Bad Reviews, Bad manners, and Netiquette
So we all get bad reviews from time to time. Sometimes it’s a good thing, we can learn from them, and it shows that people are actually reading our books. Not everybody is going to love our books. We know that, right? In fact, with my mystery writing, I sometimes like the rougher reviews because it shows that I’m pushing buttons. I like that.
What I’ve learned, though, is to consider the source when it comes to reviews. ANYBODY with a computer can write one, whether they know what they are talking about or not. So many of my reviews show that the reviewer has skipped over parts or wasn’t really reading the book—and ya gotta wonder about some of the reviewers who read like 20 books a week. Seriously. How careful of a reading can they be giving your work? It kind of pisses me off, even though I try not to spend to much energy on it. On the one hand, everybody is entitled to an opinion. On the other hand, if you are going to voice it, you should at least be thoughtful and respectful enough to give it a real reading.
Reviews aside, it seems that the digital world has provided a voice to some very ill-mannered sorts. But what ever happened to manners? Do we disregard manners because we can easily hide behind a pen name or user name? I wonder. Are manners really that difficult, even in the digital world? To me, it’s second nature to say thank you for sending me flowers or a gift as it is to say thanks for “retweeting” my tweet.
Maybe good manners don’t count anymore for some folks. But in my world, they do. Maybe folks are a bit confused about the world of digital manners. Here’s a list I came up with, not meant as an exhaustive list, but as a way to get the conversation rolling. Do you have anything to add?
- As mentioned previously, thank people on Twitter for retweets and any public interest they take in you or your books.
- Same thing for Facebook. (Even as I write this, I’m thinking “Do I really need to?”)
- When you are invited to post on a blog or to be an interview, if you decide it’s a good match and move forward with the post or interview, always help to publicize it and keep checking back through the day to see if there are comments you should reply to.
- Never respond to bad reviews. This is just not a “manner” thing it’s a professional thing. It never leads to a good place.
- If you belong to a group blog, always help publicize the other writers’ posts and book releases. The Lady Smut bloggers do this and we provide a united digital front for one another.
- Concerning emails. Even if you can’t respond to a lengthy email right away, it’s a good thing to dash off an email back saying. “Got your email and will get back with you as soon as I can.” (This is a pet peeve of mine with editors and agents, as well. Not only is it polite, but it’s safe and effective communication. We need to know they’ve gotten our emails and our submissions and so on and it’s not been caught in Spam.)
I found a few websites that off tips on netiquette. http://www.netmanners.com/
Here’s one specifically for Twitter use: http://heidicohen.com/twitter-etiquette/
And one for Facebook: http://www.pcworld.com/article/169120/facebook_etiquette.html
How about you? Anything to add?