Mar 29, 2011

Meltdown

I would like to teach anyone new to the internet a vital lesson, content is forever. As someone who posts their thoughts a lot on the world wide web I've been taught this valuable rule early on in my blogging career and have always been mindful of that. There are sometimes when I don't really care who reads my mildly literate rants that may or may not offend anyone in particular, but I don't make it a habit to try and poke at readers, few that I may have.

Some who publish their work do take criticisms to heart, which is not surprising, but even those who hate my work and make the world known about that fact do often have views that can be considered constructive. I don't really mind if they like it or not when it comes to this blog as it's really more written for me than anyone else.

Still my constitution is more hardened than others. Take Jacqueline Howett for example. She's an "indie" writer who suddenly found herself infamous for reasons other than her published prose. A blogger by the screen name of Big Al, who seems to review books as a hobby, gave a somewhat positive review of Howett's book, "The Greek Seaman". (Yes I giggle immaturely at that title.) His only critique really was her grammatical skills, which seemed poor at best. Jacqueline did not take kindly to the review given by Big Al and commented on his post. Let's read a few gems from this author who has an online meltdown:

You obviously didn't read the second clean copy I requested you download that was also reformatted, so this is a very unfair review. My Amazon readers/reviewers give it 5 stars and 4 stars and they say they really enjoyed The Greek Seaman and thought it was well written. Maybe its just my style and being English is what you don't get. Sorry it wasn't your cup of tea, but I think I will stick to my five star and four star reviews thanks.

She then posts a few positive reviews on Amazon.com. She seems very demanding to someone who reviews books without taking a salary.

Big Al responded:

In response to the many comments from Ms Howett:

I received the email on 2/7 asking that I download the a new copy of the book, which I did. I verified in my library software (Calibre) that this was the version I had and read. However her note above as well as the email mentioned formatting. At least when I talk about formatting I'm referring to issues of conversion from the source (a Word .doc file or whatever) into an eBook so the text flows correctly on the Kindle and so on. I say no issues I would attribute to formatting.

I have doubts that Ms. Howett being English is the reason for my reaction to her writing although I can't discount it entirely. I can say that in the last year I've read and in many cases reviewed on this blog books by natives of England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and multiple European countries where English is not the primary language. Some have been full of country specific slang. In none of these cases has this been an issue for me. I do mention these things in the FYI section of my reviews because it is an issue for some people.

I'll also point out that in the first two chapters alone I found in excess of twenty errors that ideally would have been caught in editing and proofing. Some were minor, but all have the potential of disrupting an enjoyable reading experience, depending on the specific reader and their sensitivity to such things.

Here are a couple sample sentences from the first two chapters that gave me pause and are representative of what I found difficult while reading.

"She carried her stocky build carefully back down the stairs."

"Don and Katy watched hypnotically Gino place more coffees out at another table with supreme balance."

I understand what both are probably saying. I do question the sentence construction.

However, I should point out that the review does say the story, which is the most important part of a book, is good. The effort of extracting the story through the errors and, at least to me, sometimes convoluted sounding language, made doing so much too difficult, IMO.

I would encourage anyone who thinks the story sounds interesting to sample the book. Read the first few chapters and decide for yourself.

Seems professional and to the point this Big Al. The author though, couldn't just leave well enough alone:

My writing is just fine!

You did not download the fresh copy.... you did not. No way!

As to annoymous

Al was given the option of a free copy from smashwords the following day to download in any format he preffered.

Look AL, I'm not in the mood for playing snake with you, what I read above has no flaws. My writing is fine. You were told to download a new copy for format problems the very next day while they were free at Smashwords, so you could choose any format you wanted to read it in and if their were any spelling mistakes they were corrected. Simply remove this review as it is in error with you not downloading the fresh copy i insisted. Why review my book after being told to do this, and more annoying why have you never ever responded to any of my e-mails?

And please follow up now from e-mail.
This is not only discusting and unprofessional on your part, but you really don't fool me AL.

Who are you any way? Really who are you?
What do we know about you?

You never downloaded another copy you liar!
You never ever returned to me an e-mail

Besides if you want to throw crap at authors you should first ask their permission if they want it stuck up on the internet via e-mail. That debate is high among authors.

Your the target not me!
Now get this review off here!

Ms Howlett then comments a couple more times with only two words, fuck off. I assume this is to be directed at Big Al and the other commentators who remind her of how unprofessional she's being.

If anyone gave enough attention to material that I attempted to make money off of I would thank them and move on, good review or not, but others think differently. I know writers and I feel being passionate about your work is a positive trait as most do, but you have to have a thick skin when you make your books available to the masses. Actions like this give other writers a bad name, especially those trying to break into the field.

Perhaps this author is mentally unstable, which is quite possible. Artists can be eccentric and not in a good way. If that is the case, then I do feel sorry for her.

Not that I'm a whiz at grammar, but I read a small snippet of her book and I have to agree with Big Al, the mistakes are atrocious. I had to read a few sentences twice just to figure out what exactly the author was saying.

Writing is not for everyone and takes a lot of education and patience. I look at authors with a kind of awe as they are out of my league when it comes to prose and creativity. It's a tough racket for sure in this day when people don't really care to read fiction anymore. One can't help but feel for Ms. Howlett....ok I can't feel for her. The comments on Big Al's blog and Amazon.com are just comedy gold and I suggest taking a read.

"I want this review removed or its just considered abuse." - Jacqueline Howett

2 comments:

wigsf3 said...

I kinda thought "This is a good book, but the grammar needs some more editting," was a constructive and proper review; while "Fuck off" is just abuse.

And let's face facts, English author, she's a drunk.

Miss Ash said...

That just made my day! No joke!!! Absolutely ridiculous and hilarious! What a weirdo!