Friday, December 14, 2007


It had to happen.

My book got a negative comment in a public forum.

This wasn’t a formal review, mind you, but a comment in one of those reader feedback forums at an online bookseller.

The Dear Reader in question didn’t simply pan the book; she actually stormed back to the bookstore and returned it! Now, if that’s not being mightily offended, I don’t know what is. DR accused my heroine Kate of being snarky and condescending. (And come to think of it, maybe she is.)

Generally I’m of the opinion that it’s a far worse sin to bore readers than to offend the odd one with excessive cheekiness. But even so, I would like to do what I can to mitigate any future storming of booksellers.

To that end, I’m considering putting a blanket apologia in the front matter of every book.

The disclaimer would go something like this:

The author apologizes to the following people or groups who may be offended by irreverent depictions within the novel:

Gym bunnies
Muscle men
Men who drive muscle cars
Viking blondes
Biker chicks
Mean girls
Medical assistants with a grudge
Compulsive exercisers
Compulsive dieters
Compulsive gamblers
Loan sharks
Plastic surgery junkies
People who hate cats
People who love purse dogs
High-powered boyfriends
Low-powered boyfriends
AWOL boyfriends
People with AWOL waistlines
TV women who teeter around on stilettos
Women with flip bobs
News directors
Drill Sergeants
Show horses
Horse’s asses
Devotees of low carb diets
Devotees of M&M’S and Snickers Bar diets

Phew! As you can see, it’s a long list of potential offendees that I need to accommodate. And the list will be getting longer with each book.

I only hope that when any of the above-named aim their flamethrowers at me, they spell my name right.


Deb Baker said...

Looks like you are handling it just fine! I had a member of a yahoo reading group tell the rest of the members not to read the next month's selection because it was awful, "trailer trash" junk. And it was MY book.

Dr. Ellen said...

I have sent precisely one book back to the publisher and demanded my money back. They sent it to me.

They mis-labeled the book. They said "triumph of the human spirit", then sold me a book where damn near everybody dies. The only triumph was that, in the village of the heroine, everybody got a proper burial.

For lesser book-offenses, I simply vote with my feet. Don't like it? Don't buy any more.

Bad reviews are like unto Franklin Roosevelt's quote: "...judge me by the enemies I have made." It's needful for self-knowledge, and the more you know about what you're doing, the better you can do it.

Camille Minichino said...

Very good response, Kathryn.

I have one 2-star review on amazon that irks me, now I think I'll just be glad my name is out there!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...


You poor baby.

Could be worse. A friend who writes paranormal has been attacked by those who feel she's an instrument of the devil.

But I know that won't really help.

So, did you know that after Jane Eyre came out, and the public learned the author was a woman, a reviewer called it the "coarsest book" ever printed?


You're in GREAT company. Hang in there.

Kathryn Lilley said...

Thanks for the support, all! Joanna, I love it that Jane Eyre was considered coarse! I guess that was that generation's version of the term "trailer trash," Deb! We should all be trashy like Jane Eyre!