SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE, DELICATE FLOWER (Guest Post from Saundra Mitchell!!!)

Today, we have a guest post from one of my favorite-est people. Saundra Mitchell is funny, honest, and a genius. Her book, SHADOWED SUMMER, was nominated for an Edgar award, and her book, THE VESPERTINE, is out next year. I might have seen it. It might be spectacular. 


Welcome, Saundra!

Okay, so here's a secret I've been keeping to myself: mostly, I wish people would just lie to me.

Not, like, all the time. For example, "Is my skirt tucked into my underwear?"- this is a serious question that requires a truthful answer. Likewise, "Did you poison my cup of mead?" and "Is that Robert Pattinson at the next table over?"

But when it comes to my books- if you're unhappy, please lie to me. It's not rational, but I take all kinds of things personally. You think the typeface inside my book is ugly? I feel bad and I had nothing to do with it. You hate every inch of my cover with the fire of a thousand Venusian Suns? I feel bad and I had nothing to do with it. You're furious that they've filed my book at your library under supernatural instead of mysteries? I swear to you, I'll feel bad- and yep, I had nothing to do with it.

I can't control where my book is filed, how it's covered, what the catalogue description says, how people review it, whether or not it's in audio book or $yourparticularlanguage or large print or graphic novel form. If it becomes a movie, a television show, a four-part a capella opera- it won't be because I did anything- some subrights agent and/or producer thought it might be a good idea and they moved on it.

This is whining and I admit it. But since we're admitting things- it also makes me feel bad when somebody feels compelled to write and tell me they hated my book. True- I'd prefer that nobody hate my book, but if they're going to, I don't need to know about it. Factual errors, I welcome- if I said that Pluto is a planet (AND IT IS, YOU BASTIDS!) but an astronomer were to write to correct me- I'll be glad to know.

But if you hate my characters for being too-somethingy or not-enoughingly, or the way I pick my words, or the length of the book, or how I ended the story, write a review. Vent to your friends. But please don't tell me. Because yes, I'll feel bad and while I had everything to do with it, there's no changing it now.

Even if I were inclined to change it, once the book is in covers, it is what it is. I may ask my editor to change a word or two to indicate Pluto is not a planet (EVEN THOUGH IT PLAINLY IS,) but I can't ever go to my editor and say, "How about I completely rewrite this subplot?"

Well, I could. But then she'd laugh and throw heavy things at my head, and I'd deserve it.

Because a book is mainly a finished thing. I've done my half by writing it. You'll do your half by reading it. And if you hate what I've done in my half, that's totally legitimate. I invite you to forget it, or make a life's work of dissecting it, or something more reasonably in between.

But whatever you do, please, don't tell me. Much as you wouldn't tell a stranger in a grocery line that the clothes they're wearing are very ugly, and you find the cut of their hair unappealing, please, I beg you- please don't tell me how ugly and stupid you find me. I mean my books. There's nothing wrong with silence! I'm good with silence.

After all, I'm a tongue-in-cheek, but not-entirely-lying special snowflake and delicate flower- and I thank you for your silent support.

by Saundra Mitchell
In paperback June 8, 2010


  1. Yes, that's Robert Pattinson at the next table over. No, your dress is not tucked into your underwear. Yes, Robert is knocking at your door to deliver you chocolate and flowers at 7 in the morning, it wasn't just a dream (though I"m sure there's more to that dream) cough. WHAT!?!? You said not to lie to. LOL

    Honestly, I don't understand why people feel the need to email an author and tell them they hated their book. There is so no excuse for that. To me that's under the golden rule, "If you can't say something nice, don't say it all".

    Now, on the flip side w/ reviewing books, I have to say what I did and I didn't like about a book, but I never hate a book. Some books I love, some I like and others I wanted to like more than I did. If I really, truly didn't like it, I won't write a review for it and I rarely rate it. If it's a 1, I'll post it on goodreads but I never slam a book. I have a problem w/ bashing a book. I would never tell an author that I hated it. That book is their baby. Plus, I really can't stand the word hate.

    I think people forget that authors are people to. They've put a lot of time into writing their book. We enjoyed your book! We totally love you! Great post!!

  2. Yay, Mundie Moms! If I don't like a book I won't review it either. I think if you can find something nice to say, awesome. If you can't, move along.

    I felt that way before I had a book being published. I feel even more strongly now.

    *goes back to sleep, hopes Rob brings coffee*

  3. I don't review something I don't like either. I usually don't read something I don't like. And I LOVED SHADOWED SUMMER!

  4. I completely agree with Saundra's post and the comments. A book is a joyful, painful thing to bring into the world. If you don't like it, go away.
    I've been discussing this very thing with my students the past couple of weeks regarding book reviews on my blog. "You love all the books you review Mrs. B."
    They are right, I do. If I don't love it, I don't take the time to talk about it. I'd rather spend my time building people up. It drains my life force to be angry or negative. Why spew ugliness?
    Stick with the positive. It makes life easier. And I'm all about the easy.

  5. And just to reiterate- I mean, yeah, I'll be sad if I read a review that thoroughly trashes my book. But that's MY fault for reading the review. The review is not for me. BAD DOG. I mean, BAD AUTHOR.

    So if peeps want to take a strip off my books in reviews, they should. Just, you know, please don't e-mail me a link. Please? *big anime eyes*

  6. I love my grandmother's reminder, if you can't say something nice...don't say it at all. But, it's a fine line between honesty and being cruel when reviewing a book that is just not your cup of tea. So, I don't review it. And I realize that someone will love the very things I found bothersome.

    That's why there are 31 flavors at Baskin Robbins. I go for mint chocolate chip and avoid the vanilla. :]

  7. i am suddenly a little bit in love with Saundra Mitchell.

    also IT'S SO NICE TO MEET YOU i have this sudden urge to purchase all of your books.

    i adored this post in so many ways.

    thank you for sharing.
    thanks to Myra for hosting.

    absolute brilliance, indeed.

  8. Bwahahaha!!! In this instance, you have total permission to be a special snowflake. And you're dress looks fine. *giggle*

  9. Robert Pattinson... *giggle*

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