Friday, July 17, 2009

Wow, I've Been Busy... and Torque Control

Yikes. I've gone about a week without posting. I haven't done that in a long time. Strange to think, really, as this blog thing is such a feature of my life these days. But... I got back from Readercon and then went straight into preparing for the Stonecoast MFA residency. That's where I'm writing from now, and I'm still dead tired. So this will be brief. Really, I just wanted to say hello. So...

Hello.

Other than that... an awesome, detailed and insightful review of Acacia: The War with the Mein recently appeared from Torque Control.

If you need convincing that the book is worth a read please take a look. Or do the same if you're gearing up for The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2) but could use a reminder of what the first volume was all about please check it out.

It's HERE.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Steven Till said...

David, since you're a well-known established author now, how do you deal with negative reviews differently than you did when you first starting writing?

For one, I enjoyed Acacia -- as you know -- but I was over at Amazon just now reading reviews (both positive and negative) and was wondering how you deal with both praise and criticism at this point in your career.

11:12 AM  
Blogger Incubus Jax said...

He drinks a higher quality beer now after reading them.

:)

2:45 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Steven,

Ah... It could take a long time to answer this question fully. It's got a lot of arms and legs, and just thinking about it at all I see them all waving and kicking for my attention. But I'm not up for the whole treatise right now, so I'll answer with brevity.

What I believe:

That the people that like your work are far more important than the ones that don't. It's them your writing for.

That there are lots of reasons people respond negatively to a book, and only some of them have anything to do with the quality of the book itself.

That the more people there are that read a book the more you'll come across people that hate it. (And that reality is a good thing.)

Things that are also unfortunately true - for me at least:

Praise is like a drink of water. It's absolutely life sustaining, but it's also largely forgotten the moment after you've swallowed.

Negativity is something fouler, and the aftertaste of it lingers much longer.

How do I deal differently now with bad reviews than earlier in my career?

I now have much more control over whether or not I read them. If someone one stars me on Amazon and titles their review GODAWFUL CRAP THAT TOTALLY SUCKS I can now chuckle and... stop reading. I can stop reading. It's like the difference between drinking the entire cup of yuck as compared to taking a sip and saying, "Eh, no thanks". And then I go get a glass of water, to wash the bad taste out of my mouth.

One other thing:

I don't consider one starred rants on Amazon to be "criticism". Criticism is what my wife gives me as my first reader, the questions she asks and the problems she points out that help me make the book in question better. Criticism is what I get from my editor as he does the same. Criticism is what the handful of earlier readers offer as they push me to be better.

Rants on Amazon are... rants on Amazon. I do find them frustrating in that they often say things I find misleading and/or untrue, but so be it. The people that sing my praises might do the same with a positive slant. So there's good and bad in all of it.

Geez, and that's my brief answer!

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Steven Till said...

Thanks, David. I thought your brief answer was great. I've handed you my glass of water for the day :)

Your paragraph on criticism is especially true: "I don't consider one starred rants on Amazon to be "criticism". Criticism is what my wife gives me as my first reader, the questions she asks and the problems she points out that help me make the book in question better. Criticism is what I get from my editor as he does the same. Criticism is what the handful of earlier readers offer as they push me to be better. "

I completely agree. Criticism should be constructive, something that challenges us and pushes us to make us better writers. Well said.

9:58 AM  

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