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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So you got a bad review. Grow the f*ck up and move on!

Dear Jacqueline Howett,

Not too long ago, the publishing world was rocked when bestselling thriller author, Barry Eisler, announced that he turned down a $500,000 book deal from his publisher in order to go Indie. In other words, he decided to self-publish his upcoming thriller, The Detachment, which will be available around Father's Day. As an Indie author with one novel to his name (soon to be two), I found this news to be exciting. With Eisler's move, I had a feeling that the negative stigma that surrounds Indie authors was showing signs of eroding.

And it couldn't have come at a better time because unfortunately, the majority of readers only talk about Indie authors that publish substandard novels. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that all traditionally-published authors put out quality novels. Believe me, I've read one or two NYT Bestselling authors whose novels I couldn't even finish because they were so badly written.

Then you came along with your novel, The Greek Seaman. Truth be told, I never would've heard about your novel. That was until there was so much internet buzz on how you behaved like a complete bitch on Big Al's Books and Pals. And it was because he gave your novel a bad review.

Congratulations. Not only have you ruined your own reputation as an author and an individual, but you have singed the reputations of indie authors worldwide who have worked hard for several years, and continue to do so, in order to be accepted by readers—especially those who dismiss indie authors as amateurs who aren't good enough to get a book deal. And it hurts when I hear someone dismiss me or other indie authors as not being a real authors.

You ought to know that in this businesswhether you are traditionally published or an independantthere are readers that will either like or dislike your novels. That's life. I'll admit that I made the mistake of sending the wrong advance reading copy of my novel to reviewers. Fortunately a few of them alerted me to the problem and I was able to get them the right copy before the novel went on sale. I'm not saying that I'm the best novelist around, because I've already accepted that I'm still learning. And I know that I can and will still improve. That's what being professional is all about.

I didn't bother to comment on BigAl's Books and Pals because at this point it would be pointless. But tell me, wouldn't it have been easier to simply ask the reviewer where the problem areas were? At least you would've known whether you needed to either hire a professional editor and/or fire your old one. Wouldn't it have been easier for you to take advantage of digital publishing where you could easily upload a revised copy to Amazon or any other vendor? Believe it or not, readers still check out books that have negative reviews, and they do so by clicking the Send Sample Now that would allow them to judge the book for themselves. Don't you think that would've been preferable than going Chris Brown on the reviewer? Because as you must know by now, the worst place to have a meltdownespecially when you're wrong (which you were)is the internet.

Way to go! You've singlehandly brought more negative attention to yourself and to your novel in one hour than ten reviewers could've done in a year. You want proof? Look at the number of 1-star reviews you've received. Maybe that's what it'll take for you to know that that's it's high time that you grew the f*ck up.


Russell Brooks
Author of Pandora's Succession and Unsavory Delicacies.

PS. To prove my point on the advantages of digital publishing, I invite every reader of this blog that spots any typos or repeated words to please comment about them so that I may correct them.

Monday, March 21, 2011

"Hey mom, I got suspended for defending myself."

By now many of us would've seen the video of Casey Heynes, an Australian student, who fought back against his bully by body-slamming him on the concrete. Like most people that I spoke to and with whom I shared the video with, I did not feel sorry for his bully. I still ask myself why did it come to this level in the first place? Why did it come to the point that Heynes had to physically defend himself in order for the school to react? Why was Heynes suspended?

My martial-arts consultant wrote in his blog that:

"Bullies look for easy victims. If they wanted solid opposition, they’d pick kids who fight back, hard. But they never seem to do that and instead focus on the ones who are shy, timid and lack the self confidence to stand up for themselves."

I'd also add that school bullies take advantage of rules that punish victims for fighting back. This is a serious problem. And now with digital technology, something we didn't have when we were growing up, it's about time that schools come out of the stone age and modify their rules. Heynes got suspended. His suspension was wrong because this situation should've been judged on a case-by-case basis. And according to Heynes, he's not new to being a victim. In fact, this had gone on for years. Who wouldn't have expected him to either snap or commit suicide. I'm sure that I speak for everyone that we're happy that he snapped instead. At least he wouldn't be so unfortunate as to suffer any more additional psychological damage. Furthermore, Heynes should be satisfied knowing that he taught his bully a lesson, and has definitely inspired several people—younger and older—to stand up to bullies.

As for Heynes's bully, he'll spend several years humiliated by the fact that the whole planet saw him get his ass kicked. My advice to him would be that he get his name legally changed before he starts filling out those job applications.

Russell Brooks is the author of the International Spy/Thriller, Pandora's Succession.