I recently experienced an incident with another author that has me questioning, once again, whether I should be reviewing books. I reviewed this person’s book, generally praising it and also listing a few minor issues I had with the story. It was a mixed review, but a positive one, in my view, and I ended by recommending the book.
The author, however, was so incensed that I had the nerve to give him a three-star rating, that he sent me a scathing note, going point by point over my issues, explaining to me why I didn’t know shit from Shinola. It turned into an ugly assault on me.
Evidently this author thinks he’s a cross between Hemingway, Capote and Greene, and expects all reviewers to bow before him with offerings of five-star accolades. I wish him success.
I did not take his attack too personally, knowing from my own experience how fragile a writer’s ego can be. And I stand by my comments and my rating of his story. Nevertheless, this has happened several times now, and it does have me wondering if I should throw in the towel.
The reason I review books is solely to shine a light on works by people who write about gay characters and/or gay themes. I began reviewing gay fiction several years ago when there were few sites that showcased lgbtq fiction. But if these very people I’m trying to help are rabidly against me, then why should I bother? Why should I devote a week of reading someone’s work, and then a few hours of crafting a review, if the author fails to appreciate it?
I have learned that when you put yourself out there, no matter what your intentions, some folks will welcome it and some won’t. Some praise while others slander. I confess I’m growing tired of it.
I have a stack of books that I have committed to review, which will take me well into the Spring of 2013. After that, who knows? I suspect I will wrestle with this issue for weeks or months, whether to continue reviewing. I had already stopped accepting new review copies simply because my to-be-reviewed stack had grown too high. So it should be an easy thing not to start it up again. Time will tell.