A certain very successful author, a big shot in Christian publishing and sort of a mover in Hollywood, is rather peeved with me for saying his supposedly Bible-based novels are full of anachronisms, inelegant language, stupid dialogue, and so on. Well, I kinda thought he might be.
How did he find out? Oh, I told him. Because I so long admired and enjoyed his non-fiction writing, I felt I owed it to him, before I wrote a review, to ask for an explanation of why he wrote those books the way he did.
I shoulda just kept my trap shut.
No, the big cheese was not happy that some microbe like me should be less than impressed by his fiction writing. His reply included the argument that his books must be masterpieces because they’ve sold lots and lots of copies. Too bad he didn’t write 50 Shades of Grey. He would’ve sold even more copies.
Well, if serves me right for trying to extend to him a courtesy that I don’t normally extend to the writer, when I review his book. It can get in the way of writing an honest review.
Oh, well, why should he care what I say? He sells lots and lots of copies.
20 comments on “I Stand Rebuked”
The fly swatter image is a nice touch. : ) Seriously though, the question begs to be asked, if “Abner” is so sure of his work; he has so many sales, so many fans, and plenty of other people singing his praises already, why did he want/need your review in the first place?
Some writers don’t want honesty, they just want an ego boost, and if they don’t get it, well there must be something wrong with the reviewer. And yes, I say this knowing that my time is coming. I have two reviews in the works for my new book from tough, but honest reviewers, you being one of them.
I’ll admit, I’m nervous as all heck, because I don’t have a huge pile of sales and fans waiting to console me if they aren’t good. So far I have some modest ebook sales, a very nice review on Amazon from someone I don’t know, and my own belief (possibly misguided) that what I’ve written is worth reading. A seriously bad review would be pretty devastating this early on, but as I’m preparing to start book three, I would rather know than not know.
I find it reassuring that you didn’t give Abner a free pass just because of who he is, or because you were paid for the review. It speaks to your integrity as a reviewer. So no matter how mine comes out, I’ll at least know it is real, and that’s what I want/need from a review.
Abner is complaining now because the truth stung him. But maybe by not keeping your mouth shut you’ve given him something to think about for future books. No doubt your words will still be echoing around in there, nagging at him when he picks up his pen again, and in the end he’ll be a better writer for it. It just may take some time. But even if he never cares, or changes, you’ve held onto your principles and that’s worth a lot.
“Abner” never asked for my review. I discovered his novels on amazon and all of us at Chalcedon expected them to be really good. The appendices, which I read first, are fascinating. They whetted my appetite.
It was terribly disappointing to see just how awful the novels are. But I contacted this writer because I was sure he wrote it that way on purpose, and I wanted to give him an opportunity to explain that purpose.
Ah, well–like Judge Judy says, no good deed goes unpunished.
And just for the record, Robert Treskillard, whose novels got blistering reviews from me on account of slangy modern dialogue in an Arthurian fantasy of the Fifth Century, thanked me for my criticisms and said he’d thought it over and had decided to throttle back on it in his next book.
That’s a shame. I guess you found his ‘strike zone’ 🙂
This guy thinks he writes like Tolkien. But I guess when you’re that successful, you don’t have to listen to anyone.
Anyone using baseball analogies in an antediluvian Biblical fantasy deserves what he’s going to get when I write my review.
Are you talking about “Abner Doubleday”?
So, when that guy stands before the Lord one day I hope he has his numbers sheet in his hand. I’m sure God will be impressed.
Thank you Lee for honesty in reviews. While unfamiliar with this particular author, the degradation of society views as literature and gobbles it up despite often being slop a sow would refuse. As with common core, and all it’s predecessors, promotion of Scholastic are a far cry from the classics required even 34 years ago. (Yikes, I’m getting on in age!!!)
Ah, Scholastic! You’d think a publisher whose books are pushed in schools would at least consider prose that wasn’t dumbed down to the level of a text message. But then the lessons Scholastic wants kids to learn have very little to do with grammar and vocabulary.
It’s not hard to spot the ones who believe their own hype. Although recently I have been told by one author that he finds my reviews challenging. I guess we can’t be pleased all the time and nor can we do the pleasing all the time. I regret no part of my review though.
If we don’t tell the truth, there’s no reason for us to review anything. Still, I was surprised that such a big shot as “Abner” would be so snotty to me.
Absolutely. Humility should be part of everyones development.
Considering his aversion to constructive criticism, hopefully he won’t be inclined to write any self help books.
In our new, PC time, all reviews must be positive. 🙂
Couldn’t positively horrid be positive? 🙂
If not, you wind up in the cornfield.
I’m sure everyone has seen at least some of these, but they’re still worth a smile:
Abner needs to stick with the American Civil War.