Sunday, February 3, 2013

Letter to a Jack-Ass

Last year I wrote a very positive review on Amazon of a Kindle short I really enjoyed. Didn't think much about the review after that. But a few days ago I happened to be looking over the stuff I'd written there and came across a comment about my review:

"I find it hard to believe you or anyone can get this fired up over 20 pages of writing... I think we have another paid reviewer here or a publishers pogue, family member etc... this gushy kind of review which sounds like you didnt read the 20 pages to begin with only makes the value of reviews on amazon less and less."

The first emotion I felt upon reading this comment was... rage. Oh, it pissed me off. I thought about responding, but wasn't sure what I wanted to say. Even after I'd formed some words about it in my mind, I realized that responding directly would be a fruitless endeavor. Does the world really need another thread on Amazon with two guys insulting each other? Nah.

And hey, it occurred to me... I have a blog, yeah? I can vent my annoyance there. Right on.

Dear Jack-ass,

I thank you for your unsolicited review of my review. It's gratifying to know that my enjoyment of the short story in question is of such interest to you. I can only assume you didn't like the story? I'm uncertain, because you've left no review yourself, good or bad, only this slightly mealy-mouthed reply to my review.

But I see from looking over the reviews you HAVE done here that you are committed almost exclusively to the old "one-star" approach. I wonder, do you actually hate everything you read THAT much? Or are the one-star reviews meant to illustrate your incorruptibility as a reviewer? Your high, high standards?

I have to wonder why you bother to read anything at all, if 98% of it displeases you so much.

Regardless, I'm sure the publishing world and the writers you sneer and "meh" at so dismissively are glad you exist. After all, the world desperately needs more people whose sole function is to pass uninformed judgement. You perform a valuable service, sir, and don't let anyone else tell you differently. Writers, in particular, need solid evidence that the world is full of assholes ready to savage their work for no very good reason.

I should explain something about the way I do "reviews". Since I'm not a professional reviewer, I'm at liberty to approach them in any way I see fit. So this is my approach: if I don't like a book, I don't mention it. Nope, I don't say a word about it. Why? Because I'm not cool with the idea of tearing down the hard work of a writer (something you clearly have no problem with, despite the fact that your reviews are all uninformative, snarky, and very poorly written; I mean no insult by this, I just thought you should know).

On the other hand, I tend to be highly enthusiastic about books I like. Hence my positive comments on this Kindle short you are so annoyed I liked. I actually get excited about fun stories. This may seem odd to such a cynical and sophisticated mind as yours, I understand that.

Anyway, I suppose I should wrap this missive up. Thank you again for making sure your pompousness and insulting arrogance insinuated its way into my world, if only for a moment. Make no mistake, sir, that I'd very much like to punch you in the teeth.

Fuck you sincerely,
Heath Lowrance


  1. I want a widget that just posts an endless loop of sarcastic slow clapping at any post like that. Writers write (as other creators create) and people like Mr One Star have stunted souls because they do not create, they're just vandals destroying what they envy.

  2. Well stated sir. You are the kind of person that one says to themself, "That's someone I would personally like to know."

  3. Heath,

    I concur on the notion of not posting negative reviews. Not sure if I am in the minority, but there are times I pick up a book and it doesn't grab me (too busy to give it my attention, pissed at life at the moment, too many other books in the TBR pile) yet when I try it at a later time, I LOVE the book (Defending Jacob, Dark Fields). I don't see the benefit of slamming a book, let alone a reviewer who liked it.
    That being said...I get a pleasure from bad mouthing James Patterson pisses me off that an author (is he still an author???) that follow a formula book after book, gets so much publicity, but real kick-ass authors get overlooked...
    By the way, I have City of Heretics on the Kindle and I will be enjoying it shortly.


  4. I applaud you, Heath. I got a comment about a review for one of my books in which the commenter started with "I haven't read this book..." and then went onto say what they thought about the book they hadn't even read.

    Amazon is full of jack asses.

  5. That was a great reply, Mr. Lowrance. And you were smart not to directly engage the jack-ass. Anyone who leaves a negative review of a review has a screw loose, and too much time on his hands. This is a bad combination, to be sure.

  6. Heath,

    Ha! Love it. What timing too. Just last night we had a reviewer say that my co-writer Frank had not written any part of our book...just lent his name out! He'd read all of Frank's other books and this was just not his work. Said our book (actually he was convinced it was MY book only) so MY book sucked - and hey, that's fine. It wasn't the opinion of the book he had that fired me up, hell, that's his opinion. Nooo, it was the accusation this guy made. Pissed me off?....Ohhh yeah. Anyway, great post and great idea at venting. - Thanks, Jim