Why would you want to make an author cry? by Jeff Strand

Frequent visitor – hell, he has his own archive section! – Jeff Strand is back. This time he wants to talk a little about his new novella, Faint of Heart, which I’ll be reviewing tomorrow, as well as share his thoughts on the different types of reviews authors get. Please, don’t make him cry.

Jeff StrandThe digital edition of my new novella, Faint of Heart, is now available. Some early readers, including Ms. Elizabeth A. White, think it’s one of my best books. I’m hoping the rest of the world will like it, too, but whenever you publish a book, some people are going to think it suuuuuucks!

I’m okay with bad reviews. I mean, I feel kinda sick to my stomach when I read them, but it’s part of the business. A book that gets nothing but glowing reviews is a book that has only found a very small audience. If you check Rotten Tomatoes, some people didn’t even like The Muppets. How can anybody be so dead inside that they didn’t like The Muppets?

As a rule, one of the dumbest things you can do as an author is respond defensively to negative reviews. You look like a whiny jerk. Especially the “Let’s see YOU write a book!” response. You don’t need to be a published novelist to have an informed opinion about books any more than I need to know how to properly slaughter a cow to say that the beef shish kabobs I had this weekend were total garbage.

That said, here are some reviews that annoy me…

1. Incorrectly Complaining About The Length. My collaborative book Draculas is a full-length, 80,000-word novel. It also contains a ridiculous amount of bonus content: another 80,000 words’ worth. Seeing reviews that warn people that it’s only half a book because it ends at the 50% mark on the Kindle is cause for much growling and teeth-gnashing. It’s twice a novel, dammit!

2. Suggesting That People Who Say They Liked The Book Are Dirty Liars. My novel Pressure got lots and lots of great reviews. One guy hated it, which is fine, except for his statement that none of the other reviewers could have actually liked it, either. If you want to say that people who liked Pressure are mentally ill, okay, I can get behind that, but to say that they’re all sparing my delicate feelings? Bite me, sir.

3. Bad Reviews About The Condition Of The Product. I’m sorry that the book arrived in battered condition with a piece of gum stuck between the pages. But unless you have reason to believe that other copies of the book have been kicked around or gum-violated, the one-star review really isn’t appropriate. (This is purely hypothetical. To the best of my knowledge, none of my books have arrived with gum between the pages.)

Faint of Heart by Jeff Strand4. That Crap Where A Bunch Of People Decide That They’re Going To All Give One-Star Reviews To A Book Because The Kindle Price Is Too High, Or Because There’s No Kindle Edition, Or Something Like That.

5. Reviews With Factual Errors…don’t actually bother me, because I get good reviews with factual errors all the time, and I totally give them a pass since, after all, we’re only human. I’ve even received rave reviews that get the title completely wrong. These reviewers still have exquisite taste.

6. Saying That There’s Something Wrong With Me As A Person…also doesn’t bother me. “Author is clearly a bitter person with no talent” sold a lot of copies of Out of Whack.

7. Articulate, well-reasoned, completely fair negative reviews that make me feel as if I’ve scammed the book buying public all this time and now the jig is up. Because they make me cry. Why would you want to make an author cry? We’re very nice people.

Anyway, in summary, Faint of Heart is now available in an extremely inexpensive (maybe even free, depending on when you’re reading this!) digital edition from Amazon, and will be available in paperback very soon from Gallows Press. I’ll give you a great big hug if you review it.

Jeff Strand is the author of over a dozen books, including Pressure and Gleefully Macabre Tales, both of which were nominated for the Bram Stoker award, Dweller, Benjamin’s Parasite, and the Andrew Mayhem series. Jeff also recently co-authored the e-book Draculas with F. Paul Wilson, Jack Kilborn (aka J.A. Knorath), and Blake Crouch. To learn more about Jeff Strand, visit his website.
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  • Malina

    January 30, 2012 - 5:44 pm

    I LOVED Pressure. One of your best works yet. The guy who hated it was clearly wrong, and I bet he was the one that did not like the Muppets either.

  • Sara J. Henry

    January 30, 2012 - 11:50 am

    Amazon, at least, will remove reviews in categories #3 and #4 above, and in theory, in a few other categories (profanity, spitefulness – although that one would be difficult to nail down, since an enormous number of consumer reviews seem tinged with spite).

  • Sabrina Ogden

    January 30, 2012 - 10:21 am

    Great post, Jeff. And I just purchased Faint of Heart! Looking forward to reading it.

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