Monday, April 4, 2011
Why Are Trainwrecks So Popular?
Before I begin today’s rambling rant, I want to welcome our three new blogging buddies—the absolutely fabulous Mia Watts, Cari Quinn, and Allie Standifer. And I also want to remind everyone that Three Wicked Writers Plus Two has a Yahoo group and we’d love to have you join. This week we’re launching Wake Up Wednesdays! Members are asked to post their favorite hot hunk pics. This week’s theme is COWBOYS! Giddy up! Here’s the link: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/threewickedwriters
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Last week the publishing world witnessed a major trainwreck. It was on a review site which is where most of the trains seem to derail. Sometimes it’s about a publisher and what that publisher has failed to do, and a lot of times it’s about an actual review. I’ve come to expect these runaway trains and the carnage they leave along the tracks.
But this particular derailment got my attention in a different way. First, the review was not a bad review overall. Let’s face it, most of the blood-spilling is the result of the way the review itself is presented. Think about that. If you’ve got to get a bad review—and you will—shouldn’t it just be an honest review, well thought out, and WITHOUT the snark? I think the vast majority of authors can handle that kind of review. It’s the snark we can’t deal with and that makes us breathe fire.
My lungs are still charred from one I received a couple of years ago in which the reviewer thought my book was back dropped against a blue screen—no real setting. HUH? I had coral-hued sunsets, Texas dust, trees galore, sex amongst the wildflowers, wild mustangs, faded green pickup trucks, etc. etc. etc. Then the reviewer was concerned about my 2007—contemporary novella—and why Indian rights were never considered when the matriarch of the book died and left the will up for contest between my hero and heroine. Oooooooooooookay. But! The reviewer thought the book was well-written. Ooooooooooooookay.
Now like I said, the review this particular author received was not that bad. The reviewer was not at all snarky. Very polite. An honest review done in a nice way. Personally, I could have swallowed that review and just never pointed it out to anyone, knowing that in a couple of days it would have been buried well enough that not too many people would come across that low rating. LOL If there is one thing that the reviewer could possibly have done differently, it would have been to give the author a bit higher rating. He seemed to like the story and thought the author was a good storyteller evidently. But he took off right much in the way of rating because of editing issues. Mostly grammar, I think. But then again, I haven’t read the book and won’t (more on that later). It seems the reviewer thought that the issues with grammar and editing in general made the book too difficult to hold a reader’s attention. And if that’s the case, maybe that two-star rating was indeed warranted. I think all of that is very very subjective.
So basically, the author commented, telling the reviewer he hadn’t downloaded the right copy of the book. Apparently she’s self-pubbed. Nothing wrong with that. But it came out in her comment that she had emailed him a note on downloading the right copy, and he commented later that he had done just that. The author also posted some reviews that she had received on Amazon.
And that, my friends, is when the train rounded the bend a little too fast and the wheels came off the track.
Others started weighing in with their opinions—against the author. A lot of them were commenting anonymously, as was their right, and some weren’t. But if you look at those comments, you can see just how venomous they became. It was like each commenter was throwing a cup of gasoline onto the author. And honey, did she ever go off. Like a rocket. NASA could use her on their launch pad.
Did she deserve what she got? Some of it. Yes. Did she really go too far? Absolutely. But did she deserve in excess of 300 comments that all said the same thing roasting her over and over? No. Now before I go any further, let me say there were a few commenters who very nicely gave her some good advice. Commenters who were NOT trying to fuel the fire, but get her to listen to reason. I even recall one commenter pretty much saying enough was enough and it was time to shut down comments. But comments did not shut down until there were about twice as many--finally.
And the number of followers for that review site just kept ticking away. UPWARD.
When I first saw the site, the number of followers was sitting at 371. And as I had gotten offline pretty early the night before and didn’t check email before I went to bed (which is why I didn’t see all of this until the next morning), I’m sure there were even less followers on that blog initially. I could honestly sit at my computer, click refresh, and see five or six more followers every three or four minutes. Still can, though it’s not quite as fast and furious as it was a couple of days ago.
As of this posting the blog has 974 followers—up 19 from when I checked late yesterday afternoon. And all because of a trainwreck. An author had a meltdown. Comments were allowed to race like wildfire.
So the blog has enjoyed some success that I would relate directly to this fiasco. Do I begrudge the blog benefiting? No. Actually, it seems to be a solid review site. Like I said, no snark. So maybe authors and readers recognized this and decided to follow the blog. And maybe some of them just followed as a show of support for the reviewer. And maybe some of them are just hoping for another trainwreck.
What about the author?
Well, the number of followers on her blog didn’t go up. But the number of hits she received on her blogger profile now number over 70,000. She’s only been a blogger since October 2010. I’ve had blogger since June 2007 and have only had 1933 hits to that profile page. Nobody loves me! LOL
Is she selling books as a result of her meltdown? I can just about guarantee it. Is that a good thing? In the short run, money is always good. But what about the long run? Is she going to have to change her pen name? Was that a real name? Lots of unanswered questions. So why am I not buying the book? First, it’s not erotic. Lol Kidding, just kidding. But really? It would only be a curiosity buy for me. While I am a bit of an impulse buyer, there’s something just wrong about buying a book as a result of a trainwreck.
And that’s the end of that particular story.
So what do you think of the popularity of trainwrecks? What fuels them? Why do we stop and gawk? And what about that author? Did she really commit career suicide? Or will anyone even remember her name six months from now?
This week’s featured author video is from Casey Sheridan for her new release from Breathless Press. I love the bluesy music. The images are ohhhh sooooo sexy! Great job, Casey! You can find Casey here: http://casey-sheridan.com