EDITED, 9:17PM: Well, lookie here. I didn’t send my post to her, yet she found it and felt the need to respond anyway. Who knew she cared about my opinion enough to actually read it? Also:
-We KNOW you’re not Anne Rice; you’re just making the same mistakes she did.
-And I am NOT a “would-be author”. I gave up fiction writing in my teens. I am older and wiser now.
NOTE: The Twitter links may come up with error messages if the Tweeter has deleted those posts. I have copied-and-pasted the relevant text.
Why does this keep occuring? We still highlight whenever it happens in the hope that people will actually comprehend. Maybe they never will. NOTE TO AUTHORS: Other writers make these mistakes so you don’t have to. Read and learn.
It began with this review of Joanne Harris’ Runemarks. 3 stars, so the blogger (Lyn of Great Imaginations) thought it was okay. She questioned whether the narrative style worked for the story being told, which is a valid criticism in reviews. Lyn and Kara are well-behaved bloggers who DON’T send their review links to authors, so if an author happens across the reviews it’s because of their own ego-surfing.
Then came this Tweet from Joanne Harris: “Terrific example of the “if I’d written this book I would have done it differently” review. Thanks.” The complete Tweet @’d Kara’s account (even though Lyn reviewed it) and linked to the review.
I’ve been following book folks on the Internet for a long time. When authors link to reviews, they’re generally to ones from the big trade publications (Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, Romantic Times, or newspapers). Or to the four- or five-star reviews from bloggers. Generally, these authors don’t include their own passive-aggressive comments. So when an author links to a less-than-absolutely-positive review, AND includes reviewers’ Twitter handle…well, one can only figure that’s because the author wants sycophants to read the review and share their thoughts with the reviewer.
Just because Anne Rice does it, that doesn’t mean you should. And just because Joanne Harris now does it, that doesn’t mean you should. How many people have to do this until everyone finally gets the picture that this is NOT okay behaviour? “OMG, you guys, someone is WRONG on the Internet, defend my honour!” Of course, the authors tend to know better than to use blatantly honest terms like this, but the general meaning is the same.
Ms Harris and her sycophants elaborated in further Tweets:
Joanne Harris: “The sandbox belongs to all of us…” And reTweeted someone’s fair comment about author intrusion into reader space.
Joanne Harris: “Once more, an online reviewer proves that if you can’t respond in a grown-up way to criticism, then you shouldn’t be dishing it out…” Actually, Kara never resorted to passive-aggressive Tweets.
Oh, and check out this corker from 28th June 2012 – yes, she was reading reviews and getting narky about them even a year ago: Joanne Harris: “#CrapReviews “Her writing is evocative but the strength of this novel was lost in that Harris never lived in the Middle Ages.” HOLY FOOLS.”
But back to now: Joanne Harris: “I didn’t reply because I’ve been offline for an hour. The conversation seems to have been doing fine without me…” A certain someone was taking her place.
Joanne Harris: “I didn’t attack the reviewer. I commented on the review. It’s the difference between attacking my book & attacking *me*.” So why did you link to Kara in the first place? You could’ve just posted the review link, and WITHOUT a comment, and left it at that.
Joanne Harris: “Everyone’s entitled to an opinion. But to claim that Twitter is “reader space” & authors shouldn’t answer back is unfair.” No, REVIEWS are reader space. This is why we strongly advise authors NOT to read reviews, because past behaviour has proved that SOME can’t handle it responsibly and maturely.
Joanne Harris: “It seems to me an uneccessarily antagonistic setup. We are all readers and writers. We are all entitled to comment.” But you can’t be both at the same time. At any time stage you are EITHER in reader mode OR author mode. NOT BOTH. And if you think it’s okay to be both at the same time, that in itself is the problem.
Joanne Harris: “Readers vs. Authors is the new Plants vs. Zombies. Sell that idea to Apple and make us all a fortune. :-)” Your writing would earn you more money if you understood author-reviewer etiquette.
And if you don’t understand why Ms Harris’ comments are inappropriate, then I don’t know if I see the point anymore of explaining things to people who can’t or won’t comprehend. I really don’t know how to make it any clearer. I’m sorry. I tried.
And to think Joanne Harris recently received an MBE for honours for services to literature in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. I can’t even…