Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Two Authors on Readers' Feedback

By coincidence, two of the blogs in the list at the side of the page posted on the issue of how writers respond to their readers' responses to them in the past day.

Tobias Buckell discussed an e-mail he got from a reader lambasting him for his politics, and especially his writing about climate change. The letter itself is not terribly interesting; the same sort of perspective and rhetoric comprises at least a third of the phone calls to C-SPAN's Washington Journal each and every morning, and some days very much more. Nonetheless, Buckell's comments regarding the larger pattern into which it firs provides some context.

Just a little later Charles Stross took on the issue of reader reviews at sites like, and with a different purpose, discussing how writers can distinguish between more and less useful reviews - the latter including those five-star ratings some seem ready to award anything with words in it, and those one-star ratings inflicted on the writer for the wrong reasons.

Everyone wants feedback - and certainly many writers do not see nearly so much of it as they would like, or even as much as they need - but quality counts, and just as in everything else, there is an astonishing amount of dross out there, some of it stupid, some of it nasty, and some of it both.

On Heckler

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