Monday, April 06, 2009

New Review Site: Dawson Vosburg

The POD (Print On-Demand) Journal of Dawson Vosburg

15 comments:

Henry said...

You know, I think this is weird. Will not review:

"Books with explicit sexuality
Books with heavy cursing
Books with positive reference to substance abuse or smoking
Pretty much anything you don’t think a fourteen-year-old could read"

There's a strange timidity in some wings of self-publishing. Cursing? Really? In 2009?

Mick Rooney said...

And smoking?

Is this reviewer a 14 year old?

I guess the next budding Hunter S Thompson or Jack Kerouac can forget it go back to the crayons!

Cheryl Anne Gardner said...

To each his own rules, I suppose. And it rules out my books. My characters are rather fond of their "language." All of it. Not to mention I got a lot of drinky smokey characters, but then again, none of my characters are 14 year olds. Enough said.

Shannon Yarbrough said...

Mick-

Dawson actually is 14 years old. He published a book a few months ago on Lulu.

Henry said...

That changes things a bit. He should probably make that clear on the site. Thing is, I've seen these types of guidelines on other self-publishing sites run by adults.

Mick Rooney said...

Shannon,

I was sure the name rang a bell. But I'm still not really sure about the sense or benefit in having a 'The Andersen Review' site run by a 14 yr old with the implied restriction that go with that.

As Henry says, I too have have come across 'adult' run sites with similar restrictions. The point is - what books exactly does Dawson want to review. While Dawson's achievements are tremendous, in light of his age, I feel many authors are actually going to be put off, dare I say, slightly unnerved.

Cheryl Anne Gardner said...

Not to mention that most adult authors probably won't want their books reviewed by a 14 year old anyway, unless the book is written for young adults.

And yes, I have seen such restrictions as well, from genre restrictions to sexual content to language. The old PodCritic had an issue with language. My characters are usually scrappy Brits and love the "F" word in their dialog.

Shannon Yarbrough said...

Mick and Cheryl-

Oh, I agree with you both there.

If you'd like a chuckle, go back to the blog and check out the first two queries he's received so far.

Without some more distinct (and age appropriate) guidelines in place, Dawnson may be in for quite a reading challenge.

Cougar Press said...

I don't mind some swearing. I don't mind it. But gratuitous cursing, meaning every other sentence or so, is unbearable.

You can also have substance abuse and smoking, just make sure you aren't PROMOTING it. Thus "Positive" references are not allowed.

I should pull out the "anything a 14-year-old shouldn't read" because I'm a well-read 14-year-old--I've read more adult books than young adult books.

I will take offense that you don't value the review of a person even if he is only fourteen. After authoring four novels I think I'm capable of a 300-500 word review.

Dawson

Cheryl Anne Gardner said...

Dawson, no one ever said, in any of these posts, that they wouldn't value your reviews. We have to see what a few of your reviews look like first before we can evaluate anything. We don't evaluate books until we have read them, so with that in mind, I don't think any of us would devalue a review until we have read it.

Most adults might take issue having their work reviewed by a 14 year old, except in the case of young adult books. It has nothing to do with your “well-read” status nor does it have anything to do with how well you understand literary theory; those are just mechanics, and yes, a 14 year old has the ability to grasp those concepts. What I was referring to is life experience, your life experience and your ability to relate to the characters. In that respect, you are limited. Your world view is limited by your age. That's all. Nothing you can really do about that.

As far as the positive reference to substance abuse or smoking, well, the word positive is subjective in itself. Some adults like a smoke after a gnarly bit of sex, so they light up. Unfortunately, it is what adults have the right to do. I wouldn't say that a scene like that is "promoting" such a thing; it just is what it is in the adult world. The Adult world has a lot of subtle nuances you might find objectionable, but in fact, they are reality, a reality you do not have enough experience with.

That's all we are saying, Dawson. And as a minor, you are obligated to post that on your site. It protects you and protects authors from potential litigation, should you accidentally be sent something inappropriate for someone your age. The law is very clear about such things.

Mick Rooney said...

Dawson,

I think you are missing the point we are trying to make. There is no one here who doesn't believe you have already achieved a great deal and have read a great amount above your years. But we are all a sum of our own experiences, and you are attempting to approach book reviews without the knowledge and experience of some of the most critical things that lie ahead in your life.

As Cheryl says, this is something more than knowing the 'mechanics' of literature. There is no writer in the world worth his salt who will not tell you to write through experience. and that takes time...times filled with joy, a broken heart, financial bankruptcy, close human loss around you, traveling to far flung corners of the world...all are experiences played out in our lives, and few of them for the most part at 14 years of age.

The gift of writing and the ability to comprehend, identify with, and truely lies behind the words only comes with experience, not knowledge.

I think it is also important you make clear on your review site that you are 14 years of age. That is both your protection and your obligation to your viewers and submission authors. But you simply cannot set up submission restrictions on your site for the reviews. You are, in effect, requiring adult authors to live in your world as you see and experience it. You must take a deep breath and step into the authors world if you are to review and review honestly.

The very best of luck with your site, Dawson

Cougar Press said...

"As far as the positive reference to substance abuse or smoking, well, the word positive is subjective in itself. Some adults like a smoke after a gnarly bit of sex, so they light up. Unfortunately, it is what adults have the right to do. I wouldn't say that a scene like that is "promoting" such a thing; it just is what it is in the adult world. The Adult world has a lot of subtle nuances you might find objectionable, but in fact, they are reality, a reality you do not have enough experience with."

And it would be perfectly fine to have someone smoking in their story. I feel I'm repeating repeating myself myself: as long as it isn't promoting it, it's fine.

And much of it has to do not with "I can't take this" but it's more of "I can read it without a problem, but I choose not to."

"As Cheryl says, this is something more than knowing the 'mechanics' of literature. There is no writer in the world worth his salt who will not tell you to write through experience. and that takes time...times filled with joy, a broken heart, financial bankruptcy, close human loss around you, traveling to far flung corners of the world...all are experiences played out in our lives, and few of them for the most part at 14 years of age."

Relating to a character is almost completely different from sharing a physical experience. Sure, it helps a little, but it's the essence of humanity that allows you to relate to a person. And believe it or not, I HAVE had joy, a broken heart, loss of human life, etc. around me. It's simply that I don't share an exact adult perspective on it. Though I do have a more adult take on most subjects than many early teenagers, I don't look at it the same way as adults.

I know that you never meant this to be harmful, but assumptions are the bane of my own existence. If there's anything I've learned from my own experience, it's to never make any assumptions, and it ticks me off when someone makes an assumption about me because I'm a 14-year-old.

Sp I know that was a long rant, and I know that you weren't intending to hurt my feelings, just keep in mind to never assume anything on my watch.

Shannon Yarbrough said...

Dawson-

Unfortunately, you are only a victim to your age and maturity. And you will be for a long time. You're not even in high school yet. You can't vote. You can't legally drink. I'm not saying that those things matter, but society does dictact one's life experiences by how many years they've lived, not by what's happened to you during your time on earth.

When I actually turned 21, I felt like I was 40. I had experienced way too much, beyond my years or what I thought a 21 year old should have experienced in life by then. At that time, most of my friends were in their 30s and 40s, so I obviously felt a lot more mature than I was. And yet, people still called me a "puppy" simply because I was just 21.

You cannot change that. You can certainly try to prove them wrong and that your worthy of that adult respect, and I'm sure you are. But it's a fact, people will not listen. It's just the way society is, and where society doesn't pay attention the law does. And I'm glad for both. Otherwise, I'd probably picked up some 16 year old many years ago who had a fake ID.

Kudos to you for putting yourself out there and finding time to read and write reviews. But just be honest up front with authors. The internet can be a dangerous place.

Mick Rooney said...

Hmmm...

I've a 16 year old daughter and a 10 year old son. Both, I believe are maturer beyond their years.

We could go on here...but I guess we should take on board what Dawson has said and all bow out and get on with what we all do best...

Cheryl Anne Gardner said...

Dawson, you don't have to explain the bane of assumptions to any of us; most, if not all of us have already been where you are, so you can spare us the lecture.

And yes, you don't share an adult perspective. It's really as simple as that, nothing more, and it was not to hurt your feelings. It's just fact. Adults want adult perspective, unless of course, the subject in question requires a child's.

Adults also know that full disclosure is paramount. Lying by omission is still lying, and once people find out, you and everything you have worked for will be discredited, no matter what value you think it has. You are a 14 year old boy with a self-published book on Lulu.com. You also have high reaching aspirations, obviously, so don't ruin it with your own assumptions. Be mindful of you on your watch, no one else.

Humility is the highest quality an artist can posses, for the essence of a humble artist is that he understands and embraces completely that which is greater than himself.

Now, the rest of us have work to do, Dawson. So good luck to you. Don't try so hard to discount your innocence, or before you know it, it will be gone. Cherish it while you have the time to do so.