Saturday, January 7, 2012

Saturday Discussion: Author/Blogger Relationships

Before I start this post, I want to state right here at the beginning that I both write YA and review it here on the blog. When I started this blog it was to "get my name out there" as was suggested in many things I read as an aspiring author. I didn't really think about how reviewing things might affect my future career because I never planned to write something that would hurt anyone's feelings. However, I would tell the truth. That's what I've tried to do this entire time.

If you've been around at all this week, especially on Twitter, you should have been noticing tweets from bloggers saying that it's our right to type up a bad review. It's our right to have an opinion, even a negative or mean one, because that's what an opinion is. It isn't a fact but rather what a person thought about something.

Then, you've seen authors talking, thanking bloggers for the hard work they put into reviewing or saying everyone has a right to an opinion or equally kind things.

It's because of several authors acting badly as of late. It goes directly back to what I was talking about last week with author's commenting on posts. I've said here that I don't mind when author's comment on my posts but commenting on a negative review can be awkward for both the reviewer and the author if they choose to comment on it. Last week, I even stated that I felt it was inappropriate for an author to comment on a negative review publicly. Some people felt that was a double standard or questioned me on this and I understand why. Their points were valid and made a lot of sense. I would absolutely stand by what I said in any review but I still feel it causes unnecessary awkwardness when an author comments on a negative review.

And then boom, this week sort of proves my point. Several authors have let bad reviews get to them. They've gone as far as to attack these reviewers personally and publicly for their negative reviews. And that is a problem, not only for the reviewer who is getting publicly slammed for being honest but for the author whose career it is damaging. Perhaps when I was stating that I didn't think it appropriate for an author to comment on a negative review, I was looking to my own future and expressing how I would react for my career. I wear both hats here so I understand what both sides are like.

This whole debacle has me worried and no one wins. I want authors and their readers to communicate openly with each other as both a reader and a future author (I swear I'm not being presumptuous here, I just don't plan on ever giving up until I'm published).

But what I hate more than the way we are treating each other is what it is doing to the community. I've already seen comments saying "this is why I don't read YA" and I'm thinking "what?". Don't let one or two bad representatives give the entire genre a bad name. Because the YA genre is filled with the most humble, excited, alive authors I've ever come across. And likewise, it has some of the most loyal and loving readers out there. I don't want our community to get a bad name because several people decided to type some words that they will probably come to regret.

Because these mean spirited reviews and these angry author rebuttals are not my YA.

My YA saves. My YA bands together in the face of untruth and stands up for what they believe. My YA is filled with authors who look their readers in the eye and thank them over and over again for coming out to see them. My YA is filled with people that write posts dedicated to their favorite characters and shove their favorite books into any pair of open hands.

Yes, a few authors screwed up this week. Yes, I feel like a few bloggers did too. But let's not forget what all brings us here. It is love, it is dedication and it is a passion so bright that it can't be put out. It's the countless nights spent under the covers with a good book, the missed bed times, the shared discussions and hours of staring at a keyboard typing (for writers and bloggers alike).

This week has made each of us consider what we believe in. I think we should believe in each other. Because without that, this community wouldn't exist.

Power to the writers.

Power to the readers.

And power to every one of us that are in between.



  1. Amen! Well said. The YA community rocks, authors and bloggers alike. Together, we can do great things and we should never lose sight of that.

  2. I will admit that YA (until recently) was never something I was really interested in. Not because I thought the authors were snarky entitled wackos, but because I was operating under this misconception it was all about vampires/werewolves/Mary Sues. (I've since been disabused of that idea.) But in the six days it's been since I've joined the blogging world, I've been exposed to authors, reviewers, and their interaction with one another. It's been quite the wake-up call, let me tell you!

    I'm disappointed in the author's who've done this. It's definitely beyond the limits of professionalism and respecting boundaries. It's embarrassing for everyone involved. These people are giving YA a bad name, as you pointed out. But also as you pointed out, these people don't even represent the majority. And I think as long as fantastic authors like Hannah Moskowitz (I don't know if you've seen her posts via Goodreads), it's a positive sign.

    Also like you said, this community should be about respect and camaraderie. Definitely, this has given me, as a fledgling blogger, a chance to think about what I value and how I view reviews, authors, and limits.

    Thanks so much for this wonderful, insightful post. I really appreciate this.

    Renae @ Respiring Thoughts

  3. Great post - most of the Goodreads stuff has passed me by, and I think I'm probably happy to not know the finer details, but from the amount of stuff I've seen about it this is something that was well worth saying. :)

  4. I think authors should be able to look at the possitive side of things rather than the negative. Yes it is likely that their book will not be everyones cup of tea. They should be able to see the silver lining. They sold/ are going to sell how many copies? How many good reviews have they already recieved? And most negative reviews aren't 100% Negative. There should be one possitive thing in the review that the author can see and say "Well atleast I've got that"

    On the other hand reviewers should try to not let it get to them either. They should be able to realise that they have dealt with many pleasant and gracious authors. Like every category of people, there is always one person that spoils it for the rest or doesn't get on with you, so don't let that brand the rest of the group! bloggers should also try to be gracious when reviewing a dud book. If they didn't like it they will probably be a little annoyed because they wasted their time on the novel. Instead they should try and see the other side of things. That author put in a lot of hard work, so try to be nice about it. don't lie and say it was the best book in the whole wide world, but don't forget to list the possitive things about the novel and articulate reasons as to why you didn't like this or that and how that might be because of such and such that happened in the story/ a personal preference.

    It would be a pity to see some trivial things such as personality clashes or differences between a few people ruin a perfectly well run book blogging community! Wonderful article! well said

  5. Well put, Amber. Because your YA is also my YA, the YA that empowers readers and writers alike. The YA that makes us laugh and cry and love and hate. Write on & read on, girl!

  6. Well said. I've always thought we should be quick to praise and slow to criticize. In college, I learned that when critiquing a piece, for every negative thing you find, you should find at least one positive. Sometimes people let their passion take over and, you're right, they say things that they will probably come to regret. Yes, we're all entitled to an opinion but we also have an obligation as human beings to present that opinion in a decent and constructive way.

    I don't write YA but an author is an author is an author. We should always aim to build up, not tear down, each other.

    Great post.

  7. I agree. Authors should know by now that they will get bad reviews, I mean I'm sure they were turned down a few times in the publishing world before they were published. They should know by now that not everyone will like there book, I'm sure they haven't liked every book they've ever read. And most reviewers say they will always post a review with their honest opinion- good or bad- I don't think they should be put down for having an opinion.

  8. While I'm not (consciously) trying to keep on writers' good side by the tone of my reviews, it's a bit unlikely that my blog will ruffle any author's feathers.

    I choose to write recommendations, just discussing the YA books which I believe will truly hit home with their intended readership, rather than reviewing every book that I read. My way of connecting the right book with the right reader (once a librarian...)

    Yes, I know that critique/critical reviews (especially of highly-publicized books) are very important for librarians, teachers, and other book selectors. It's just not me who will be writing those critical reviews at present.

    (found you through MotherReader & LeeWind's Comment Challenge)

    **Katy Manck
    Recommending YA books beyond the bestsellers at
    Follow me on Twitter @BooksYALove

  9. It really is a small world, because I was having this exact conversation at my writers group today. I can honestly see both sides to the argument.

    As a writer, I'm honestly thankful for all reviews I get. Someone took time out of their busy lives to read my book and share their thoughts on it, good or bad. I'm so thankful for that. Sure, positive reviews are great, but bad ones are valuable too because they show me what flaws I need to work on for the next book.

    Likewise though, I can definitely see the awkwardness in the situation, too. Personally, I hope to at least email anyone who reviews my books and thank them for their time and consideration. And again, if the review is negative, I'd still thank the reviewer for helping me grow as a writer.

    Those authors who don't realize what a valuable learning tool bloggers and reviewers give to us are doomed to stagnancy.


    P.S.-- Amber, I agree with you 100% that we shouldn't let a few rude, unprofessional, childish individuals ruin what we love about YA. People will always shoot their mouths (or angry comments) off without thinking, but there are so many more awesome people in the world, the mean-spirited ones aren't worth the energy.

  10. I am so far out of the loop and had no idea there was a problem this past week. I have a negative review I have been struggling with writing and have even asked a couple of my blogger friends to edit it so it does not come across so extremely negative. Excellent post on our relationships and one we should all keep in mind.


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