Book on the shelves? Thicken up your skin!

I can take a bad review. Really, I can. I find a lot of valid points in what reviewers of all levels have to say as I'm always trying to better my writing. I don't want to be one of those authors I read about who must address everything a reader says when the reader didn't like a book. Today, however, I'm going to delve into a bit of a bad CUSTOMER review. Not from an actual review from what I would consider a legitimate source, but a customer review at a shopping for books site.

So I'm given the lowest ranking they can give at the site, followed by a statement (paraphrased) that my plot characters and dialogue are a complete rip off of the movie "Men in Black" and that I pretty much searched and replaced aliens and put in ghosts.

I have to say that left me a little livid. If it was an accusation on their own blog, that would be fine, but this is made a very public forum.

Now to say I have tropes in my work is one thing... as, say, fellow author Rachel Vincent put very elegantly in this quote:
"Part Ghostbusters, part Men-in-Black, Strout's debut is both dark and funny, with quirky characters, an eminently likable protagonist, and the comfortable, familiar voice of a close friend. His mix of (mostly) secret bureaucratic bickering and offbeat action shows New York like we've never seen it before. Make room on the shelf, 'cause you're going to want to keep this one!"

Now I like this quote for several reasons:
1. Hey, it's positive.
2. It shows an understanding that there are nods to genre tropes, but clearly gets that they are unique takes on them.

For anyone who's read The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell, you'll know that a lot of concepts in my book are classics and not, as accused, rip offs of a movie that, yes, I did like
The rookie/veteran investigator? Gee, that's never been done before... on wait, except for the master/apprentice relationship from everything ever. And my characters are only ten years apart in age, so it's not like it's all that rookie/vet anyway...

Secret organization handling odd things? That's all over the place too, but again, my work is my take on ideas that predate what I'm accused of.

Remember that classic scene in MiB when Will Smith has to defend himself against a carniverous book case? Yeah, me neither. I fail to see how my plot even remotely touches MiB. I can't make the connection.

Again, I normally wouldn't give a review this type of time or energy, but again it is in a fairly public forum and attacks me on a level that simply is false. Yes, I touch on common ground of my genre, but I stand by my story and characters.

But I've got this great idea for a giant cockroach and a talking dog for my next book...


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