Monday, January 6, 2014

Children’s authors read reviews of their own books

A bad review can equal a good laugh.

Therefore, please enjoy episodes 1-3 of “Children’s Authors Read Online Reviews of Their Own Books.” (Disclaimer: We lurve kids, of course, but this is for teens and adults only.)

Why three instead of a single episode? Not because binge-viewing is the new normal but rather because I received more submissions than I could’ve hoped for: 53. (This includes not one, not two, but five kidlit couples, two of whom appear together on camera.) While I’m not proficient enough to know if formatting at a resolution of 720p (HD) is ideal, I do know that I should not post a 15-minute video.

The cast (not in order of appearance):

Tony Abbott
Katherine Marsh
Paul Acampora
Wendy Mass
Selina Alko
Meghan McCarthy
Tom Angleberger
Richard Michelson
Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
Marc Tyler Nobleman
Mac Barnett
Erica Perl
Chris Barton
Susanna Reich
Cece Bell
Adam Rex
Samantha Berger
John Rocco
David Biedrzycki
Dave Roman
Lisa Brown
Adam Rubin
Peter Brown
Steve Sheinkin
Nick Bruel
Mark Shulman
Matthew Cordell
Lemony Snicket
Bruce Coville
Michael P. Spradlin
Sarah Darer Littman
Tanya Lee Stone
Drew Daywalt
Don Tate
Julia DeVillers
Matt Tavares
Marla Frazee
Chris Tebbetts
Gary Golio
Raina Telgemeier
Tad Hills
Terry Trueman
Daniel Kirk
Audrey Vernick
Jo Knowles
Melissa Walker
Michelle Knudsen
Hans Wilhelm
Gordon Korman
Lisa Yee
Jeff Mack
Jennifer Ziegler
Scott Magoon

The series (so far):

episode 1

episode 2

episode 3


2/6/14 addendum: episodes 4-6.

The backstory:

At a kidlit festival in September 2013, while a group of authors/illustrators talked shop after hours, an idea came to me: a variation on a poetry slam at which kidlit/YA authors read aloud their most critical or absurd user reviews (from Amazon or Good Reads) for comic relief/catharsis.

Then I discovered something similar: a recurring segment on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in which celebs read a mean tweet about themselves.

I find this entertaining and endearing.

The last two times I rounded up authors for non-regularly scheduled programming, the results were, respectively, hilarious and humbling.

This time, I put out a call for short videos of authors embracing the reality that not everyone likes every book.

This was not about reciprocating with mean-spiritedness. Its simply a self-deprecating nod to a universal author experience that is already public anyway.

(I would love to get the band back together at BEA or ALA to “perform” this for a live audience, maybe as some kind of fundraiser.)

As Rosey Grier sang, it’s all right to cry. But, as my kind compatriots have demonstrated, it’s sure fun to laugh afterward.

2/6/14 addendum: episodes 4-6.


Colby Sharp said...

I'd love to see a video of authors reading positive reviews:)

Núria said...

Loved it! Especially those reviewing books I ADORE...I look forward to being published someday, so when the inevitable bad reviews start pouring in I can make myself a cup of coffee, invite a bunch of friends, and read it aloud to them.
Of course, first I have to finish the first draft...

Barbara O'Connor said...

This was great! Thanks for the laugh.

Sharon Creech said...

Loved it. Laughed so much.

Cindy Williams Schrauben said...

Hilarious! I loved it. Makes me realize I don't have to take criticism quite so personally. :) Thanks

Leslie Davis Guccione said...

Loved them all. Great post.

Julie Hedlund said...

This is SO funny! And encouraging for us new authors to know that the "greats" get bad reviews too. Thanks for sharing!

Trauma F Newell said...

The authors and the celebrities had me laughing so hard. This was hilarious....made my evening! :)

alison morris said...

Brilliant! Thank you so much for assembling all this fun!

B Lee Draper said...

This is hilarious! Thank you so much for sharing it and bravo to all those authors with a sense of humour! :)

Unknown said...

Wonderful, Mark. Just hysterical!

I'll add a review my book MANFISH got from an Amazon reviewer...

"I was hoping for much, much more. It`s just a children`s book."

Unknown said...

Oops... sorry, Marc... I really do know how to spell your name!

Wendy said...

So, some of these are really stupid (the reviews, I mean), and I do my share of laughing at ridiculous reviews, but I also write bad ones from time to time... I kind of hate knowing authors might be reading them. Because if there's anything I hate more than a stupid review, it's a pandering or dishonest one from someone who's afraid to hurt an author's feelings. Sometimes I want to respond furiously to someone who posts a review on Goodreads "You have fundamentally misunderstood the point of this novel!". I try hard to read a book for what it is (not what it isn't), but odds are, someone could say the same about some of my one- and two-star reviews. I write reviews to spur discussion, and, when applicable, to convince others to read a book. Okay, once in a great while to blow off steam. But in general, I hope authors can just let this stuff go.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thanks for the comment, Wendy. The point of this little project was to show that many authors understand that there are varying opinions...and are willing to poke fun at themselves.

Unknown said...

Totally hilarious! How can I get mine on the next one?!

Anonymous said...

Most awesome indeed.

Michael G-G said...

Great concept. Wonderfully delivered. Five Stars.

Kai Strand, Author said...

So much fun!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Oh, that does me good - I needed a good laugh. Time to wipe the tears from my eyes and look at the next one. Thanks Marc!

Pamela Kramer said...

Thank you David Lubar for sharing this page. Really funny. As a reviewer, I loved hearing the completely idiotic, ungrammatical reviews from those who can't even write a sentence correctly. LOVE the authors with great senses of humor about it.

Darlene K Campbell said...

Laughing out loud at these. I love this.

Hummingbird (20SecondsWithMC) said...

LOve this! We included a link to this post in a recent post of ours. THANK YOU for these videos!!!
Here is where we linked to you:

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thanks Cool Mom!

Unknown said...

OH MY. GOODNESS! Absolutely LOVED this post! A must watch for new writers as just today I read a review from a disappointed reader! Thanks for sharing and hope to see more of these videos...