On handling criticism :)
[Posted to a friend's e-list, after he received a negative Amazon review (on his first book) from a longtime, well-known magical type. Slightly edited for the sake of everyone's anonymity (which I'll ask you all to preserve, please), then reposted here FWIW. :D]
As so often, Jake [Stratton Kent] has it exactly right.
After over two decades writing full-time I know what effort goes into any book -- let alone what I happen to know went into yours -- so I don't tend to review a book unless I have something positive to say; and despite my unfortunately rich experience with laboring away in comparative obscurity (hence some insight into [the snippy reviewer]'s attitude) I consider it more than a little shabby to piggyback a plug for one's own book onto a slam of someone else's. Still, that kinda thing happens all the time...and, I would argue, we look better if we roll silently with the punches.
Case in point. I posted a review of [your book] on Amazon; a review favorable enough that you reposted it [elsewhere]. The mail had barely circulated when some jackleg replied to my review somewhere or other (not on Amazon) by attacking both Thelema, and me personally. I don't remember details, and they don't matter to my point, which is this:
What if, instead of ignoring said jackleg, I'd tried to debate him? -- or indeed reacted at all? However valid my response, I'd inevitably end up looking like a crybaby. Instead I reacted like we all do, like we all have to, in the "magical community": a "community" (like the web itself) so full of people trying to make a name for themselves by attacking their betters. I shrugged, considered the source (I've long since forgotten who, though I do recall he had this gloriously silly domain name -- something that to my mind just screamed "Supreme Magus of his Mom's Basement"), and went on about my business.
In short, when it comes to both negative reviews, and pissoffs with "big name magicians" -- much less the snarky and unhygienic smallfry on elists -- IMO, it's really best to ignore it and move on. If asked about it, you can say something like, "Yeah, I saw that. It's too bad, I've always respected him." Period. You look commanding and gracious, he looks cheap...and the subtext is, as it should be, "Frankly, Scarlett, I don't give a damn." ;)
Anyway, HTH! Be of good cheer: people take all reviews, good or bad, with a grain of salt, and especially
so from someone shamelessly promoting his own work at the time. I wouldn't worry about it. :D
93 93/93 -- AJ