Thursday, October 12, 2006

When authors aren't professional

If you're interested in professional and unprofessional publishing drama or want to read the review and the comments and make up your own mind:
The review in question.

The ancient forms of astrology have more to offer than a guide for every day living. Astrology can help you or hinder you as a writer.

Sun Signs For Writers promises to do just that: make the best of your astrological sign to be a better and more productive writer. Fulfilling that promise proves to be harder than it looks.

Bev Walton-Porter combines her in-depth knowledge of astrology and her success as a published writer in Sun Signs, taking the basics of each astrological sun sign and offering tips and exercises to make the most of strengths and bolster weaknesses. The mix of writing how-to and astrology is a natural in theory. In practice, there are far too many gaps.

Sun Signs repeats the same information in several places, as though the author ran out of material and needed to fill the space to be consistent. The overall execution is inconsistent. Walton-Porter is methodical and steady in everything but the details, mixing metaphors and failing to link Dos and Don’ts with several of the signs, opting instead to recycle generic writing tips that apply to every writer regardless of astrological sign. In some areas the focus is too narrow, as if writing about a specific person, but opts for a scatter gun pattern in other areas, filling up space with repetitious information and tips.

In one section, Geminis are characterized as having difficulty with concentration and focus. Walton-Porter suggests moving from one subject to another to get through writer’s block, which would add fuel to the fire when it comes to lack of focus. Brainstorming is a good idea for signs that tend to be more rigid, like Virgo, but not quixotic and changeable Gemini. In the same chapter, Geminis are urged to focus on one task at a time and not allow their minds to wander, the opposite of brainstorming.

The graphics and art work are beautiful. The chapters are set up in logical and easy to read order, everything a reference book should be. Sun Signs for Writers has the ingredients of a solid resource but needs work to tighten up the gaps and broaden the viewpoint.

Personal asides offer a friendly bridge between author and reader but dull the point of a book meant as a general reference. Treasure Sun Signs for Writers for its art work and recycle it when a less flawed resource comes along, or when a revised edition of this one comes along.

The author's comments are copied directly from her Live Journal page verbatim. The full post has been edited to prevent further claims of copyright infringement and so that the terms of "fair use" can be met. The comments here pertain only to the review.

As per nocturnalmuse / elementalmuse: "...although there have been 9 top-rate reviews of Sun Signs for Writers, I find myself fixating on the one review written by a former friend who, for some reason, is on a vendetta to hurt me whenever she can find a way. I don't mind if you don't like the book, because there are many people who won't and I accept that. People are different and they have different opinions. However, trashing a book just to get to the author because you have a personal vendetta that you JUST WON'T GIVE UP FOR SOME REASON is beyond abhorrent. However, despite this person's prolonged venom toward me, I wish her well. I don't know what I ever did to her to warrant this crap. It's okay if you despise me, but if you cannot review my book without allowing personal prejudice (that has nothing to do with the book) color your review, then please be honest with yourself (and everyone else) about your intentions and don't review it. I expect some people not to like the book...but I hope it's because they don't like it for what it is and not who I am in my personal life. were busy trashing me as a person and a writer. Trashing me as a writer is one thing; trashing me as a human being by using lies is quite another."

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