Self-published authors are often crucified for defending his or her work against negative Internet book reviewers on sites such as Amazon and Goodreads, but I think, under certain circumstances, that there is nothing wrong with an author—no matter how published—to stand up to negative reviewers and critics.
I have done it. In fact, it may be the duty of an author to defend his or her work against negative reviews that may only represent a few opinions but not all.
I’ll explain how I think this should be done in part 2 and 3 from this series of posts.
For example, Bill Styron “defended (his work as an author) vigorously and ridiculed the attacks (of his critics)—they utterly failed to understand the purpose of literature. He gave not an inch.” Source: Bill Styron, The Ups and Downs by James Salter, The New York Book Review of Books, January 10, 2013, Volume LX, Number 1.
However, Bill Styron was not a self-published author. In 1968, he won the Pulitzer Prize for the Confessions of Nat Turner, in addition to other awards. Then in 1980, he won the National Book Award for Sophie’s Choice (turned into a film by Spielberg that won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award).
Yet, Styron had critics that did not like his work, and he felt “they utterly failed to understand the purpose of literature.”
Styron was not alone in how he felt about some critics/reviewers.
“I have learned not to read reviews. Period. And I hate reviewers. All of them, or at least all but two or three. Life is much simpler ignoring reviews and the nasty people who write them. Critics should find meaningful work. ” – John Grisham (as of 2008, his books had sold over 250 million copies worldwide)
“Decadence is a difficult word to use since it has become little more than a term of abuse applied by critics to anything they do not yet understand or which seem to differ from their moral concepts.” – Ernest Hemingway
“Writers are lampposts and critics are dogs. Ask lampposts what they think about dogs. Does the dog hurt the lamppost?” – Paulo Coelho (Coelho has published thirty books that have sold more than 150 million copies in over 150 countries worldwide and his work has been translated into 71 languages.)
Continued on January 21, 2013 in Part 2 of In Defense of Authors Perceived as Behaving Badly
His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.
And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.
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