Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Just saying--veinglory

What should you do if some blogger suggests that your book has a funny title, odd cover or peculiar plot element?

a) call it cruel, snark or trashing
b) attack their character, intelligence and/or motives--and say they asked for it
c) get your friends to do the same
d) grow some skin

How's this. I could post a blog with a picture of a voodoo doll. Whenever you want to say something to a blogger or reviewer. You could anonymize it and post it to the doll instead? It would be cathartic ;)


Pepper Espinoza said...

I would ignore them. If my book has a funny cover, I promise, I already realize that. Most likely, I've either gently suggested changes or cut my losses on that front. If it has a goofy title, I'll cop to that. I suck with titles, and I do the best I can, but I acknowledge my short comings. If somebody thinks my peculiar plot point is goofy--eh. I do what's right for my characters...or I try to.

veinglory said...

I suck at titles too. Which is sad because I think titles are very important.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty good with titles, and peculiar plot elements are my forte.

As for the cover, I'm likely the one who offered it up to be snarked. I have minimal cover art input, sometimes none at all, and I know it. And all publicity is good publicity.

bettie said...

"I could post a blog with a picture of a voodoo doll. Whenever you want to say something to a blogger or reviewer. You could anonymize it and post it to the doll instead? It would be cathartic"


Anonymous said...

I think most people on the whole need to laugh at themselves more.

I also dont understand why authors get so offended...they are just words spoken by someone they usually dont know and should not really affect them in the is just one person's opinion.

Another thing I dont author input into their covers? What is up with that? How can they not get input from the author? Who else knows their book and characters better? Every time I read this somewhere it blows me away.

Am I like the only publisher that allows an author to work closely with the cover artist?


Anonymous said...

I have reptilian skin, thick and spiky. Who cares what a critic says unless they make a valid point. Peculiar is not a valid point. I take great care with my titles, if a critic doesn't get it, they don't get it.

Cover art as well. I have total design input and much of the photography and editing is done by me, well, except for Thin Wall ... couldn't take that picture myself, so someone else was behind the lens for that one. But the naked, noose, knife blade, cover slick with blood was all my ingenuity.

Erastes said...

I'd wail in private (although with a dodgy cover, I'd probably already be blushing from first seeing it) and then say nothing. You need to have a rhino skin in this biz.

Anonymous said...

I'd post and thank them for the free publicity.

Jennifer McKenzie said...

The authors I admire and respect and done nothing.
I don't know what all of them did in private, but I know how I'd behave in public.
I hope.

Jennifer McKenzie said...

Oh shoot. "...HAVE done nothing". Sorry. Bad editing.

Barbara Sheridan said...

DEP Deb,

In my experience most e-publishers tend to let the author have rather a lot of input into the cover art while NY houses are pretty much "you take what you get" unless you have an agent with some influence or one hell of sales record.

As for the main topic I like to think I'm a thick skinned type of person though every now and again....

Anonymous said...

a lot of my stuff goes into anthologies with set covers (Torqued Tales, Shifting Back), or into series that have stock covers (Taste Tests, Toyboxes, games People Play, Single Shots, Tricks or Treats).

On novels and novellas, I get more input, usually a questionnaire of what I envision for the cover.
(just got one tonight. Not exactly what I wanted, but better than expected.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification guys.

I see posts all over the place and have heard some complaints from authors at DEP also about some houses not letting authors have input.

Its just very strange to me that authors wouldnt have this kind of input, or at least be asked what they envision for the cover.


Imp said...

I think I might call all the authors who voiced their support of the book, its participants, its cover, its title, and/or its publisher some derogatory names and, in a fit of pique, refuse to ever mention that publisher again on my blog. That's the mature thing to do, right?

What I absolutely would NOT do is find out for myself why said book or said publisher had such staunch supporters. That's just an unreasonable expectation. Responsibility only goes so far, after all.

veinglory said...

The kind of "support" that results in counter attacks and personal insults reflects badly on the publisher, the authors and the industry. It is petty, amateurish and undignified.

Imp said...

Hmm. As the "support" in question has been deleted, it's difficult to really analyze whether any of it truly qualified as "counter attacks" and "personal insults." There is no doubt in my mind, however, that some of the stones cast in response to that "support" fit those definitions.

Pot, meet kettle.

veinglory said...

As it happens I disagree. I feel the blogger's original post was not insulting at all and her response was justified by this and multiple egregious previous experiences with authors and gangs of authors who arranged their campaign against her on forums based on her daring to not like something about a book.

But the key difference to my mind is that a blogger or reviewer represents only themselves. They can, honestly, act as stupid as they want.

An author represents their own brand, their publisher, and their professions. I do hold them/us to a higher standard of conduct. Otherwise the blogosphere gives us leave to all, individually and collectively--to borrow a phrase--act like fucktards.

Let's not.

Imp said...

I agree with you in part. I did not find the blogger's initial post to be overly insulting. (I would argue that it was biased, but whose opinion isn't?)

However, it can certainly be argued that some authors and "gangs" of authors have "multiple, egregious previous experiences" with a some bloggers/reviewers as well -- and, granted, some have approached their comments with their own biases. (It's difficult to give the benefit of the doubt re intent when past experience tells you that someone just isn't going to listen/read with an open mind. That's true of bloggers AND commenters.)

However, the blogger's response was clearly a blatant attack bordering on libel. There's just no call for that. It was softened a bit, upon reflection, to steer it away from a business entity that could conceivably claim damages via legal recourse. Far less risky to insult individuals who are less likely to respond in such a manner (and if they do, are less likely to succeed in defending their allegations).

Very distasteful, the whole damned mess, but also quite revealing.

veinglory said...

Everyone could lighten up a bit, including me.

But I don't see anything libelous. It would have to be not true and more-or-less deliberately economically damaging. I can think of a case against a blog or forum that every flew. Also the owners of Phaze are far too sane to try it in MHO.

I don't see a thing stated as a fact that strikes me as innacurate. The main reason I don't see the bloggers comment as an attack is obviously that I agree with her.

C'est la blog.

In any case I think personal insults are a blanket bad idea and am beginning to skate a little close to that one myself. Bad blogger, no cookie.