It’s No Fun Writing a Bad Review


Burning Skull w flashing eyes

Yesterday, I finally turned in a review on a book that had been sent to me for that purpose. I’d been dragging my feet for a bit because frankly who wants to be the bearer of bad news, or “that asshole who gave me a bad review?” Not me! I really want to help the authors that I’m reviewing by offering a credible voice and showing people that are afraid to stray from the major publishing houses, how damn good Independent and Self published books are. Honestly, I often think the books I get to read are fresher, sharper, and Hey! Let’s just say it! BETTER than the books from the big three or four publishing companies.

Alright then. The bad review (which was pretty gentle) was for a book that violated what I think most of us hold up as the writer’s/artist’s/musician’s code. When we write books or stories or songs or create art, we spend a LOT of fucking time doing it. We want that thing which we are going to share with the world be the best possible representation of US. For writers, we do a million re-writes, have our friends read it, read it out loud to our pets. Basically, even if it’s a funny book, we don’t want to throw any old piece of trash out there. It has to be right and we drive ourselves nearly insane to make it so.

Enter The Unnamed Book (TUB). This is not the author of TUB’s first book, so we can’t blame it on that. TUB violated all that stuff. Tenses were wrong, spellings were wrong, and there was this odd deal of throwing random elements into the mix that was wrong. In Stephen King’s book, “On Writing” he talks about this stuff a lot and how it really pisses him off when he has to endure it. He talks about starting books that do these things, closing them and dropping them into the nearest bin. I remember reading his book and thinking, “C’mon man! Loosen up a little! Everybody can’t be as great as you!”

Until TUB came along. Then it was my turn to be annoyed. Obviously I do not hold the same stature in the literary world as Stephen King and I did agree to do the review. Usually reviews are fun for me and there’s lots of cool stuff to talk about. I want to interest the public in making a purchase without being a spoiler and I think I do a pretty good job at it. As a writer, I’ve certainly had plenty of hard rejections. I think my favorite so far had to be a note in red ink on my returned cover page that read, “We’re DEFINITELY NOT publishing this !!!” Well okay then! Message received!

Everybody hits a book they don’t like, but when you get a book that says to you, “Hey dude! I um…didn’t really feel like proofing this…BUT, it’s great! So here you go!” Plop! To those few people, my answer is: If it wasn’t worth the trouble for you to make your book worth reading to the rest of the world, then it’s not my responsibility to give it a good review! This isn’t a high school term paper, it’s the real world and if you don’t give a fuck about how your writing reads, then neither do I! There are way too many people writing awesome stuff that would appreciate a boost. So in the future, unless my editor insists there must be a review of a TUB, I will handle them in the same way Mr. King does.

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