Tuesday, June 5, 2007


Next time you're thinking a book reviewer's lot must be a happy one, if ever you are so foolish as to think such a thing in the first place, bear in mind that as a reviewer one has two choices: one can either (a) say everything that crosses one's desk is just brilliant, or (b) do the job one is being paid for, call things as one sees them, and lay oneself wide open to retaliation from the wounded, angry author.

Particularly if you have a blog with an email address in the profile. Just ask me.

Memo to the negatively reviewed everywhere: in all but a tiny minority of cases, and certainly always in my case, it's not personal. It's about the work. Reject the judgement of reviewers by all means, but pause to reflect that if it were a positive judgement, you'd drink in every word and call it 'feedback'.

Also, as Helen Garner has said more than once about her own work, if you're going to stick your head up above the parapet then you have to expect to get it shot at. Or, as my mum used to say, if you can't stand the heat you should maybe stay out of the kitchen.


  1. Or, to borrow from Chopper Reed, take off your skirt, put down your purse and harden the fuck up.

    Just contributin'

  2. Not to be concerned with the quality of reviews. It's the quantity you get that's important. Last time I looked I had 17 reviews on my novel, Six Hours Past Thursday, on Amazon. 16 were great, and 1 said, in effect, that I should start all over and learn how to write.

    If you get a quantity of mediocre to great reviews, normally this will be enough to bury the bad ones.

    --Jack Payne