Village Voice trashes my book without reading even the back cover blurb.

Ah, Google Alerts. They let me know when people are talking about me, and this time, it’s a doozy.

James Hannaham, author of God Says No and apparently a professional angry person, put together a vitriolic little paragraph entitled “Dumb Dog Books” at the end of the May 25 book page in the Village Voice newspaper. Here’s what he had to say about mine:

Chihuahua of the Baskervilles claims to be the first novel in a moronic series about a ghost pup…

Um, no. That’s like saying Mark Twain wrote river-rafting stories. The Tripping Magazine series is about a cut-rate travel magazine that covers destinations of supposedly supernatural interest (I use that qualifier a lot in my promo text). The canine apparition appears in this one book only. The book’s title references a rather  well-known story where the ghost dog turns out not to be a real ghost. So, yeah… I’m thinking he got his idea strictly from the cover. (Isn’t there some kind of saying about that?)

Since he has a website with his contact info on it, I was able to send him an email, in which I noted,

Based on your cover, I’m guessing God Says No is about the wacky things someone finds in a U-Store-It unit, but I wouldn’t write that in a newspaper without making sure.

Here’s a link to the original Village Voice article (the pertinent paragraph is the last one, and the link takes you directly to page two).

Don’t go on any rampages on my behalf, but do make a mental note that you can’t believe everything you read. And hey, I got mentioned in the Village Voice!

Chihuahua of the Baskervilles excerpt

About Esri Allbritten

Esri Allbritten lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband, Angel Joe, her cat, Musette La Plume, and her Chihuahua puppy, Josie O. In addition to sushi, bowling and marimba, Esri enjoys discovering quirky, real-life towns and wreaking fictional havoc in them. She is the author of Chihuahua of the Baskervilles and The Portrait of Doreene Gray (Tripping Magazine mystery series), Jokers & Fools, and (as Esri Rose) Bound to Love Her and Stolen Magic.

Posted on May 29, 2011, in Chi of B and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. The guy did you a favor. Anyone who reads his article and likes books about dogs will check it out!

    Good comeback to him, by the way!

  2. OMG, Esri, this is priceless!!! I’m LMAO at your deductions about his book based on the cover. And you did get mentioned in the Village Voice!

  3. Karen Potter

    …and I think it’s pretty obvious who the moron is in this scenario. Just sayin’.

  4. He’s just jealous because you have such a great cover and his totally sucks. And you got publicity!

  5. Esri,

    The Village Voice did you a great favor. You get the publicity, which you blogged about in a gracious way. Then the link to your blog makes it onto Facebook via a friend of mine . . . and I click on it and see I book I might not have seen. I think you are the winner here.

    Makes me wish they would mention my book, but I can’t imagine what they would say about it . . . even if all they read was the title.

    Thom

    • You’re absolutely right, Thom. I’ve been getting about a hit a minute for the last hour. Will have to do a follow-up post on making promotional lemonade out of lemons.

  6. Dude must have taken your statements to heart, as the paragraph is now gone. But your blog remains, and the title of your book remains, too. Congratulations!

  7. So what does it say on the back cover that the reviewer didn’t read?

    • An excellent question. The book isn’t out yet, so it would have been more accurate to say that he didn’t read the blurb on my website (the home page would be the most obvious place). It’s possible he read the Minotaur catalog description, which is below and still doesn’t give any real excuse for his interpretation, let alone a judgement call of “dumb” or “moronic.” http://us.macmillan.com/chihuahuaofthebaskervilles The last version of the back cover blurb I saw was essentially in this vein.

  8. Moronic was mean spirited. Not to pick bones but the rest of what he said is what I also glean from both yours and the publisher’s website. Be thankful for the publicity.

  9. Actually I guess your beef is that he said the series was about a ghost pup and when the series is about the tabloid journalists. Okay, my bad in not seeing that. But the book is about an alleged “ghost pup”, right?

    • Book, yes. Series, no. That was my main issue. I am grateful for the PR, and trust me, I’m milking it. Beyond any personal stuff, I’m also bothered by the illogic of including the ending paragraph at all. The rest of the post is about literature or non-fiction — that’s his audience, fine. Why tack on a couple of column inches on commercial fiction he hasn’t read, simply to insult it? He could have used that space to give another thoughtful review, thus benefiting his readers and the paper, but instead he chose to ignorantly abuse both authors and their potential readers. Why?

    • Book, yes. Series, no, and I still maintain that reading that description and assuming it IS a real ghost is a hell of a leap. We worked very hard to word the description so that people who wanted to read an actual ghost story wouldn’t be disappointed, but without a big ol’ spoiler (which this post unfortunately is).

      I am grateful for the PR, and trust me, I’m milking it. Beyond any personal stuff, I’m also bothered by the illogic of including the ending paragraph at all. The rest of the post is about literature or non-fiction — that’s his audience, fine. Why tack on a couple of column inches on commercial fiction he hasn’t read, simply to insult it? He could have used that space to give another thoughtful review, thus benefiting his readers and the paper, but instead he chose to ignorantly abuse both authors and their potential readers. Why?

  10. Esri, dumber than dumb not to really READ your cover, but the hits and publicity will outweigh his moronic effort~

  11. Well, what I want to know is how do I get maligned in the Village Voice? I will even do the hard work for him: No Stranger to Strange Lands appears to be an unreadable rant from a deluded optimist… (it’s a start)

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