Shannon Stacey

Nobody wants to be meh

Dear Author has a post up today called What is Wrong With the C Review? and in lieu of any other blog content, here was my contribution:

I see a C as the low side of meh, and no author shoots for that. There are way too many books in the marketplace for a C to be good enough.

As for surprising author reactions to a C review, I have a (possibly totally whacked) theory:

If a book receives an F review, it usually dings the book as a whole. When a reviewer gives the book an Epic Fail, whether it’s plot elements, worldbuilding, sexual content or writing style, it’s easy for the author to tell herself the reviewer “didn’t get it”. Your book clearly wasn’t for that reader, therefore the review has less validity and can be discounted.

The C review, however, is often about the author’s execution. The reader wanted to like the book and tried to like the book and therefore (based on my own observations) writes a much more focused and constructive review. Much, much harder for the writer to discount and—if she’s honest with herself—harder to deny.

Because the C review is going to cut closer to home, it’s probably more likely to trigger an overly defensive hissy fit from an author prone to that sort of thing than an F, which can be tossed aside as “she didn’t get it”.

Anyway, I’m off to type in some handwritten pages so I can get a more exact word count on the hopefully not-meh novella I’m working on, and then I’ve got a to-do list that could choke a horse. It involves the scrubbing of multiple bathrooms, even.

So much for being Barbara Cartland when I grew up. :gaah:

3 comments to “Nobody wants to be meh”

  1. Annmarie
      · August 19th, 2008 at 9:58 am · Link

    I would hate a ‘C’ too. For the same reasons. ‘C’ is so middle of the road. So plebeian.

  2. Charlene
      · August 19th, 2008 at 10:09 am · Link

    Huh. See, my reaction to author hissy fits over any review grade is closer to “oh quit whining you entitled hysteric and go write something besides posts about how nobody understannnnndddds you.” But it’s possible I’m just getting crabby.

    I shrug at Cs. And 3s. Yes, really. Hey, they didn’t hate it, they didn’t love it. What can you say about that? Not much. Shrug and move on. I got a 3 on Wicked Hot from RT. Hey, I’m just glad nobody’s raved about how I’m going to hell for writing it.

    The thing is, I have yet to see consensus on ANY title reviewed. If everybody read a book and gave it a C or a 3, I’d wonder if it was meh. But if some give it a 5, some a 4, and some a 3, well, that’s a range of opinion. Taken as a whole, I can say it rated above average for most, average for some.

    And you know, average for a published novel DOES NOT SUCK. I’m sorry, but I think sometimes authors who’ve gotten there develop amnesia about how freaking hard it was to GET published in the first place. Any published novel is by definition pretty damn good work. If your work is rated “as good as anybody else’s who made it”, that’s no small thing.

    Yes, I wish everybody who loved my books thought they were the bestest ever, but some will think so, some won’t, so what? You can’t please everybody. Pleasing most is not a bad achievement.

    What really matters isn’t what grade you got. It’s what the sales numbers say. Because people don’t go out in droves to buy a book that didn’t succeed, and they don’t recommend it to friends. If your book is selling steadily to happy readers, who cares if a reviewer from Andalasia thought it was dull? On the flip side, if the reviewer from Andalasia thought it was fantastic and it sold twelve copies, well, that opinion is nice but consensus says you have work to do.

  3. Sasha
      · August 20th, 2008 at 2:32 am · Link

    I agree with why a c is harder to take.

    It’s not good to throw hissy fits in public, but I’ve been known to rant to friends about a review a time or two. LOL

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