Essential Reading for Young Creators
One: Responding to Negative Reviews
Kevin Church, blogger and comic writer, tells you how to react to negative reviews (link no longer available). I like this so much, I’m thinking of adding to my form response to “will you review my book?” “Only if you’ve read this.” Here’s the rundown, but his site has a lot more explanation:
- Your LiveJournal “friends list” does not necessarily reflect the taste of the general reading public.
- When a reviewer does not like your work and criticizes it for faults, do not immediately assume they are a moron.
- A reviewer may not necessarily like your work, but most likely still “gets it.”
- The fact that a reviewer doesn’t make comics themselves does not automatically negate their comments about your work.
- Do not respond to a review or comment about your work in anything but a positive manner.
- Marketing yourself and your work includes your personal blog and website. Avoid making negative comments about reviewers.
- You are not your comic.
There are also some very experienced creators who would benefit from reading this piece, especially when it comes to point four,
“In much the same way that mechanics don’t need to understand the physics behind how a car works but can see if the fan belt has slipped off, reviewers can look at a completed work and dissect it in a way that provides the perspective needed by a creator and audience: the reader’s.”
Kieron Gillen adds to this in the comments, “It’s worse when someone’s actually done the critic/reviewer thing and so knows how annoying it is when a creator does any of the above, and then goes and does them all anyway.” Yeah!
Two: What the Publisher Wants May Not Be Best For Your Story
Queenie Chan, manga creator, discusses the problems of structuring a story to meet publisher demands (link no longer available). In her case, it’s Tokyopop’s request that the OEL/global manga creators tell a single story in three books.
I found her analysis fascinating, because I thought her story was damaged by the publication strategy. I liked The Dreaming, but I thought the second book was just more of the same, filling out the middle section until we were allowed to start seeing some of the answers and conclusions in next year’s book three. It wasn’t a bad read, but it wasn’t, in my opinion, filling enough to justify the wait of a year and the $10 price. Atmosphere and mood will only get you so far; given that this is a mystery, I thought the reader should have been given one or two answers in this volume instead of saving them all up to the end.
Read her essay to know more about why and how this happened. It’s also interesting to see other Tokyopop creators complain in the comments about needing four books to wrap up their stories. I see that Marvel (with their six-issue-no-we’re-going-to-need-seven miniseries) isn’t the only publisher who doesn’t know how long the series will be when they start. Although Marvel, with their more controlling, experienced editors and more experienced creators, should know better.