Or: I feel opinionated today.
There is a piece in the Commentary section of the Christian Science Monitor today. "Bull's-eye for amateur book critics: An author warms up to her bad reviews on Amazon.com." (HERE) that harkens back to the discussion on David Anthony Durham's Blog about the Rise of the Cyber Critic.
"My first negative review on Amazon.com felt like a dagger to the heart." says Curtiss."
"Not even bestselling authors can escape being maligned by amateur critics whose time has come."
It seems the author doing the commentary takes exception to anyone reviewing her book that is not a 'professional'. My reply would be "Suck it up." People have opinions, people express opinions, the Internet just makes it easier to let a large segment of the universe know about your opinions. The world doesn't owe you pats on the back and fuzzy kittens. The authors I admire and hope to emulate someday are those that are gracious under fire, that realize you can't please all of the people all of the time, and project a Zen-like attitude towards reviews and criticisms.
"It's actually fun to read the ridiculous ones aloud to disbelieving friends. Positive reviews alone, unleavened by a little dissenting vitriol, are really rather boring. Imagine "American Idol" without Simon Cowell."
It's times like this that I think I should have completed my psychology degree but the Board of Psychology Examiners would frown on me smacking someone in the back of the head and saying, "Whatsa matta wid u? Grow up.".
Obsessing over the negative is counterproductive. I still hate getting rejection letters (emails), but that's the way the business is. On the other hand, I dislike conflict and hate giving bad news, so maybe that makes me the wuss here. Critiquing is an art form in itself, one that you have to actively master. It's far easier to roll your eyes at critics because they don't understand your brilliance. Much harder to smile and say, "You may have a point. I'll take that under consideration for next time."
I know my biggest barriers on the Eightfold Path are Right Speech, and Right Effort. Bad reviews hurt, and I can sympathize... but I still don't like whining.
So David, Scott, Kris, thanks for having the class you do in your public relations and blogs. As a reader, writer, and 'amateur critic', I appreciate it.
-- There's no CRYING in baseball!-- (A League Of Their Own)