Friday, February 20, 2009

Internetiquette Part Two


by Danielle Jackson

So before I begin, I just want to say I have recently become OBSESSED with American ad artist JC Leyendecker. He’s often called “America’s Other Artist,” because he did many of the covers for the Saturday Evening Post, of which most associate with Normal Rockwell. Anyway, expect to see his art popping up in my posts for a bit.

Now on with the post:


A HUMONGOUS part of posting things to the internet included comments—whether it’s in a blog’s designate comment section, through a forum, a chatroom or in an email, comments is the most direct way that you, the authors, interact with us, the readers. Any guest blogs end with open ended questions for this purpose, and it is important to check back in on the guest blogs, to see what readers are saying, if they’ve asked any questions, and really, it’s a courteous and polite way to create relationships around the book blogging/reviewing community.


However, what do you do when someone posts a negative review? Or even posts a mostly positive review, but points out some negative things? It’s important to remember that just because I send them a book, that doesn’t guarantee that a positive review is going to follow—the beauty (and sometimes burden) of reviewers is that they are being asked for their opinion, and they are all eager to give it! You all know I don’t send you the bad reviews when I find them (Very rarely do reviewers actually send me a negative review directly), but I know you’re all quite clever and have found them on your own. And as for those positive but sort of pointed out the negative posts? A thank you will do just fine!


My advice is when you feel yourself getting defensive or that you need to overly explain a reaction, you shouldn’t post anything. Someone else’s blog or website isn’t the place to pick a bone about a negative review, and really, it’s better to avoid a potential conflict that could get blown out of proportion and spawn a negative comment chain. Remember, when you post something on the internet: IT NEVER GOES AWAY. Like I always say, THINK ABOUT what you are posting before you do it. Yes, often times you can hit delete, but I wouldn’t take any chances! And you never know who is reading/watching (aka ME)…


Now, I know I haven’t given you step-by-step instructions about commenting, but I think you guys should get the idea. This doesn’t mean question ever comma or stop posting all together. With the heavy onset of the Spring Season in our midst, think of this as a refresher about how to act. When you guest blog, you’re putting on your very pretty, very witty author outfits—and I read most of them—you look/sound nice, ACT LIKE IT. Respond nicely, be funny, and HAVE FUN! When you see your guest blog, think of it like making a grand entrance down a gorgeous staircase-everyone is waiting for you to arrive, now make it worth their while.


(I'll be in a meeting all day today, so when we get a break, I'll be sure to come back and see you all!)

15 comments:

  1. I love this post, wish quite a few authors would take this on board, and reviewers can learn a few things from this as well.

    Let's all see what spring brings.

    E.H>

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  2. I love Leyendecker too! His paintings have such a sumptuous, sensual quality. Don't you feel like you could run you hand up that gleaming, satiny balustrade?

    As for the netetiquette--thank you for shielding us from snarky reviewers. I don't need the pain, but even more, I don't need to hear their siren song that would lure me into gettin closer to them.
    I'm a wordsmith--the temptation to respond with a few witty slashes of my own is HUGE. But I hear you and I know you're right.

    In the course of teaching metaphysics, I've told my students for years that words have creative power. The negative energy we cloak in words and send out WILL come back--and bring all its friends.

    I never imagined that one day something called the internet would prove me right.

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  3. Danielle~

    Love Leyendecker. you have great taste!

    Thanks for the words of wisdom. It's a great reminder since I'm gearing up for my next release.

    Robin :)

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  4. Cast my vote for Leyendecker, too!

    Something commenters need to remember, as well, is that they are visiting in someone else's "home" when they visit a blog. Be a polite guest and remember the adage, "If you can't say something nice, shut up." Well...that's not exactly it, but you get my drift. Granted, that doesn't necessarily apply to reviewers. They're entitled to their opinions. As are you, me, that lurker over there in the virtual corner. IMO, if you want to be negative, do it in your own space. Don't take it to someone else's.

    Great topic, Danielle, and something all of us need to remember!

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  5. Ah, Danielle, a topic near and dear to my heart (read: long comment.)

    When I did the 2 Gather.com contests, the entries were posted so people COULD comment. And having the only Romance in the top 20 finalists of all genres of fiction--not to mention 2,676 entries, 2,656 of whom didn't have their mss chosen--there were some "interesting" comments on mine.

    First, it (Beauty and The Best) was told in 1st person, present tense which put a lot of people off. Toss in the fact that it was a romance (and so many people don't count Romance as a "real" genre - don't get me started on the fact that it's a billion dollar industry ANNUALLY!), the fact that Gather for some reason announced my name twice on an early list of finalists that had somehow gotten leaked, AND the fact that I'd just been through the American Title contest where teasers from my story (not excerpts - I got eliminated before that round) were posted in RT Magazine, and people not only attacked the story, but also me personally.

    Then In Over Her Head was one of the Top 5 finalists in the next version of that contest: First Chapters Romance, and people didn't like my talking fish story. Or felt that a merman wasn't human, so shouldn't be allowed in the contest. The comments ran the gamut.

    Trust me, I learned what to say. And I did respond. My words were, "Thank you for stopping by. I'm sorry it didn't work for you." I found people were much more likely to take another look at the piece if they got a non-confrontational response from the author, but, more importantly, that they got a response at all. Even a simple "Thank you for taking a look" was worth more than saying nothing.

    It's the acknowledgment that their time was worth something and that their opinion was valid. No, we aren't going to agree with everyone's opinion and, no, every opinion is not going to make us happy. But just as we have the right to write our stories, they have the right to like it or not.

    So if someone reviews it and doesn't like it, you will probably see me drop a comment that says, "Thanks for taking a look." Because I am glad they looked and hope that by being professional and acknowledging their right to an opinion they might give my next story a chance. Or at least they won't say, "oh, so-and-so thinks XYZ."

    I have had people change their minds and become online friends from their initial not-so-flattering comments. The point was to not take them personally; those people didn't know me, they were responding to the story. It's been fun to see those same folks friending me on other social sites and even commenting and emailing me. And some have actually started reading romance. We'll see what they have to say when the book comes out.

    But, yes, the one thing I kept saying to everyone during those online contests when some of the comments would be so out-of-hand was that, "Hey, the internet is forever. Whether or not you delete something, it can remain in someone's server or someone could have copied it before you deleted it," so it is something that has to be considered when posting. Rarely do I post w/o rereading something before hitting send. (Read this one twice! LOL)

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  6. I think of that old saying "if you can't say anything nice, say nothing at all".

    I find some negative reviews amusing because many times they're slamming things in a book that other reviewers have loved. And you can't please everyone anyway.

    You have to consider the positive and forget the negative.

    Linda

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  7. Hi EH--

    I'm glad to see one of my new reviewers here :) Thanks for stopping by and letting us know that you appreciate when authors interact! I hope reviewers will also remember to be courteous and polite, even when they have a negative reviews.

    Danielle

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  8. MM-

    I took a creative writing class in college and one of my professors used a Leyendecker image for a writing exercise. Even though everyone's stories were different, we all had one constant--it took place in a high society situation. I've been intrigued ever since, and when I was looking for an image for this post, I thought Leyendecker would be perfection!

    As you know, things have change quite a bit since we promoted SEALed With a Kiss last Spring, so the rules and tips are evolving. This includes how we now approach reviewers on all levels, and I'm happy to know that you're aware of what positive and negative energy (even on the internet) can translate into!

    Danielle

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  9. Robin--

    He's one of the greatest! And I think he's very under the radar, no? I hope that changes!

    May is just around the corner! Get excited :)

    Danielle

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  10. Hi Silver!

    You are SO RIGHT! I've never thought of a blog or website as someone else's home, but that is a GREAT way to put it in perspective. Let's face it, you have a right to kick someone out of your house when they are acting unruly or disrespectful. It's tough to stomach some reviewers who thrive and have their followings because of snarky comments and outright mean judgments, but it is their constitutional right to speak their minds. Thanks for stopping by!

    Danielle

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  11. Judi-

    I like your approach of thanking people for taking a look. It shows that you fully understand that not everyone is going to sing high praises of your book, which is a very important aspect to remember when you start publicizing and promoting a book. I think your story is a great example of just how expansive the internet really is, and the types of situations people might find themselves in.

    And OMG--whenever someone asks me what I do, the first response is "Seriously?" and there's usually a laugh or shifty look away and I am very quick to remind them "1 in 4 books sold in America is a mass market romance novel. It's a multi- billion dollar industry." That usually shuts them up real quick ;)

    Danielle

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  12. Linda-

    Great advice--words of WISDOM :)

    It's so funny how one thing might be loved by this reviewer, but then hated by that one... But that's part of the promotion process, I guess, finding the people who do like it!

    Danielle

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  13. Hi Danielle! I don't know what you're talking about, you know. I've NEVER sniffed around on google to suss out bad reviews. Well, okay, maybe a time or, uh...twenty. I take the occasional lousy one easier than I used to, maybe because there are some things you sort of settle into dealing with. I vent to my husband or my mom, and then I let it go. Actually, learning to let some things roll off my back has been one of the unexpected lessons of being published. I don't know why it was unexpected...oh yeah, it's probably because of my previous "I shall immediately become Nora Roberts" delusion, LOL. No worries, Danielle, I usually just stick my tongue out at the screen and carry on:-) But "the internet is FOREVER" is definitely something I keep in mind at all times!

    Love the picture, btw. He's new to me!

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  14. Hey Kendra--

    It's good to hear that you are taking the less than perfect reviews in stride. Sticking your tongue out at the computer screen is a perfect remedy!

    Definitely do a google image search on Leyendecker. He's GREAT!

    Danielle

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  15. Danielle you're a hoot. Nearly spilled my drink when I read that about about who might be watching.

    Linda is right about not pleasing everyone. I have my own personal tastes and if my bias (negatively) affects a review, I let readers know. Something I rate 2 Stars could be another's 4.5 Stars. Sometimes I even offer two ratings: the bias rating and the rating I think those who love whatever I didn't might rate the novel.

    It is as hard to judge writing as it is to judge art. Both are very personal and can't be defined by (overly specific) creative rules or parameters. I kind of think of writing/art as related to cooking - there's your flops (anything burnt to a crisp and leaves a bad taste in your mouth), your medium successes (anything edible), and your true successes (the kind everybody wants the recipe for).

    As a reviewer I don't claim to be the end all be all authority on any given book. I just share my thoughts and talk up (occasionally talk down) the book. I might love one book by an author and hate the next. But as I said, it all comes right back to personal bias. It's hard to escape that.

    The bias is why I have open submission on book reviews for the blog, so that readers who love a certain subgenre or character type or plot trope can submit their opinions and share their favorites/not-so favorites.


    Keira from LoveRomancePassion.com

    (sniff I can't sign in properly as my wordpress I host myself.)

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