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Countering the Critics: Decrying the Criticism

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I seem to be under the impression that writers who view my posts think that I am doing them a disfavor by creating a negative review. Even with the disfavored opinions, I frequently get an array of different viewers who think I should go in depth with the remainder of the book. The question I return to them is why? 

Most reviews I give are not based on an entire book. If you are going to grab my interest, you must force me to go beyond those pages with a story that is worth reading. That is where the differences lie when praising and scoffing off at a book. I am not going to waste my time reading an entire book that is poorly written or stylistically entertaining (see Way #2). The reason some of these reviews have a short note attached to them is because I did not bother to go beyond the first chapters of the entire book.

With all that there is to the book itself, perhaps I could be misjudging a book (something which I am entirely open to discussing). That is something which happens every time a person has a stack of books to go through to review. However, with all that the book has to say about itself, the author ought to make the book more attractive within the first few pages (by my definition, prologue and first chapter). 

If I find the book to have a few stylistic mistakes within the first chapter or prologue (e.g. too many pauses, diction, and poor analogies), I am less inclined to read the book. What on earth gives me the right to say that? 

For starters, I’m a reader. 

 I have right to put down books at any time, for any reason. If you cannot pull my interest within 2,000 words or less, then you fail to grab my interest. Sometimes I am told by these same authors that I’m only expressing an opinion. But I’ll tell you what; if you give your book to at least 10 different strangers (who are not your friends) and ask them for an opinion, I’m willing to bet that any of those people would probably agree with me 100%.

Why? Because these readers do not know you. At most, these readers have very little or almost no time to invest with a book that does not pique their interests within the cover, synopsis, or the story itself. These are the ones that really matter; it’s all about the reader. Normally, I would love to have a friend or so that has actually taken the time to read my book, but that makes my book less credible, especially when the book needs to grab the attention of the general public. 

If you are going to want honest opinions, send it to people who do not know you, who could care less about you and what you do as an author. 

That’s where book bloggers come in.

Parker

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3 Comments

  1. Jay Di Meo says:

    THis is a great post. I agree with you 100%. Having friends read your book and total stranger are two completely different things. And I also agree that the first 2000 words will grab or lose a reader. Recently I changed the opening of my novel, because a reviewer said the first chapter didn’t grab her. That’s the feedback an author needs.

    • haparker321 says:

      Like I said in the post, there are those who will agree with me and then there are those who won’t because I have not given them an extra 2000 more words to make their book onto the ‘will be read list.’ Although I have gone through almost 20 different books, oftentimes I find that the ones that I do read need to still tweak their books a bit. I am not saying that this is not true of what I write, but it’s something to consider.

      Parker

  2. Fred says:

    Such good advise from an Interview with Truman Copote:

    Interviewer: Do you think criticism helps any?

    Truman Capote: Before publication, and if provided by persons whose judgment you trust, yes, of course criticism helps. But after something is published, all I want to read or hear is praise. Anything less is a bore, and I’ll give you fifty dollars if you produced a writer who can honestly say he was ever helped by the prissy carpings and condescensions of reviewers. I don’t mean to say that none of the professional critics are worth paying attention — but few of the good ones review on a regular basis. Most of all, I believe in hardening yourself against opinion. I’ve had, and continue to receive, my full share of abuse, some of it extremely personal, but it doesn’t faze me any more. I can read the most outrageous libel about myself and never skip a pulse-beat. And in this connection there is one piece of advice I strongly urge: Never demean yourself by talking back to a critic, never. Write those letters to the editor in your head, but don’t put them on paper.

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