Friday, August 31, 2012

who exists in the shadow of flashy

It would seem that Emily Giffin, author of Something Borrowed, Something Blue and Heart of the Matter, has a posse, and some poor lady on the Internet found this out the hard way after giving one of Emily's books a not-positive review on Amazon. Here's the full account of what happened, and if nothing else it's a pretty damning account of an author who is a huge mark for herself and obviously never got any advice about responding to reviews that aren't drooling praise.

Here's my advice on the subject: don't. Just don't. You're not going to magically convince someone to like your work by slinging barbs at each other in a comments thread, and it makes you look like a college freshman who can't stop crying after his or her first real workshop. I mean, look what happened to Kevin Smith's creative output after he started obsessing over what the critics thought and inserting petty responses to them in his movies, or try reading Melville's Pierre or the Ambiguities, written after Moby Dick and barely readable due to Melville's poorly disguised bitterness about Moby's critical reception at the time.

Now, this doesn't mean you have to be endlessly chipper and stiff-upper-lipped about bad reviews; you can certainly complain to friends and colleagues about feeling misunderstood in your own time like every writer does at some point. And if someone says something extremely personally nasty or libelous about you in the context of reviewing your work, you're allowed to call them on it. But getting your spouse to patrol Amazon's user reviews and shout down anyone who doesn't like your book, which Emily did, is total horseshit. 

Frankly, begging your fans to get your book to #1 on the NYT bestseller list and then passive-aggressively complaining when it only reaches #2, which Emily also did, seems a bit classless. Luckily, I think anyone who would support my writing is also the kind of person who would tell me to go fuck myself if I ever tried something like that.

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