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Giving it Away: Spoilers as Both Noun & Accusation — 12 Comments

  1. Great article! I agree with everything you’ve said. I recently had a review that made me think differently of a certain awards going on now. A person reviewed my book on Good Reads. Another reader questioned their review because they appeared to be clueless as to what it was about prior to reading. I read further into the conversation between these two people. The one who is judging for the awards doesn’t even like romance. They’ve reviewed tons of books on Good Reads, none were romance except mine, which of course they received for free. It made me question the validity of the awards, considering. Someone who doesn’t even like romance should not be judging it, period.

    I had another really nasty review, which I come to find out was from a vindictive ex. Somehow this review was removed from Amazon, thankfully. I’ve honestly never been one that trusted reviews when I purchase a book. Some of my favorite books have quite a few negative remarks. I’ve read some reviews that do give away far too much of the story. I’d rather be surprised when I buy a book and read it. I’m not interested in seeing a play by play in the review section.

    • Thanks, Joann for your input on this. It seems this particular blog post is getting a great deal of attention…especially from other writers. Good to know I’m not the only writer dealing with this, but terrible to realize the problem is this pervasive. And yes, I had similar experiences with Exes posting out of vindictiveness. I also agree with you that reviewers should at least ENJOY the genre for which they are offering any reviews or judgments, and there ought to be some sort of procedure to prevent these spoiler reviews, at least. Thanks for chiming in!
      Best,
      KJB

  2. Hi Jae,

    I have found that conscienous writers are very aware of problems within their books. Last year at the GCLS Con KG found one of the pages in her newly released book was garbled. She had the problem fixed and new books overnighted to the Con and replaced all the books she sold the next day.

    I have also noticed when a book is made into an eBook it sometimes affects the overall narrative. I don’t understand why but I don’t let it affect my overall impression of the plot.

    Sure, soon books could use closer editing but that’s never stopped me from enjoying an exceptional
    Book.

    I enjoy your stories and appreciate you’re turning me on to Kate Genet’s terrific books.

    • I agree that conscientious writers are aware of problems in the books. There are so many changes in epublishing, that we always end up going back to books already published and making changes to keep up with the new guidelines. Problem is, when you start developing an actual catalog of books (like me, I have 33 now) it becomes a full-time job to take care of the business of writing, which takes away from the actual writing time. Part and parcel, nature of the beast, when you’re an Indie Author. It can be exhausting. I can tell you that since i finished the last 5 books in as many months, i have SO MUCH to do, just to market them. I really should be writing, but i get distracted by the inevitable email that lets me know some task or other needs my attention. But i still wouldn’t trade it for a contract with a publisher. I’ve turned down two contracts, because i really like having creative control, and i still make more doing it myself, rather than letting someone else do it (often poorly) and then me getting on 15% of the work I CREATED. one of those sad conundrums of our epublishing age.

      Still, I’m glad those things don’t keep you from reading. I wish more readers were like that, frankly. At the same time, i can scarcely bear to know that there’s a single typo anywhere in my books. I am vexed by it. Thank you for your support, and Kate appreciates you too!
      All the best,
      Jae

  3. Jae, love the article and you spelled it out perfectly. I’ve been on the receiving end on just about everything you pointed out. I’ve been attacked personally, berated, called names, etc. I’ve been accused of actually being my characters and all of their thoughts and actions were misconstrued as being mine. Because I tackle tough subjects, I’ve been called a bigot, man hating lesbian, etc. you name it, and I’ve been called it in reviews. I’ve had stalkers who hated my guts because of my subject matter, I’ve had them trash every single one of my books with one star reviews out of spite even though they never even read my book. I’ve had these stalkers give away the plot and the ending in an attempt to keep people from buying my books, which they actually stated in the reviews, etc. The lists goes on and on and as you stated, they forget that we are people behind our words and that we have feelings. Another thing I’ve seen in quite a few reviews is when the reviewer gives a bad rating, they use that revieew as a promo for other author’s books that they do like. I think it’s disrespectful, rude, and out of line. I hope that many readers who do reviews sees this article you wrote and takes your words to heart the next time they decide to write a review.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Trin–and yes, I have had similar experiences/responses–mostly to my nonfiction, though. It seems if you aren’t in lock-step with the tenets of the Lesbian Agenda, then you are somehow a traitor and should be staked to an anthill with honey poured over you. I am always very honest, and I am seldom a member of the herd…I call people into responsibility quite often, and point out flaws in the logic, etc., so I do get some hateful backlash from members of our “tribe.” My book, ISO tends to create indignant comments the most. And I suspected that one review of As You Were was done by an ex–it was the only bad one amid a bunch of others who gave the book 4 and 5 stars…this ex, by the way, was the one i had to call the cops on, and she went to jail and I moved out. 😉 SO sometimes there are those who will use the review platform for revenge or to act out in some other way. I’ve been lucky to get few bad reviews, but they don’t have to be bad to cause problems, as I’ve said in this post, and as you and the other commenters have pointed out. I agree with everything you said. Thanks for your insight! 😉

  4. Hi Kelli – thanks for writing this, it’s saved me doing it myself. On the other hand, your very justified complaints and objections did make me feel almost as furious as I get when reading one of the dumb/incompetent/childlike/let’s paraphrase the entire story/let’s give away every important plot point “reviews” that seem to abound these days.
    Thing is, while the ‘net makes it possible for “everyone to be a critic”, what it doesn’t do is make those everyones even the tiniest bit qualified to do so. Most people can’t write a review to save themselves – just like most people can’t write a novel either. It takes hard work, perseverance and (wash my mouth out for this heresy) some real talent to do either. And just because you’ve got access to a keyboard doesn’t mean you should use it!
    Diana

    • Yep, have to agree with you there, though I try not to say it out loud–I piss people off sometimes, I’m so opinionated, but this subject was just too important to let go. There’s such a fine line here…I’ve been accused of being an intellectual elitist, and not sure that’s a bad thing, but it certainly causes feathers to ruffle! I wish that intelligent lesbian fiction would get a more fair deal. It seems that the harder I (and my partner Kate Genet) work to put out quality stuff, the more we get rebuffed. We’re still trying to find that big cache of readers who want what we have to offer. Until then, we just keep writing. 😉 Thanks for your comment!

  5. This is a terrific piece. I can see why KG touted it, because you speak eloquently on behalf of all of us! Brava. This is a must read for readers as well as writers. keep up the good work!

    Barrett

  6. Well done. I do not write enough reviews because I take them seriously enough to try to do them correctly, and have not had adequate time. I try really hard not to give any of the story away, because personally I hate having someone give me a spoiler. When I read a review, I look at the introduction and the bottom line, for the impression. Usually, I am trying to figure out if a book is a standalone or where it falls in a series. That is often not obvious. I think the only negative review I would ever write would be one to prevent others from trying to read something I found unreadable. I am pretty forgiving as far as that goes, so if I found a book that bad, I think it would be significant.

    I just started my first book of yours, by the way, Armchair Detective. I am enjoying it, and will do my best to produce a well written review when I finish it.

    • Hi Susan. thanks for your comment. I appreciate your conscientious approach to writing reviews. It does require a bit of that, doesn’t it? I did place the series name in the subtitles of my series books, for just the reason you state. In the past, I have had trouble myself discerning which books fall where in a series, so that’s an important element, I agree. And yes, I’ve come across some books with horrible formatting, and that aggravating, but these days, it’s going to happen, I suppose, though I wish writers would make sure it didn’t. 😉

      I’m glad you’re enjoying Armchair Detective. Now 4 in that series and have plans for a 5th very soon. I appreciate your attention and taking the time to let me know!
      Best,
      Kelli Jae Baeli

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