Reviews and reviewers
The Alice Hoffman incident blazes on. I'm referring to literary novelist Alice Hoffman taking it to a reviewer via Twitter she felt had wronged her.
Lillith Saintcrow (a fantasy writer I've just started reading and enjoying) recently wrote a long response to the Hoffmann incident on her blog. She's obviously in sympathy with Hoffman. I should note that everybody from Publisher's Weekly to Romantic Times has praised her books. She's very, very good.
I should note here that I don't see much of any of what Lillith is talking about in the mystery genre.
"Here’s the thing: we are awash, on the Internet, with people calling themselves “reviewers.” Pretty much everyone’s got a dog in the fight. There’s Amazon reviews, which are a sinkhole of comments that may or may not be about the book or item in question. There’s Internet “review sites” that do follow Sturgeon’s Law–many of them are there to stroke the “reviewer’s” ego, and end up being crap. There are group review sites where the group dynamic has more in common with the locker room or a Plastics clique.
"...I’ve read reviews where the reviewers obviously had a personal problem with something I’d said on my blog, or something they thought I said, or even something someone else said or a bad hair day or something, and they took it out in the review, on my book. I’ve read screeds that don’t even spell the characters’ names right, where it was obvious they didn’t even read more than the cover copy, spoilers galore, and a whole host of inappropriate and highly inflammatory reviews. They stung, yes. They were out there on the Net for everyone to see. And in some cases there were the usual blog swarm of Yes Men piling on to show how cool they were by trashing the subject du jour. Which just happened to be my book on that day.
"This is why I understand Hoffman’s frustration. We are literally drowning in reviewers, online and off. The Boston Globe reviewer did give spoilers, and did clunk through an embarrassing (and in my opinion, unwarranted) bad review. (The review reads to me like the reviewer wanted to cause a bit of ruckus by panning the book, for her own reasons. But that’s just me.) The seduction of the easy response was there on Twitter, and Hoffman took it. When you’re mad you don’t think straight. I’m pretty sure that at some point in the future I’m going to be mad enough to break my own rules and cause an Internet kerfluffle. The flesh, alas, is weak. "