One-star reviews

The inimitable John Scalzi has issued forth a challenge to all us writers: post your one-star Amazon reviews. Go on. Own the hate.

Other authors have already begun to do so. After all, if you can't take the heat, pull a J.D. Salinger and hide in the mountains for forty years. Or something like that. The rest of us live and work in a world with fans, and you're not always going to please them.

I hadn't checked my Amazon pages for some time, which is funny considering how obsessed I was with them when my first book came out. Oh, I checked my rankings constantly. I obsessed over every rating. I didn't realize then that my book's "ranking" was a largely meaningless number determined by random sales occurring all over the world. But when I reached Number 17,000 on the overall site, I was (for about a half hour) technically outselling Brian Keene!

And I made the mistake of blogging same in my personal journal. Somehow he found this and congratulated me. Said we should raise a beer in celebration. That's because Keene is a classy guy who wouldn't puncture my new-author euphoria with, "You know, Amazon rankings are totally meaningless." And I followed through - when I next saw him at his release party for THE CONQUEROR WORMS, I brought him a chilled Schlafly microbrew I'd carried all the way from St. Louis.

Now I see my first book, SETTING SUNS, ranks at 1.3 million (ah, how the less-than-mighty have stumbled) and has eight reviews, all five stars save one four-star. The vampire book, NOCTURNE, is in the 600,000s and has six reviews - all five stars.

Hell, the smut antho is selling "best," ranked at 544,000, but has no reviews yet.

So, um, I have no one-star reviews to post?

Now I'm paranoid, because some out there will see this as a challenge: go slam Elizabeth's books! Such things are not funny. Repeat: NOT FUNNY. And yet, I'm surprised no one's jumped on me about the typos in the first edition of SETTING SUNS, or the three-way sex scene in the latter half of NOCTURNE... Or maybe my readers didn't mind the latter and never noticed the former.

At any rate, as Scalzi says, it's better to embrace the ones who fail to love you - turn the other cheek, so to speak - than to go crazy and harass them or tell them they're just not smart enough to comprehend the wonder of your work, as certain authors have done, not that I'm naming any particular vampire author from New Orleans.

At any rate, it's nice to be loved by my small yet loyal band o' fans. Maybe if/when I hit the level of readership that Scalzi, Elizabeth Bear, Sarah Monette and others have reached, then I'll be big enough to hate. One can dream!

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