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Bad Advice for Writers!

31 October 2014

From The Huffington Post:

We at Bad Advice for Writers have thus far only concentrated on the act of writing, ignoring important things to like how to behave like a writer and the importance of not understanding how social media works.

Today, on the eve of NaNoWriMo, we will focus on bad advice for the novelist. We feel we should make this distinction insofar as some of this advice might actually not be bad advice if you are planning on a work of non-fiction.

. . . .

Advice #4: Correct negative reviews

There are only two types of reviews: the positive kind, and the kind where the reviewer didn’t understand the book. A bad review of your book is actually a cry for help!

Whenever you see a negative review that makes you say to yourself, “I should reach out to this person, perhaps in a borderline illegal fashion,” by all means do so. Find out where they live if you want! Show up on their doorstep and offer to politely explain how they simply failed to understand your novel. Make it clear that this is something they need to resolve within themselves and not a reflection on your work, and also that there’s no need whatsoever to call the police, so please put down the phone and stop crying.

Interaction is what reviewers are really looking for from you, the writer. Words like “awful” and “incomprehensible” and “this may have been written by a very dumb parrot” are really their way of saying, “I have failed to fully grasp your clear brilliance and would like for you to explain it to me”. So get out there and interact!

You may find that the sheer number of negative reviews makes it impossible to reach out to each and every person, however. When this happens you may want to consider writing a screed complaining about the nature of online reviews in general, and getting it published in a large magazine. This way you can tell multiple reviewers at once that you consider them unqualified to write reviews, and at the same time express a clear lack of understanding for how the Internet works.

Remember, nothing says “I am a serious writer” like a public inability to grasp how modern media functions!

Link to the rest at The Huffington Post


15 Comments to “Bad Advice for Writers!”

  1. I think that some of that sarcasm actually dripped… 😀

  2. Stalking Reviewers… I see a decent horror story there. I’m hoping someone writes a story like that for NaNoWriMo.

  3. I know he was joking around… but I kind of want to read “Combat Wombats.” Can this please become a real book?

    • I belong to a group called the Writin’ Wombats. I will suggest this to them. Since some of us write historicals, and some romance, and some alternate history, and some science fiction, we are perfectly aligned to make this happen. Once we stop hanging out at our virtual bar, the Hicken and Spleen, and stop eating Lucky Charms while quaffing whatever that is brewing in the basement.

    • (puts “Combat Wombats” on to-do list) You are correct. It needs to be done. Although it would be hard to surpass Digger for sheer wombatiness, she was more of a SeaBee than a soldier.

      (http://diggercomic.com/ for the innocent, the unwary, and the doomed. Features prophetic snails, vampire squash, and a heroine who disapproves of gods)

    • I’ll see what I can do…

    • There’s a band called Combat Wombat – a ‘political hip-hop crew’ from Melbourne. I was going to suggest that you could put on one of their albums for inspiration, but after listening to a bit from one of their performances, I think I might advise against it.

  4. Smart Debut Author

    Bad advice for writers?

    They missed one:

    #5 – Sign a contract with Deborah Smith’s publishing company, Bell Bridge Books…

  5. #5a — do ANYTHING short of ignoring with fingers in ears and singing, “La la, la” with Deborah Smith or any entity related to same…

  6. #6: Donate 15% of all your earnings, now and forever, to a literary agent.

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