Have you ever written a book review?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Reviews and Critiques and Sharp Words (oh my)

Well, I just watched the Wizard of OZ, so . . .

I think the words I used for the post about Dr. Emberton's review of our Hood book were ill-chosen. Going public on this is not my modus operandi in the publishing arena. 

I still think the review is unfair, but Professor Emberton has a right to write whatever she wishes and readers will make their own decisions by reading the book--or not.

I don't know Dr. Emberton, but I hear she is a fine lady and an outstanding instructor. I am sure that is true on both counts.

I hope all of my readers had a good, happy, and safe Thanksgiving.




totalitat said...

Good job.

Unknown said...

If this was intended to be an apology, it failed in an epic manner. Thanks for confirming my suspicion that you are an ass. As long as you are associated with SB Publishing, I won't be buying anymore books.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

I think you expressed your regret in a professional manner. Some of the stone throwers forget they live in glass houses.

TPS said...

Robert--I am sorry you feel that way. I wish you and yours only the best.


Sam Hood said...

What a learning experience this has been for me as a neophyte author.

It is apparently traditional for an author not to "review a review" of his/her own book. Although it would seem that a reviewer should be subject to the same scrutiny as the author, I can see how it might be less controversial for only third parties to opine, whether in agreement or disagreement with the review. In the future I will endeavor to say nothing, or at most simply thank the reviewer, or reserve comments for additional facts, not an opinion of the review.

But I have learned even more. I see how a tempest can be created (in this case by me) and the damage that can be done.

It also distresses me to see how apologies are rejected. In the absence of the ability to turn back time, what more can someone do?

Equally distressing is to witness how the initial subject can be lost in the firestorm. The subject now seems to be the character of the publisher, not the quality and integrity of the book review itself.

I will hereby repeat my apology for making the initial posting which created the mayhem. I accused the reviewer of not reading or disregarding the theme of my book, when I had only compelling (to me) evidence, not proof. I shouldn't have done it.

In closing, I must make some remarks about Ted.

When I finished my initial manuscript I asked a few knowledgeable friends about seeking a publisher. All of them suggested Savas Beatie. When I contacted Ted I was immediately impressed, although the proof is in the eating of the pudding.

Ted and his staff have been honest, patient, indulgent, and endlessly helpful to me. In fact I shudder when I consider the quality of the book I was considering self-publishing versus the one that Ted and his staff created--holding my hand the entire time.

In fact I am so impressed with Ted's integrity that I am writing another book (the annotated volume of Hood's newly discovered papers) on nothing but an e-handshake from Ted. I trust the man that much.

I have no more loyal friend than Ted, who recently rode into combat to support his friend (me) and as a result he is catching more arrows than me.

I certainly look forward to the passing of this storm, but I shall always retain it as a valuable lesson, well learned.


Well said, Sam. And I also learned a similar lesson some time ago... probably best to leave the reviews alone (unless, of course, a review personally insults you or makes some outlandish claim that no one would allow to go unanswered). I understand the emotions behind it all. What are considered 'unfair' reviews are hard to simply tolerate, but once you engage it is easy for it to get out of hand.

What you have said about Ted is very true. I will also add that the tone unfortunately turned for many as an indictment of Ted personally for several reasons... first, the critics simply don't know Ted personally; second, they are likely jealous of him; and third, I noted that several criticisms turned toward Ted's personal politics (gee, wasn't that strange?)... obviously those who don't agree with Ted politically were the loudest. They would rather he just "shut up!" and you seem to hear that a lot lately on one side of the political spectrum. Publishing and your book have nothing to do with politics, but unfortunately some folks (bloggers, commenters, etc) deftly and cleverly inserted politics into the discussion to further divert attention from the real topic - your book - and give them something to really scream and stomp their feet about. I would also ask the bloggers and commenters if they have EVER said anything that perhaps went a bit farther than they intended, or which they would like to take back... I'm reminded of the old adage about throwing stones in glass houses.

In the end, it's a lesson learned and your skin is probably thicker now. Just keep doing good work and learn from the constructive criticism. You only need concern yourself with those who make reasoned criticisms of your work and efforts - the rest just add nothing to the discussion and usually only enjoy hearing themselves talk.

Ted Savas and his team are the best. Some will look for any excuse to criticize and they are unfortunately very slow to forgive if at all. Life is too short to be so mean. You can't do any better than being partnered with Ted and SB, and as you've seen they produce the best books in the business. I thank God every day for my luck and blessings.

J. David Petruzzi
(author of 5 Savas-Beatie books and a hell of a lot more to come before I leave this world)

Sam Hood said...

Thanks Mr. Petruzzi, and well said.

I can't disagree with a thing you say, and I have indeed learned much during this hubbub. I will say that it is quite frustrating to write a book, and then have people make strong and specific comments about it who openly admit that they haven't read it.

It is also distressing to have a credentialed reviewer seemingly miss what my book is about. It's like writing a book on Gettysburg and having a reviewer slam it as a poor book on Reconstruction.

Regarding the bloggers you mention, there are some that I absolutely refuse to even visit, and when I hear of something happening on those sites, I try to ignore it. I honestly believe that some bloggers exist only to provoke, then escalate, and then, like a pyromaniac watching the building burn and the firefighters working to save life and property, sit back and enjoy the chaos.

In the recent matter concerning Ted, I told him that those on the other side of the political aisle are trying to do to him what they did to Paula Deen. Like a million persistent ants taking down an elephant, they were trying to kill Ted with a million stings.

Ted has apologized (although rejected by the ants) and moved on. Good for him.

All best,

Sam Hood

J David Petruzzi said...

Ted has moved on, as all with logic and common sense would do.

As for the bloggers/commentors who seem to have more time on their hands than civility, forget 'em. Same with the folks who haven't read your book, yet think so much of themselves that they feel qualified to comment on it.

Just keep producing good work that speaks for itself. In the end, that's all that matters, and is truly what folks will remember.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Raines,

It will be your loss. No publisher does history better than Savas-Beatie. NONE!

I have acquired some 1700 Civil War books in my library, much to my wife's chagrin, and I can't count how many times I have recommended SB titles to other CW bibliophiles. And I will continue to do so as long as Ted is associated with the company and as long as the stable is filled with such thoroughbreds as Wittenberg, Petruzzi, Mingus, Morgan, Hood, Professor Smith, and others I'm forgetting to mention.

When I buy a book, I first check the acknowledgements, photos, bibliography, and maps. It must pass intense initial scrutiny to end up on my shelves. Not the case with SB titles. I buy them without looking inside. They are that good and have earned that respect.

Mike Peters

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

By the way Ted, you might be interested in Kevin's latest. It seems he has not problem with the delete button when it suits him: