Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most talked about newspaper columnists, the author of Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother to Be, which has been translated into nine languages. Also the author of the bestsellers, Wiped!, Toddlers Gone Wild, and Rotten Apple, the first in a YA series. Random thoughts on life in the competitive world of modern mommyhood. Blog will be loved by trendy mothers who still feel, or often feel, that the most important word in "mommee" is ME!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bad Reviews....

So, the first bad review of Wiped! Life With A Pint-Size Dictator has come in. It's shocking, I tell you. S-h-o-c-k-i-n-g! Of course, I'm joking.

(I promise this is not a sales pitch to buy the book, although you can pre-order it now at amazon.ca, or amazon.com....)

Anyhoo, getting reviewed is a, well, it's a tricky - make that make-me-want-to-put-my-head-over-the-toilet-and-puke - kind of thing.

It's also kind of a funny and very surreal experience (after that feeling of wanting to puke phase passes. Luckily it does after a good run on the treadmill. Then it does become funny.)

I called The Fiance at work. "Well, I probably got one of the worst reviews EVER," I told him, as I changed into my gym clothes. The Fiance asked what magazine the review was in. I told him. His response?

"Um, what magazine? Is it Canadian?" he asked. The Fiance, a very smart and well read man, had never even heard of the magazine. Which I thought was super cute.

"Are you surprised?" The fiance asked. "Please tell me you're not suprised that you got a bad review?"

"No, I'm not surprised," I said. "I just wasn't expecting it for another month."

And that's the truth. I expected bad reviews but since the book doesn't officially hit book stores until the end of March, I was kind of hoping I had another four weeks before I had to think about any of it.

I am friends with a handful of authors, all who of course, upon publishing a book, have dealt with the "bad reviews." In fact, even in a glowing review, if there is one line that criticizes something in their book, that's the part they fixate on. FOREVER.

Getting a book review is kind of, well, it's like life.

You could have abosolutely everything going for you - a roof over your head, a job, even a beautiful, healthy child - and you end up fixating on the things you think suck in your life - like you weren't invited to a party, you think your thighs are too fat, that that guy didn't call you when he said he would.

Canada is a very small country. Most writers know each other, or at the very least have shared a cocktail or two.

One author I know, who is very much into the literary scene and has been for years and years, always ends up getting reviewed by friends, which is what happens when you live in Canada.

Or you get reviewed by people who hate you, even though they don't really know you, which is just as unfair (I know, I know, LIFE is unfair.) But that really IS unfair. (I know, I know, Life is really unfair.)

Anyway, this author I know ends up getting mad at his friends (even in an overall glowing review) if they criticize one little part. Which I get. I mean, friends are the ones who are always supposed to support you, right? Then again, book reviews are supposed to be objective, right?

Anyway, this author decided to stop reading all his reviews. Or so he says. Maybe he really doesn't read his reviews.

Generally though, writers are a very insecure bunch and our egos bruise easily and we're sort of self-destructive and nothing is more self-destructive than reading reviews, especially if they're bad. Hey, it gives us something new to moan about to our friends for a couple days. And writers really like to moan, because it's a way to procrastinate.

It's very wise, I think, not to read reviews of your own book. But how do you not? You need will power, which is something that the empty box of Oreo cookies I ate last night at midnight will tell you I just do not have.

Anyway, do you mommy bloggers read book reviews?

I'll admit the only book review sections I really read are in the New York Times and also People magazine. I think that's how I found out about Heather O'Neills book, Lullibies for Little Criminals, which you should definitely pick up. It's a great read.

Here's what it comes down to.

You get a good review and you get good sales.

Or....

You get a good review and have bad sales.

Or...

You get a bad review and have bad sales.

Or...

You get a bad review and have good sales.

You may as well go to Vegas and put that $100 on red. Books that have gotten slammed do amazingly well. And books that get raves sell like shit.

I think to find a reviewer who would "get" and be open to someone like me would be very hard indeed. I mean, how many other writers in Canada write openly about getting knocked up in a drunken state? (Trust me, I know a lot of babies are made that way.)

I mean, middle-age men wouldn't exactly get where I'm coming from (My obsession, which all women go through while pregnant, about their growing ass, and then my obsession with getting back into my pre-baby clothes) neither would anyone who takes life too seriously (Hey, if you can't laugh at yourself...)

And, my god, if I have to read one...more...time...about how I think I'm the only woman to have given birth....(Don't all women who get pregnant for the first time kind of feel like they're the first ones to ever have gone through it? That's why, when you get pregnant for the second time, you're so much more relaxed.)

Wiped! Life with A Pint-Size Dictator is my experience going through the first two years of life with The Dictator. There are some serious issues, how people at work treat you differently, post-partum, how your relationship changes, along with some humourous moments (cheerios stuck on my ass, my hair falling out.)

Wiped! is not meant to win any nobel prizes or awards for writing. And I didn't write it with reviewers in mind that's for sure.

I wrote it for modern gals who are thinking about having a baby, who already have a baby or toddler, who can laugh along with me at the good times and bad times (of which there are many,) those who wonder what they're missing out on (or not missing out on) and who would enjoy a light read in the bath, on the beach, on the bus, in our constant sleep-deprived states.

It's meant to be light-hearted and fun and hopefully people will walk away thinking, "I so know what she means." Or, "I've so been there, done that." Or, "Oh, no! Is this what's really in store for me????" Or, "I told you honey, I'm not going crazy. It happened to her too!"

Life is too short to worry about reviews, good ones or bad ones. Luckily, I have a tredmill at home. And a never ending supply of Oreo cookies. After fifteen minutes of running, or Oreo-binging, I feel just fine.

19 Comments:

Blogger Gabriella said...

I'm sure your book is great, I did order it and can't wait to read it. I hardly ever read book reviews or movie ones, if I do it's after I've read the book or seen the movie. Anyway...be proud of the fact that you actually wrote two books and got them published!!! To hell with people who don't like them!

10:58 AM

 
Anonymous Toronto Gal said...

Finally! I have been waiting and waiting for your follow-up and finally it is here (almost). Chapters.indigo.ca was toying with me and claimed on their website it was coming out in February so needless to say I was a bit disappointed when I found out I'd have to wait another month. Your book is going to be great and critics wouldn't have a job if they only wrote about books they liked. All the best.

12:49 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved "Knocked Up" and I can't wait for your new book!

3:28 PM

 
Anonymous ali said...

i have read so many books that had bad reviews and loved the crap out of 'em and i've read many books with amazing reviews and had to force myself to finish the book.

reviews mean nothing.
but, then again, i don't have anything being reviewed. i'd probably be a ball of nerves each time i read one.

i can't wait to read it!

any advance copies for dedicated readers??? (i'll even pimp you on urbanmoms.....)

7:18 PM

 
Blogger York Region Baby said...

Well, that reviwer is wrong!! The only thig wrong with the book is that it's like Knocked Up, in the sense that it's such a fun read it's hard to put down --- and I was only disappoinited when it when done so fast! My full real review will be done in about a week or so!

Do mommy bloggers read reviews? Sometimes, but maybe they'd rather read real moms reviews than "traditional media reviews"....

6:10 AM

 
Blogger Laural Dawn said...

I'm soooo beyond excited about your new book. Seriously.
I agree - a lot of people don't get you. But, as I've said before, reading your experience and feeling like someone got it and understood the truth about all of the new baby crap was what helped me through.
I think reviewers are super important because they get your name out there, but at the end of the day what matters is the readers and there are zillions of us who love you. (trust me - I think all my friends have read your book - and loved it).
Honestly, I don't really read reviews that much. Half the time reviews give away too much. And often I don't agree with the reviewer. Some of the worse books I've read had amazing reviews.
Can't wait to get it. Are you doing book signings? Because that would be awesome.

7:29 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who is reading the audio copy of the book Rebecca?

11:21 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I Loved, Loved, LOVED Knocked up, I lent it out a ton and then everyone ended up buying it as they wanted one for themselves. I lent it to a co-worker recently.... she "supposedly" gave it back, I guess I'll be buying another one. I can't wait for Wiped! I was actually in the States and was hopeing that they would have a copy earlier than Chapters (no go). I rarely read reviews, I like what I like. I love your writing and have been a faithful follower since the Post days. Can't freaking wait! Way to go.

1:40 PM

 
Blogger Irish Eyes said...

As a young "writer" and constant reader of things since high school, you're unlike very many other people who write about their life as they know it.

I've put down so many "memoir before I'm forty" books and stopped reading a load of blogs in the past few years, but you bring something absolutely different. I would say it's your refreshing honesty among other things! : )

11:46 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in the process of reading your new book right now (in fact, I took a break from reading to come read your post, as my hubby said that you had a new post up). We got a few copies at http://www.yorkregionbaby.com and I am fortunate enough to have my hot little hands on one of them :)

I have to say that I am having a hard time putting the book down. Your honesty about your experiences as a new Mom is incredible. It is hard having your life change over night and there are so many things to get used to!

Great job....ok, off I go to keep reading...

6:37 PM

 
Anonymous Backwoodsbaby said...

I really enjoyed reading your first book and am looking forward to this second one!

I know that as a writer, you only want to hear the good stuff and it's hard when people pick apart your work. It's hard! Why cant all readers just love you and think you're fabulous, right???

But I have a feeling that this will be a great read, and as someone about to have their 1st baby (and hoping MAYBE will have time to read SOMETHING in the next few months???) Im really looking forward to the continuation of your 'saga'

5:52 AM

 
Blogger MommyWithAttitude said...

There's no such thing as bad publicity, right??? I can't wait to read it, bad review or not.

3:40 PM

 
Anonymous Much More Than A Mom/The Opinionated Parent said...

I can't wait to read it. I do read reviews, but don't put much stock into them.

If you want Wiped! to be reviewed for the parent blogging scene at http://www.theopinionatedparent.com just drop me an email! We're packed with reviews right now, but there's always room to fit in a fellow Canadian!

7:04 PM

 
Anonymous sherry said...

I'm a Canadian mommyblogger and I love doing book reviews. If you'd like, I'd be happy to review your book if your publisher has any copies to spare. I already like your writing here so I can't imagine that I would have a negative view of your book.

6:46 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved, loved, loved your first book and am glad to hear that there is another. When I read Knocked Up, I was TTC and had suffered from many miscarriages and the laughter that this book brought to me was what I needed and now that I have too have a toddler I am very much looking forward to your new addition.

I am going to go re-read Knocked Up for the 20th time now being preggo again.

11:20 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cracked open 'Wiped' last night and had to force myself to put it down. Pretty much the same way I felt when reading 'Knocked-up.' You articulate all the things I can not say.
thanks.

8:28 AM

 
Blogger Michelle Davies said...

We would love to give your book to our MommyClub book review panel and have them share their thoughts!

1:07 PM

 
Blogger Rebecca Walker said...

So my book, Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence (I swear this is not a plug) was just ripped to shreds in the UK Observer and I was having one of those moments--like, finding the reviewers email address and home phone number kind of moments--and I decided to find another mom who had GOTTEN A BAD SHITTY AWFUL review. Thanks so much for this post. You saved me about four days of depression--I mean procrastination. Power to the Mommas!

4:39 AM

 
Blogger Gillian Grattan-Baldwin said...

As a fellow Canadian writer and mum, I say keep doing what you are doing and don't let the bad reviews get you down! Keep speaking from your heart and from the mummy love that you know best!
Congrats on amazing work!
Cheers!

1:43 PM

 

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