, but poetic justice soon commenced. If you Google the writer’s name, webpages about this debacle take up most of the first page of results. The review did nothing to his career, but his own response (and the subsequent reaction) torpedoed it. As one blogger put it, “This is the only writing you'll ever be remembered for.”
2. Brag about how many publishers want the book.
Not only is this tacky, but a lack of knowledge of the industry can make this technique backfire. Lynn Price at Behler Publications rejected a submission, so the writer replied to let her know how many publishers wanted the manuscript.
Wanted it badly.
So badly that 17 publishers responded in three days. And four of those publishers, despite having received only queries from an unpublished writer, asked that writer not to contact anyone else. Not going to happen, on either count.
The writer ends with a suggestion that the book might go to auction ("Opening bid is PublishAmerica, with $1" -- Marian), plus a dire warning to Lynn.
3. Write a long denunciation on Amazon.
Anne Rice reacted to fans’ dissatisfaction on Amazon with a response that was as succinct as it was modest. And it’s probably not a good idea to say proudly that you now have the “status” of being unedited, but follow it up with the comment,
But I leave it to readers to discover how this complex and intricate novel establishes itself within a unique, if not unrivalled series of book.
4. Tweet the reviewer’s contact information.
Alice Hoffman reacted to a negative review with 27 tweets that referred to the reviewer as an “idiot” and a “moron”, trashed the newspaper that printed the review and even insulted the city in which the newspaper is distributed. I was waiting for the circle to expand even further – the country in which the reviewer holds citizenship, the species to which the reviewer belongs, etc.
That would have been bad enough, but she then posted the reviewer’s phone number and encouraged fans to harass the reviewer.
I didn’t know who Alice Hoffman was before Twittergate. Nearly six months after it, I don’t remember the titles of any of her books… but I recall what she did on Twitter. There is such a thing as bad publicity.
5. Threaten them with witchcraft.
Slander can cause a major lawsuit from the author and the publisher mentioned, because I will make sure they know about this and dear Jane will have nightmares in 10 fold. Yes, I'm Wicca.
At least, I think that’s a warning that the Dark Arts will soon be used in vengeance. It’s difficult to tell with writing of that, er, standard.
The Jane of the quote owns the Dear Author website, which exposed Lanaia Lee’s plagiarism of a book by David Gemmell. Lee’s agent (and I use the term loosely) then posted in defense of her client, and managed to make things even worse with her barely-coherent hints of retribution.
I haven't made an offical threat yet, just words for now.
No doubt she’ll cast a Crucio or two when she finds her wand.