Category: Dealing with bad reviews and criticism

Another Reason Why I Love Joel Stein’s "The Awesome Column"…

First, I’m feeling guilty this morning. I almost broke a few of the rules I preach about here on this blog after I read a nasty comment about one of my books. The comment was made, get this, in a nasty review for another book, and the reviewer made several uncalled for insinuations about the length of my book. And I almost had one of those author melt-downs you read about all the time. I won’t mention any names in this post. Mainly because I don’t want these creeps of the publishing world to get any free publicity. But if anyone has a passion for gossip, please e-mail me and I’ll be happy to tell you who it was.

But I didn’t rant or melt-down last night. And I’m glad. Instead, I sat down and read my latest issue of Time Magazine to take my mind off this amateur book reviewer (and review site) who knows very little about publishing. And when I started reading Joel Stein’s, “The Awesome Column,” I couldn’t believe was I was seeing. You couldn’t get better timing than this. The title of this column was “You Can’t spell TIME Without ‘I’ and ‘Me’! How My Self-Obsessed Writing Changed Journalism.” And it went on to explain how people criticized Joel’s first person writing style and how they attacked him personally when he first started out. Here’s a link to part of the column. Time didn’t post it in full online because they want you to buy the magazine (smile). So, though I don’t promote any magazines here, I do think buying this particular issue just for Joel’s column would be a wise investment.

I particularly liked this paragraph: “Thirteen years later and 13 years wiser, I reflect on that criticism and think, I won! All bloggers write in first person, spending hours each day chronicling their anger at their kids for taking away their free time. Every Facebook update and tweet is sophomoric, solipsistic, snarky and other words I’ve learned by Googling myself.”

Franky, I never imagined that anyone would trash Joel’s writing style. In fact, his first person style is something I’ve always admired. Mainly because I’ve only been courageous enough to write in the first person once or twice. And, I’ve written over fifty novels with my own name and a few with pen names. All with good sales records, and all with viable publishers. I don’t count this blog. Blogging, for me, is informal and I just write as I feel, without caring about the writing police. But writing in the first person isn’t easy. It’s a craft only the bravest writers tackle, and it’s also just one of the main reasons why I love Joel Stein’s work.

But now I love him for writing this honest column and sharing his personal experiences with unfounded, snarky, criticism. I know it sounds like schadenfreude, but Joel’s column saved me from writing a scathing post about an amateur author who seems to take pleasure in trashing other authors online (a concept I simply don’t understand). And though I may not always agree with Joel’s politics, I always walk away from his column with something I didn’t have before, and I always get a laugh or two.