Today I’m hosting a post written by Terry Tyler which I feel strongly about aswell.
#Bookblogger bashing: in the end, you’re only hurting yourself.
I’ve read a few posts lately about book bloggers being bullied or ‘trolled’ by writers for whom they have received bad reviews, or whose books they have rejected. For more on this, here’s a heartrending post from The Happy Meerkat, and an associated one on Fictionophile about whether or not reviews should be objective or personal opinion, amongst other things.
Like 99% of the rest of the online writer/reader/blogger/reviewer community, I’m appalled that bloggers who give up their time to read books by total strangers, for no payment, are receiving such harassment.
I write this from the point of view of a writer, and a book reviewer. Although my own book review blog is mostly for my own reading choices, I’m also a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team. There are 20-30 of us, who select books from those submitted by authors and publishers. If we’ve reviewed the book (and we sometimes decline after reading a section), we then deliver the results to Rosie for inclusion on her blog.
On the submission guidelines, Rosie clearly states that we don’t provide a 5* only book review service, and that we pride ourselves on being honest, unbiased, balanced and constructive. If we were to give only praise for every book submitted, the blog would be a) dishonest and b) therefore not worth reading. Yet still she’s had to deal with complaints from writers who haven’t received the glowing recommendations for which they’d hoped. Some ask her not to post them, despite the hours of (unpaid) work that have gone into considering the submission, reading the book and posting the reviews.
Book bloggers are a gift to the self-published or indie press published author. They do what they do simply for the love of reading/blogging/the book world. They should not be given a hard time because they do not give a wholehearted, 5* thumbs up to what they’ve read. Since being on Rosie’s team, I’ve heard of reviewers being accused of personal grudges against the author, lack of understanding of the author’s apparent brilliance, snobbery, and even not reading the book. A couple of years ago, one writer was extraordinarily rude, on Goodreads, about Rosie’s 3* review. He slagged her off in public. She didn’t owe him anything. He wasn’t paying her for her time. He submitted his book for an honest review, which he received. All he did was make himself look like an egotistical idiot. Less than positive reactions are a fact of life for a writer. All reviews bring the book to the attention of the public and add to its ‘visibility’ on Amazon.
To book blogger bashers everywhere: have you ever watched The X Factor, or American Idol, or any of those shows? You know the mediocre singer who can’t cope with the fact that he isn’t good enough to make it through to the next round, and is abusive towards the judges? That’s what you look like when you harass book bloggers who don’t tell you what a wonderful writer you are.
The book blogger community is close and supportive. If you start throwing your toys out of your pram every time you get a 1, 2 or 3* review, you’re likely to get a bad reputation.
(Please note: in the following section, I’ve referred to the book blogger as ‘she’, rather than ‘he/she’, for simplicity).
If a book blogger rejects your submission it might be for any of these reasons:
- You have sent a generic request rather than looking at the blog to see if your book is suitable.
- You have come across as demanding, or unprofessional, or not even bothered to find out her name.
- She has a busy life and does not have the time to read it right now.
- Her to-read list is ten miles long already.
- She not interested in your particular genre.
- She has read the blurb, and the subject matter of your book doesn’t appeal to her.
- She has read the blurb and considers it badly written.
- She’s read the ‘look inside’ sample on Amazon and does not consider the writing to be of the standard she wishes to review.
All these elements can be summed up by this: she doesn’t want to read your book. That’s okay. She’s not obliged to.
If a book blogger accepts your book, but gives it a less than positive review, it’s for this reason only:
- She didn’t think it was very good.
She’s not being snobbish, or vindictive, and she’s not too stupid to understand your art, she just didn’t like it much, for the reasons stated. Most book bloggers assess with a combination of objectivity and personal opinion. If more than two reviewers say the book has unrealistic dialogue, or cardboard characters, or an unfeasible plot, or it’s too long, or it needs editing, or proofreading, it’s likely that they’ve got a point. Deal with it. Learn from it.
But, most of all, don’t give the book blogger a hard time for pointing it out. It’s arrogant, it’s nasty, and, in the long run, the only person who will suffer is YOU.