I have always been an avid reader. My mother will tell you that I have always had a book in my hand, especially at the dinner table, when I was growing up.
I even do reviews on this blog, from time to time. I have stopped doing that for a couple of reasons.
Reason #1: My regular day job was lost when my company went under
It happens. I was working part-time for a college, and then the college went under. I was depressed for a while, because I had great friends and students, and I didn’t mind talking about composition and rhetoric and research for money. So it took me a while to recover from that. I am an emotional person, as much as I try to hide it or deflect it, so I am happy that it really only took me two weeks to recover from it.
Reason #2: Kids and Writing
Since my job didn’t work out (excuse the pun), I have decided to give myself two years to make a good living out of being a full-time writer. I am about 1/5 of the way there right now as far as income goes. But that is complicated by family matters and kids and not being able to write when I want as much as I want. I find right now that, even after so many years with kids (coming up on 5 years), I am still forced to choose between writing time and nap time everyday.
Reason #3: Terrible People
This one is partially on me. I am in some writer’s groups and I have had some people give “low-star review for dumb reasons” stories. I am sympathetic to their reality – seriously, look at some of my books’ reviews and you’ll see that there are some really inconsiderate people leaving reviews – so when someone is sad about it, I often want to help. I’ll offer to read their book and leave an honest review. (I am a writer, I am compassionate, but I do not suffer fools. If a book is bad, I will tell them it is bad, and I will tell them exactly why.)
And then, if it’s not a glowing 5-star review, I will get messages that are completely passive-aggressive. Recently, I sent in a copy of a review (just writing it up) for one of these sob stories and the lady changed it – SHE CHANGED MY HONEST REVIEW – so I wouldn’t give away plot details. I had another lady so upset at my review (a 4 star review) that she emailed me after she read it and begged me to take it down. She offered me money to take it down. All I did was talk about one plot point she didn’t like. If she hadn’t known how to contact me, do you think she would have been able to get that taken down? NO.
These are just some of the more terrible reviews I’ve had experience with that completely leave a terrible taste in my mouth.
***WARNING: RANT COMING …
So, isn’t that nice?
Look, I know reading requires hours of dedication. Some of these books I read are not long, while others require even me, as a speed reader, a good six or seven hours. And I do read them – even if I am not a typical reader for the genre, even if I think it’s dull and uninteresting but still decently written. I get that every writer believes their work will be “THE ONE,” especially since I am a writer myself and I have held my breath waiting for fame and acclaim that never comes quickly or sometimes ever comes period, and I believe in honoring that affection, just like I believe you should go to your friend’s baby shower even though you hate parties and you know she picked up a carrot cake just to make you even more angry.
But my time and effort and money are not going to be spent on authors who have nothing better to do than harass me with their insecurities. I have plenty of my own insecurities that do that, and my insecurities do not like sharing me.
**** RANT OVER.
That being said, I will make more of an effort to post reviews again. I have some new books, and now that I am in between books of my own, I will post reviews again. Not too many, but enough to get me searching for good stories.
Right now, I am reading a sci-fi book called “Star Wolf” and I’ve already decided I’ll probably like it. I was not harassed or guilted into buying it. So that’s worth a blog post of my time.