Mean Old Me

There’s a small amount of satisfaction to be gained when someone sends out a request for reviews of their book, and then gets thoroughly bent out of shape when a fairly quick perusal and critique aren’t what they hoped for. The response was pretty typical with all the usual “you don’t know what you’re talking about” variations. And then to find their blog, for which I had to correct the URL they’d posted on their profile, and discover this little gem: “The first book is up and its’ errors are gone…” Priceless.

By now, I should know better than to respond, even privately, as I did this time, to review requests. If someone wants to believe their book is a masterpiece, there’s no way you’re going to convince them that anything at all is wrong with it.

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13 thoughts on “Mean Old Me

  1. What? You didn’t get a ‘Thank You’ for all your efforts to help? And I guess that means that you can’t expect any help from them either. Are you sure that the writer was an adult? Seriously, people like that will only waste your time.

    Here’s a line I stole from an editor: Those who need the most help are the least gracious about accepting it. (Can’t remember the source.)

    1. Great line. It does seem to be generally true. And yes, the author is an adult. As for thanks, it was more like “You think you’re a better writer than anyone else.” It’s amazing how often that rebuttal comes up even when the subject is poor punctuation and wordiness. Not to mention the host of other problems that I didn’t even mention.

  2. I try hard not to find myself among the folks that think their crap is gold, but I feel like I understand them. They just don’t know. And if they knew they were being so rude, they would apologize…right?

    I like that line that emmarcum quoted.

    1. The same problem has been discussed in other contexts–people whose opinion of their own abilities and knowledge is too tied to their egoes for them to admit that there can be any legitimate criticism. That kind of writer becomes the author who tries to shout down reviewers. They’re the reason some authors don’t do book reviews at all–because a bad review can come back to hit them in the ass with a collective downrating of their own books. There’s been more than one very public dustup with authors making fools of themselves, trying to defend and justify terrible writing that had received negative reviews, even when the reviewer showed exactly what those faults were. You can’t force people to learn if they’re determined not to.

  3. It’s a waste of time doing reviews for other writers’ books. Most writers, at that fragile stage, are only looking for encouragement, so the faults you find won’t be appreciated. There’s a proper process for anyone serious about their work and that is: pay a reputable manuscript assessor.

    1. I have to admit I’ve never paid anyone for a critique. Even if I could afford it, I doubt that I’d do it. But I’ve had some of my work betaed, and much of it has been posted in order to gain feedback. Is that enough for everyone? No, of course not. New writers do need encouragement, but some of them (maybe many of them) are mature enough to understand that they’re in need of objective criticism, and are willing to learn from it. Besides, I’m the kind of person who’s always sticking their neck out. Sure, I’ve had my head bitten off a few times, but I think I’ve also helped a few times. Another thing about critiquing is that I learn from it, myself.

      By the way, I received a nice apology today, which i accepted. Sometimes, it happens. I’d rather be in a position where that person feels free to ask for help some time in the future when they’re more prepared to accept it. In the meantime, they (bad grammar, I know) prefer not to make any changes.

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