Thursday, 8 February 2018

Tackling the Disconnect between Art and Recognition

How about that Quincy Jones huh? Dropping truth bombs like only someone with zero fucks left to give can. I can totally relate. I laughed out loud when the interviewer asked him about MJ, about his 'sad life' vis a vis his 'success'. And Quincy goes like, "At the end, his main problem was propofol."
No prevarication. No sugar coating. Straight and simple. Such a rare trait. Especially among Americans. I loved it.
Of course, I would love to read or hear the uncondensed version, old man ramblings and all. When he said that about rap, how it doesn't provide variety for the ear, I wanted to stand up and cheer. And then go to my son's school, knock on the gate and say I have something urgent to discuss with him...just so I could show him that. I been telling him that all the songs he listens to sound the same. Anyway, like Erykah says, they're vibrating at a different frequency and this is what they appreciate. However, it wouldn't hurt to vary the beat a bit. My ear does not recognize Migos, or them other...tings. Chris Brown has been singing the same song since 2013 if you ask my ear...
On the other side of that equation are people like Kendrick and Rihanna and Hov. I specifically mention those three because well, its self-explanatory no?
Nuff Said.
Speaking of Kendrick, have you seen his music video with Sza? He seriously makes me want to make love to his brain. The visuals are...well, what can I say? I bow down. The song isn't bad either. It's made me curious about Sza; I just might go look for her music. She seems to have mastered the art of making love to my ear too. Perhaps we'll put her on the list.
We'll see.

Speaking of music and creativity. I saw some posts on twitter and tumblr attempting to slag Ed Sheeran's music because they wanted Kesha to win that particular Grammy.
Ed Sheeran makes epic music. Just because he's a man and we're all #grammyssomale right now does not mean he did not deserve to win. Let me tell you whose win I did not understand. #AOTY featuring Bruno Mars when both Damn and 4:44 were nominated.
Like...what? How Sway?
But as I think it was Billboard or Rolling Stone explained it; it's never the best album that wins and it's high time we stopped expecting it to. They will choose the most politically palatable for white people album every time.
Remember that.
And just keep playing those songs, streaming them, buying the album, because the best revenge is your paper right?
Speaking of revenge and reviews, today I want to tackle a difficult topic. And that's when a random reviewer tells lies about your work or gives you a one star or two stars without explanation. I finally had it happen to me and of course, I wanted to be all over that like white on rice. One reviewer actually started her review with 'Dear Annemarie' and proceeded to ask me questions like, "why did you use Adolf Hitler when someone else would have been easier?"
Now you know you can't ask me something like that without an answer. So I had to ask her, "Easier for who?"
The book she was talking about was In The Shadow of the Styx by the way.
She then went on to state how it was self-published in a hurry etc blah blah. Well, first of all, In the Shadow of the Styx was actually my first traditionally published book, it went through two editors, plus my beta reader. So I felt like, I can't let this stand. I gotta at least let her readers know that she's full of shit. There was one thing she pointed out that was an actual mistake and that was a paragraph where the name, Armand was replaced with Marcus - I might have told you that In The Shadow of the Styx was written while in the middle of writing Marcus Devereux because Phil and Lillian were just begging for their own story? Well, that was a genuine mistake that no one caught or corrected so thanks for that. Other than that, it was all nitpicking. Why did you use voodoo? Voodoo's not that well was borderline prejudiced.
The general consensus is that you don't reply to reviews of your books, but I think that's bullshit. Every other industry keeps an eye on reviews and if there's a problem, they actually reply to the reviewer and ask for more info or clarify the issue. So why not authors? Why we gotta stand by and let the bullshit stand unchallenged? It gives readers of those reviews a very one-sided view of your product. And when what the person is saying is lies, why not rebut it? I'm not saying stalk your reviewers and pounce on every bad review like a crazed banshee. But if you see an obvious lie, you can point it out.
One review I read said, "I was looking for a nice horror story but this isn't that."
I had to double check my amazon categories in case I'd made a mistake but no, the book was still categorized as a 'thriller' and no, there was nowhere indicated that it was a horror. So...*raises eyebrow*.
I think that the people who want you to shut up and sit down are the same people who write these janky ass reviews.
Now please note that I am not saying every bad review is a janky ass review. I once got a two-star review that I really appreciated because it was written from a place of truth. I just...I can't stand lies and prejudice. I really..can't.
The rule that I live by when writing or marketing or generally living is to march to the beat of my own drum. It's good to hear what other people have to say, but at the end of the day, it's your life, your decisions. Do what feels right for you.

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