How to respond to a bad review

Stephan J Harper, author of a self-published ebook concerning crime-fighting teddy bears, makes a spectacular appearance in the comment section of Michael E. Cohen's review. [via]

Notable Replies

  1. lorq says:

    If writing a banal mystery book set in Venice with sentient teddy bears as characters wasn't a clear sign of mental illness,

    And right there you've lost us.
    (Presumably you feel the same way about the giant bug in Kafka's "Metamorphosis," or anything else remotely "zany.")

  2. I don't buy that line of reasoning. The vast majority of work in any medium is unremarkable at best.

    Amateurs have had paint brushes and canvases at their disposal for centuries, that doesn't "devalue (or destroy)" the work of great masters. Practically every middle schooler has some kind of camera on their person these days, it doesn't diminish the work of Ansel Adams. So why bemoan the ability of ordinary people to publish novels?

  3. woody says:

    Nobody will ever top composer Max Reger's reply to critic Rudolf Louis: "Sir: I am seated in the smallest room of my home. Your review is before me. Shortly it will be behind me." Brief, elegant, witty, and probably true.

  4. They don't devalue it, they make it hilarious. Before self-publishing, all these terrible books were unwritten or limited to a single copy, hidden at the bottom of somebody's sock drawer. Now, the whole world can delight in Ravaged by the Raptor or Horny Ghost of Osama Bin Laden (probably not work safe and also terminally stupid). Bad fiction makes good fiction better.

  5. The theme of Teddy bear detectives and noir pulp rang a bell, then I remembered The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse, by Robert Rankin.

    Some googling also found:

    Whatever the literary qualities of his writing, Mr. Harper is certainly in touch with the zeitgeist.

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