For the luvva gawd, stop reading reviews

[Side note- some of you may notice I’m blogging more. If you’re mostly an ISBW podcast listener, my language may surprise you. I have a clean podcast because I am all too aware of the value of having something you can listen to in your car when your kids are with you, but in my fiction and nonfiction writing I do enjoy the colorful metaphors and descriptions.]

If you are one of those people who enjoy reading about yourself, no matter what people say, then go ahead. Read the reviews as if someone isn’t talking about your work, and, like many reviewers do, make assumptions based on your personality as a direct result of what you write. You don’t even need to continue reading. Just go off and feel pleased about yourself and the confidence you’ve built as an adult. Well done!

OK, now for the 95% rest of the population – don’t do it. Seriously. Nothing good comes of reading reviews. You’re going to read them and if they like the whole thing but think the romance part is weak (unless you’re writing romance, which makes it a bigger deal) then you’re probably going to be like AUGH THEY HATED MY ROMANCE MY LIFE IS OVER.*

Some people may not “get” your writing. They don’t see what you’re trying to achieve, or your subtle phrasing and hooks went over their head. That’s a definite possibility. However, the moment you say that people don’t understand your work, you dive headfirst into Sensitive Artist pool and sound like a pretentious asshole. It’s also possible that they didn’t “get” it because you didn’t do a good job of presenting it. Horrors, I know.


Nobody understands me because I am so deep.

Online, there are two things you never want to ask anyone, because there is no good answer.

  1. Why did you unfollow me on [social network]?**
  2. How could you write such a bad review of my work, my baby, my livelihood?

Seriously, nothing good comes out of this. The weird thing about becoming a public persona — whether for what you do, what you create, or being famous for being famous — is that when one person tells you their opinion of their work, you can bet cash moneys that there are many others out there who aren’t speaking up who think the same thing. This works both ways, good opinions and bad. So there are more out there that think the same as that horrible reviewer, but aren’t saying anything (possibly because they’re afraid of scary crazy author person chasing them down). So even if you did stop that one reviewer – which you won’t – it doesn’t stop opinions.

Also, reviews aren’t for you. They’re for the reader. Reviewers tell other readers what they think of a book, and whether you should pick it up or dear gawd don’t waste your money and time. These are valid warnings. If a reviewer for the Crusty Literary Readers Guild or The Stories Should Be About White Dudes Club doesn’t like my book about a woman writing travel guides for monsters, then they should probably warn other readers like them not to pick it up. Perfectly valid.

I really can’t think of any instance where an author complained about a review and it turned out OK for them. There was Anne Rice’s meltdown eleven years ago, and she is still campaigning against people who have opinions online. (I won’t link to the site where she does this because they cry about bullies but then go after “SJWs” – a huge red flag for me since it’s a term almost exclusively used by bigots associated with groups like Gamergate and Rabid Puppies) Laurel K Hamilton freaked out on her own blog. And now we have another one, a man posting an incomprehensible rant against a reviewer, comparing her to a child abductor. His comments have since been removed, but archives and an article about the incident are here.

That article makes a good point- the author is always the one who looks bad in this. ALWAYS. I don’t care if they said you were a poopyface that eats vomit and kicks baby birds. The moment you go “NUH UH, STOP BEING MEAN” you look like the jerk. People are going to wonder why you are spending so much time messing with this review. You’re a writer, why are you rampaging online instead of writing more?

I use goodreads, but as a reader. I like to keep track of my books. I don’t even write reviews anymore, unless I’m strongly driven (Station Eleven) to or it’s a medium in which I’m not currently writing (i wrote a review of the horror manga Uzumaki because it was amazing except for one aspect I needed to comment on). I’m technically on it as an author, but I never look at my reviews. There is zero point to it, unless I want to have a really good reason to drink that night.

You can go Jay and Silent Bob if you like, and take all the money you have and use it to track down everyone on the Internet who ever said anything bad about you and then punch them, but there are better uses for money, and that won’t stop MORE people from calling you an idiot for making that use of your time and money.


Satisfying, maybe. Illegal and impossible, definitely.

Look out the window right now, at the wide world. Perhaps the sun is shining. Perhaps the moon is up. Perhaps birds are singing or hopping around a feeder or bath. Maybe a cat is sitting on a fence, licking her paw. Maybe a neighbor or coworker wanders by and waves. You know, logically, that apart from the lovely view out your window, there are also likely rotting dead animals in the woods, and worms and beetles teem under the rocks in your garden, and copperheads lurk in the grass, ready to bite your dogs in the face***, and that person likely has skeletons in their closet they pray no one will ever find.

Internet comments, and some reviews, are the under-the-rock, rotting animal, secret-keeping neighbor that we all know are there, but to see them we have to hunt for them. So the question is, do you enjoy the view from your window, or do you purposefully go look under a rock just to get grossed out?

(and don’t tell me that you go under the rocks to remove the pests from your garden. You’ll end up killing some earthworms if you do that, which damages your garden. And the earthworms are your loyal readers who just lost respect for you because you threw a great big noisy fuss online. Metaphors. BOOM.)

I’ve gotten bad reviews. When I first got nominated for the Campbell, I had a very weird super-backhanded compliment given to me on a blog. But I learned in fifth fucking grade that ignorance is bliss – I was much happier before someone intercepted a note and showed me a line completely unflattering about me. Because what can you do about it? (Note- the answer is NOT go-apeshit-on-the-Internet.) Remember the Bonnie Raitt song “I can’t make you love me?” Well, you can’t make people love your work. And if you throw a fit online, you’re actively making them love you less. Not your work: you.

So you run across a bad review, or someone “helpfully” tells you about it. What can you do? You can get back to fucking work. That’s pretty much my answer for everything these days. Mad at something? Write. Trolls trolling online? Write. Grackles overtaking the birdfeeder? Write.

Do something that only you can control, and remember that they have no power over you but what you give them.

power


*Yeah, this was my Publishers Weekly review. 99% positive, a comment that the romance was weak, and I was devastated. Illogical, I know.
**I’ve stopped answering when people ask me this. No one has ever liked any of the reasons I told them.
***Happened last summer. That was a fun night. If you go on a long trip in the summer, remember to pay someone to mow your grass.

Coming in August: Escape Artists’ MOTHERSHIP

This was announced via podcast recently, but I haven’t mentioned anything. Come this fall* I will be launching a new ezine with Escape Artists called MOTHERSHIP, a magazine that will encompass fiction, nonfiction, and some of my favorite stories from the Escape Artists podcasts. We’ll have columns and reviews and short fiction and a bit of long fiction. We are still early in the game here (no logo, no submission call yet), but I wanted to announce because I am really excited!

* Of course, this won’t happen if Escape Artists doesn’t make its Kickstarter goals. So watch for our campaign in March, and contribute if you can!

Hugo Eligibility Post

It’s nomination time for the 2015 Hugo Awards, given out this August at Sasquan, the World Science Fiction convention in Spokane, WA, and I thought I would make a list of the things I’m eligible for. Cause if I don’t tell you, you might not know.

Nominations close on March 10, 2015.

If you were a voting member of the 2014, 2015, or 2016 Worldcons you’re eligible to nominate (You have to get your 2015 membership before Jan 31 this year.)

And hey, if you don’t plan on going, you can still support the con, vote in the Hugos, and get lots of awesome ebooks for a supporting membership of $40. All the information regarding getting a membership and nominating for the Hugos can be found here. 

  • Best Fancast
    I Should Be Writing — I’ve been doing this show for 9.5 years. I’m fairly sure it’s the longest running writing show in podcasting. I’ve featured authors such as NK Jemisin, Lev Grossman, Lauren Beukes, Neil Gaiman, Connie Willis, China Mieville, Seanan McGuire, and lots more. It a love letter to SF from the struggling writer’s POV.
  • Best Short Story
    I had three* stories out last year:

    *I very much hope I remembered them all. I’m bad about keeping track…

  • Best Novel
    Ghost Train to New Orleans from Orbit Books — Zoe Norris writes travel guides for the undead. And she’s good at it too — her new-found ability to talk to cities seems to help. After the success of The Shambling Guide to New York City, Zoe and her team are sent to New Orleans to write the sequel. Listen to the book for FREE via podcast.

Ghost Train to New Orleans Episode 12

Ghost Train to New OrleansThe podcast is back! Episode 12 of Ghost Train to New Orleans, is here via FREE podcast! And tomorrow there will be another episode to make up for the hiatus!

You can subscribe to this podcast with this feed:  http://www.murverse.com/tag/GTNOLA/feed

If you’re enjoying the story, consider supporting me by purchasing the book either in book stores, in online retail stores, ebook stores, or via Audible.com. If you purchase the book, then it will increase the chances for a book 3!

This will only be live until 31 July, 2015. Subscribe now!


The book: Chapel Hill Comics (signed!) ~ B&N ~Powell’s ~ Amazon (aff. link) ~ Indiebound ~ Waterstones
The audiobook! Ambling Books ~ Audible

Don’t have book 1, The Shambling Guide to New York City yet?
The book: B&N ~ Indie ~ Waterstones Chapel Hill Comics (signed!) ~ Powell’s ~ Amazon (aff. link)
The audiobook: (Ambling) (Audible)

Brief note re: audio files, this site, etc

I am currently feeling the lack of laptop for the first time. I knew it would come. But the fact is, I’m about to head out on a research/vacation trip. Like in 10 min. And I have audio recorded for you, but not edited and uploaded. 2 episodes of Ghost Train, ISBW, Ditch Diggers, it’s all there. Just on my hard drive. Which now lives on my desktop. And since I can’t take it with me, it will stay on my hard drive till I can edit and upload.

I’ll be home Thursday and hopefully can get some stuff uploaded then, provided I’m not wrecked from the red-eye.

The good news is my trip coincides with a self-pub project I have going this year, involving a travel guide.

Happy October!

Greetings, folks, and welcome to one of my favorite months. Please, make yourself comfortable and try not to drown in the pumpkin spice. (I think I tipped my husband’s tolerance scales when I bought pumpkin spice hot chocolate, doughnuts, and coffee syrup. I CARE NOT. BRING ON THE PUMPKINS)

But I wanted to do some housekeeping news:

  • My hard drive on my Mac is failing, and we’re getting that fixed. While I can still write/email/blog/etc (basically do anything Google lets me do via Chrome) on my Chromebook, this means audio and video editing is right out. No ISBW till next week at the earliest.
  • I’m heading out of town on business tomorrow, so emails may be long to respond to. I’m not going out of the country or anything so I will have all my electronic tethers, I’m just going to be really busy.
  • There’s an interview with me at the Genretainment podcast!
  • Did you see that Ghost Train to New Orleans is out via FREE podcast? It is! It’s out in podcast! Download now, then buy the book! Keep me flush in tea and glitter!
  • Aeropagitica re-read. It’s long and dense, as I expected. Censorship is bad, mmkay?
  • I’m on Ello now as mightymur – holding back from posting a lot. I’m not thrilled with the lack of a block button, so I’m waiting to see if it’s worth it.

GUEST POST: Lessons Learned by Bill Rockwell

I have published three novels thus far, and I have learned much along the way, especially from the mistakes I made.  Hopefully, I didn’t make the same mistakes in my latest novel, Heaven’s Conflict, The Rise and Fall of Angels, A Novel, published October 1, 2014.  The title of my first novel, Generation Z, Birth of the Zompire, which is a vampire love story, is simply too long.  As readers try to find me on Amazon or elsewhere, my novel doesn’t come up until they type the last letter in Zompire.  So, it’s hard to find.  I could have made the second phrase a subtitle, but, even better than this, I should have titled it simply: “Zompire.”  Shorter would have been better.

Continue reading

ISBW LonCon meetup – UPDATE

Hey folks- I have been having a lovely time in London and Dublin and am about ready to get back to the sorta real world with LonCon!

FIRST- the time has changed from Friday at 11 to Friday at 10am. I had a meeting pop up at 11, apologies. I still don’t know the convention area, so I’m winging it.

SECOND- Someone has asked, How is this different from your literary beer? Well, I’m doing it for a couple of reasons: I don’t have a reading, so I’m trying to get more time with readers/listeners who want it. Also, this is specifically for ISBW listeners, I’ll be talking about the show and various writing topics, not so much my books themselves or Escape Pod or any other projects. And it’s in the morning, so there will be not as much alcohol as the literary beer.

On Twitter I’m @mightymur which is where I will be posting my updates for the con. Looking forward to seeing folks!

Help Fund My Robot Army! is live!

I was invited to participate in the anthology Help Fund My Robot Army! – stories based on a Kickstarter-like format. I’m pleased to say the book came out yesterday via ebook.

See more about it – including purchasing options and table of contents – at the book website.HELP-FUND-MY-ROBOT-ARMY_300px