Beached Wail

It is that insecure first Wednesday. All in all life is good since I am alive and in France. As for the writing – well, I wish I could claim great success. These days it is very important for me to try to remember that I have been at this game since my teens. Sadly that is about 35 years. I also try to remember that the “writer” is someone other than my whole being. In here there is a woman who goes to work, talks to neighbours, shares lives with children and grandchildren etc etc. Once again I find myself  hammered by remarkably spiteful critics – all of whom arise from free book days. I do pose the question to myself that if I am that bad, would I be worth attacking with such vehemence? It  is all very much of a puzzlement to me. Why are there no readers who just kinda find a book OK, not bad, quite entertaining, undemanding but not life changing? If a free book is so bad that you can only face a few pages, why would you spend half an hour pounding it when it has not cost you anything and, by your own admission, you have not read it?


This problem of the free book critical wave appears to strike many writers. Dotting around the forums I find writers who were doing well until they went free but now have had to pull their books, change their names and titles. So far I still have more likes than not but it is something I am watching carefully. The real problem is that I do not think anyone involved in publishing knows where to go. I often feel like a complete innocent longing for those simple days when I typed out stories for magazines, sent them off and sold about one in five. At least dealing with editors meant that they made sense and knew their readers tastes. If they did not like the story they did not buy it. They did not waste time telling you how bad you were.  The internet and celebrity mags largely killed the print market for stories. The affairs of the stars trumped any invention of the old story hacks. 


And finally about reviews, recently I checked out Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” on Amazon because I was going to buy a copy for a young student of history. A guy had done a puffed up (Aren’t I clever) review stating the grammar was incorrect in the translation from German and had accorded the one star of his lofty judgement. The truth is that the the translation does a brilliant interpretation of Hitler’s atrocious grammar. The guy was a murdering dictator – not a budding author likely to be grateful for a grammar lesson from the underlings who transcribed his rantings. I must be one of the only people ever to have been cheered up by Adolph Hitler.
Figures in an unwritten book



I still want to write but the writing always gets shuffled to the bottom of the pile both by the business of life and to some extent the discouragement of it all. The same story wanders about in my head but will not form. They are like strangers on a huge beach, unknown to me, always walking away with backs turned. They have a life and a story in their faces. I took a picture of them on my local beach….


Emma thinx: Relax: all the sand will run out long before the time.

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11 thoughts on “Beached Wail

  1. I'll not do the free thing again, either. Don't be discouraged, dear heart. It's almost certain that seasoned readers are well aware of the lame-brained snipers out there who get off on making authors have a bad day. Wouldn't they find it hard to reconcile all those five star raves with a one star whine? Don't waste time worrying about how it will look. Worry about crackin' on with another barn burner like that one!! Can't wait!!

  2. All writers are insecure, even the best selling authors. This is a world of “What else you got?” Write a hit, and the world demands another. As a result, all writers are under pressure to make it once, then again and again.

  3. I'll not do the free thing again, either. Don't be discouraged, dear heart. It's almost certain that seasoned readers are well aware of the lame-brained snipers out there who get off on making authors have a bad day. Wouldn't they find it hard to reconcile all those five star raves with a one star whine? Don't waste time worrying about how it will look. Worry about crackin' on with another barn burner like that one!! Can't wait!!

  4. Perhaps because the free takers are not your audience? I've had people chagrin my shorts for being short, when the first word in the description is short and says how short. And, they're free.

    I'm offering the new one for free. I think some people just give low marks. Either they work for a publisher or are jealous or something.

    I don't get posting a review when the reader admits not reading it. That's the lamest. The book sites should allow us highlighters, so you can highlight when they say that.

  5. We write because we live. We publish because we want to connect with others who live. The alternative is, continue to write, but keep it for your eyes only…please don't do that, Emma – for our sake if not yours.

  6. I have to believe that anyone capable of reading my book would also be capable of discarding someone's review that is an obvious attack as opposed to a reasoned assessment. Your work is good writing, Emma, but marketing a product is, from my business experience ten times harder that producing it. It's a slog, especially in an oversupplied market. Just keep writing as I'm waiting for your next one!

  7. I only look at one and two star reviews long enough to see if they have any intelligent to say, which they usually don't. If these “reviewers” can't come up with any specific reasons why they didn't like a book, then I just ignor them. I think readers are becoming more savvy about bad reviews. Are you on Goodreads?

  8. That image and analogy is brilliant! It feels exactly like that sometimes.

    Yup — mean people with too much time. I had a reader say she couldn't continue reading my book, and then she went on to criticize my lack of character development. Still scratching my head over how she can make that assessment when she admittedly didn't read the book.

    Ah well, you're in France! And you found a good use for Hitler!! Have a wonderful weekend, and don't give the meanies another thought – they've already moved on to slam the next author, I'm sure.

  9. Hi Emma, first time visitor and great to meet you! I have to wonder why some people even give reviews. Fortunately I haven't had any scathing reviews on Amazon, but I do get them in the comments of my blog from time to time.

  10. Emma, I'm so impressed I joined your site for more 🙂 I believe it was Huffington Post that reprinted an article about reviews and the many great classics bitterly rejected by “brilliant” critics. As a reviewer, I know how very subjective the arts are and thus pay little attention to critics. Doesn't mean it takes the sting away when you're the one receiving the darts, though.

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