I’m coming in late to this (work: KICKING MY ASS; the mess in my apartment: KICKING MY ASS; life in general: KICKING MY FUCKING ASS) and am jumping in the fray only because an alert reader very kindly *snort* provided us with linkage, but in case you’re a blind or somehow incapacitated and completely unable to do your blog rounds: Angie managed to blow things up quite nicely yesterday on RTB with her article about credible reviews, and Karen Scott picked up the torch, and MaryJanice Davidson provided some hilarious commentary, even if I said “bitch, please!” more than once while reading what she had to write. Which really isn’t too different from how I am when I’m reading her books, heh.
Y’all know how I feel about reviews, reviewing and authors who think readers aren’t qualified to review. If you feel any doubts, then check out this little bit of mouth-frothing from days of yore. (Tangent: Smart Bitches is almost a year old. What the fuck, y’all?)
I only have one more thing to throw into the discussion, and it’s probably nothing particularly new (I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t read all the comments in all the threads about this issue): Authors who snip and snipe about how readers just aren’t qualified to review a book because they don’t know what it’s like to
give birth to precious, precious babies all by their little selfses
survive the rigors of the publishing process love to draw similes to professions like medicine, law, engineering and the hard sciences. Look, no schlub off the street is qualified to critique, say, a research paper on quantum mechanics. And that’s a perfectly valid point. Y’all need to be certified to do that shit. The implication is: the average reader’s view is invalid, and only authors can know another author’s pain and be qualified to provide commentary on a published novel.
Oh, you know what I’m gonna say next: BITCH, PLEASE. What I want to know is: how many published authors—especially authors who write genre fiction—have advanced degrees in, say, English, Linguistics or Fine Arts? If these standards are to be accepted as logical, then off the top of my head, Sara Donati is allowed to review books and THE REST OF US (myself definitely included) need to sit down and shut the fuck up.
Here’s the terrifying part that authors hate, just hate to own up to: you really don’t need any special qualifications to get a novel published, much less write one. I’m not saying it’s easy—it’s patently not. But unlike a doctor, or an accountant, or an engineer, you don’t need any sort of professional certification to be recognized as an author. People who have successfully published books—massively bestselling books, even—have come from all over the economic, education and class spectrum: high-school drop-outs, college professors, single moms scribbling story ideas on the backs of napkins, teenagers, ex-cops, accountants, bored English majors. Shit, if books like The Lighthouse Keeper are any indication, you don’t even need to be particularly literate to write a novel that’s consquently slobbered over by readers like a 10-year-old boy at a NAMBLA meeting. And experiments like Naked Came the Stranger have proved that crap, well, sells.
So on one hand: Kudos for being published.
But on the other hand: Your masterpiece is sharing that honor with books like Desire’s Blossom and To Tame a Renegade.
And one last thing: I’m also amused by the people who are swearing off MaryJanice Davidson because of her views. My personal opinion is, yeah, she’s being an asshole, but she’s a funny asshole, and that’s some hard, hard shit to pull off. I can sympathize with the urge, but hell, if I swore off asshole authors entirely, my list of authors I could read would be very slim indeed, and frankly, I’m too selfish for that because I’m such a book whore—I like ‘em big, I like a LOT of them, and often several different ones at the same time. There’s only one reason I no longer bother to read anything MJD releases, and that’s because I’ve decided her recent books have sucked a lot of ass, even though I enjoy her distinctive, snarky voice.