December 15, 2013

Enemies for Life

Megan McArdle explains why she tries not to write bad reviews these days. I can see both points of view in the “snark vs. smarm” argument, but she’s right that mean-spirited reviews, fun as they may be to write, don’t make friends. And when you’re a writer, you need friends. That may be an unfortunate state of affairs from a certain point of view, but it is the state of affairs.

Nicholas von Hoffman reportedly once said he stopped writing book reviews because "it's not worth $250 to make an enemy for life," and it's quite true that no writer ever forgets a mean review, not ever, no matter how obscure the reviewer or venue, and even if -- especially if? -- the criticisms are well-founded. And in these days of google alerts, there's not even the faintest possibility that they won't see it.

I think there's a general perception that a writer should be a good sport about it, and that's probably true, and it's certainly a smart idea for writers to behave as though they are good sports. But they never are. Not ever. (Oh, and also, if you're an aspiring writer yourself and you've trashed someone's book on the internet, you should probably not subsequently email him asking for a blurb or to read your manuscript, or to help you find an agent or whatever.)

(via Instapundit.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at December 15, 2013 07:13 PM