Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Reading for Displeasure

Well, this is interesting. I set Google alerts for my titles to keep up with the buzz on the internet. Yesterday, DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS was humming, probably due to the fact that it's available as a free download from Borders.com.

But one of the people writing about it is a literary blogger who downloaded it because she wanted to "make fun of a bodice ripper." She claims to be "unforgiveably picky" about what she reads and yet, she felt the need to go out of her way to search for something she expects to thoroughly despise.

Does that make sense to anyone?

I've had bad reviews before. That's ok. I always say it's a good thing we don't all like the same thing because if we did, you'd all be after my DH! Not everyone will like what I write. I'm usually pretty thick-skinned about it.

But I have to wonder what's going on in someone's head when the prospect of ripping something to shreds makes them nearly giddy. It reminds me of why I dislike reality shows. Bad behavior is magnified and rewarded. Review me all day long. I can take it. Use my work as a whipping boy for your own need to denigrate others and I'm less patient. She's not just planning to bash my work. She's slamming romance in general.

She hasn't posted a review yet, but she promised her readers one. Here are her final words: The chance to read it and laugh was just too good of an opportunity to pass by. Stay tuned on this one. Who needs presidential biographies when one has duchesses on the loose?

I suggest she try Carl Sandburg's LINCOLN instead. Those six volumes should help her think better thoughts.


Penny Watson said...

Emily....I call these bloggers "shredders"--that's my term for the bloggers who are proud of their reputations for giving out 1-star and DNF reviews, and entertaining the masses with their mean-spirited observations. This blogger will be shocked if she is looking for a crappy book....your book is awesome and well-written.

Maybe the publicity she gives you will gain you some new readers!

EmilyBryan said...

We'll see. In my experience, one tends to find what one expects to find. She's expecting formulaic and shallow. I would argue the delicate dance between two souls should never be either.

Candi Wall said...


That's too bad. The funny part however, is this 'reveiwer' will probably do just what she intended, bashing away at the romance genre, using your work as her victim. And yet chances are, she reads all the way through, lost in the world you created, enjoying the story thoroughly, and frustrated by the fact!


Cathie Dunn said...

What a sad person she must be! I wonder if she has any work published, or if she's 'just' a reviewer.
Like you say, Emily, at the end of the day a review is a personal opinion.

I occasionally review historical fiction for the HNS but if I can't get into a book or simply don't like it, I return it to the editor. Another reviewer will see it in a different light.

No doubt that nasty reviewer will have to eat her words. ;-)

Anna Carrasco Bowling said...

A good friend and I had a wonderful conversation about exactly this sort of behavior and we concluded that we couldn't find a rational reason it exists other than the need to put others down to feel good about themselves. Not the most intelligent use of one's time and energy in my estimation.

I'll trot out my favorite quote from the late Eugenia Price: Not every writer is going to please every reader. That's why there are so many of us.

While this person may find themselves pleasantly surprised (hey, it is a good book) I do agree that people generally find what they're looking for, and will project that onto whatever they've decided would be their target. If historical romance isn't this person's thing, fine, but no need to shred.

Then again, she did make your download count go up, and she's dedicating time to investing emotionally in your work.

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

Emily/Mia, now you've gone and done it--I have to move Duchess up on the TBR pile. How the devil can you shred what you haven't even read? Pay her no mind (hers obviously isn't in working order, all your fans can't be wrong.
Is Duchess humor? I love humor. But a little love and heat is great too. (Just kidding - but I am gonna read it and SOON.

Carey Baldwin said...

You're right. She's bashing romance to make herself feel superior. It's her loss though.

I had a similar experience once. While blogging under a different pseudonym (one that I didn't keep)I noticed a lot of traffic coming in from a certain blog. Turned out that blog was making fun of my "ridiculous romance writer pseudonym", and claiming that no one could ever have done such a disservice to their child as to name them India Carolina.

Except you see, someone did. That was my grandmother's name.

Against all advice, I posted a comment on the woman's blog, and she visited mine and apologized.

Let's hope that against the odds,your reviewer will read with an open mind. But if she doesn't, she's only showing herself to be a reviewer worth ignoring.

EmilyBryan said...

Candi, I'd love to think my work would be the exception that proves her rule but she's determined not to like it. So she won't.

EmilyBryan said...

Cathie--I'm not a reviewer. Occasionally, I do recommendations of books I've enjoyed on my blog, but I'd never do a review. If I can't say something nice, I don't say anything.

Reviewing is a difficult art. It requires good taste and a deft eye. If there are problems with a book, a good reviewer pinpoints them and explains why it doesn't work. I admire people who do it well.

EmilyBryan said...

Anna--You're so right. No one reads in a vaccuum. Even if you and I both read the same book, it'll be a different experience for each of us because of what we bring of ourselves to the pages.

EmilyBryan said...

Mary, I hope you enjoy my duchess. Is there humor? Well, the first line is "I'm going to have to shorten his willie." (OMGosh, that blogger's going to have a field day with that!) But if you read further, you realize my heroine isn't a Victorian Elaina Bobbit. She's an artist and she's just trying to get the perspective right on the nude portrait she's painting.

EmilyBryan said...

Carey--Sounds like your blogger realized you were a real person, one she hadn't intended to hurt. I'm glad you had a postive conclusion to that episode. BTW, I think India is a great name.

Unknown said...

Blech. If you don't like romance, why read it? What's the point in that? To mock it? Okay. But don't you have something better to do with your time? I don't know about anyone else, but I hardly have time to read the books I really want to read, let alone something to poke fun at.

You're an amazing writer, Emily. I doubt this reviewer has the same grasp of language you do.

EmilyBryan said...

Stop, Saranna. I'm blushing!

Seriously, thank you, m'dear. But I agree with you about having limited reading time. For example, I don't read anything from the horror genre at all, even though I know there are some brilliant writers in that arena. The fault isn't theirs. It's mine. I can't handle gore.

I know. I'm a wus, but there it is. However, I won't denigrate a whole genre because I have a queasy tummy.