The facts of a critical life.

In an embarrassing instance of “when authors go apeshit,” genre writer Candace Sams began a mostly one-sided wankstorm over a few negative reviews of one of her books. Within hours, it had hit Twitter and even romance blogging site Dear Author, with people basically pulling up lawn chairs and popping popcorn to watch this woman dig herself deeper and deeper into a hole of thick-headed insanity.

Good God, y’all.

Criticism is tough to take. There’s no doubt about that. And lord knows, a book is like your child, so seeing someone say the time you spent birthing and raising it wasn’t well-spent probably hurts like a bitch. But you know what? You bite your tongue or you go curse a blue streak with your door shut. You do not let people see you sweat. As someone who both dishes it out and takes it, I feel pretty qualified to say that.

Think every “Miss” I’ve written for our Critical Mass page in WEEKLY. Imagine all those scathing Soapbox columns. Never once has something I’ve written kick-started a furious personal back-and-forth with the powers-that-be. There’s a tacit, professional understanding that this is how it works: You take the good, you take the bad. It’s just the nature of the industry, especially when it comes to arts criticism.

And, as I said, I dish it out but I take it, too. I’m a Google fiend and a message board junkie. You think I haven’t read less than complimentary things about myself? Some of it borders on the ludicrous, because it’s so far off the mark about who I am as a person and what I believe! 

And you can’t let any of it get to you. Especially not in a public forum like the comments of an Amazon review. People may have picked up Sams’ book before, not really knowing who she is or what she’s about. Now? With all this really unflattering light she’s shining on herself, she’s become a spectacle and, in doing so, she’s made her book secondary to herself and irrelevant.

And that’s just sad…to put all this time and effort into birthing and raising a book, only to have it become overshadowed by its momma.


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