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 is 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.
Reblogged this on Let me give YOU the Moe-down and commented:
Great advice for aspiring authors.
Hi Rosie and Terry – excellent thoughts here … we all need to think as we don’t all like what others like … cheers Hilary
Very true. I’m a self-published author myself and although it hurts when someone doesn’t even want to look at my book or they read it and give it a bad review, it’s unprofessional to throw a tantrum about it. Best to just thank them for their time and move on. The fact that anyone would bother to review a self-published book at all should be considered a blessing to the author because many would turn their nose up at it just because it’s self-published.
It’s so important to maintain a good reputation as a self-published author because your livelihood depends on it. I couldn’t even imagine acting so ungrateful for a three-star review. Personally, I’d be fairly happy with a three-star review. That means the reviewer liked it and had some thoughtful, constructive criticism that I can learn from to improve my craft.
In the end, good reviews are wonderful but average or poor reviews are useful to find out how to get those good reviews you want. Either way, they’re all worth thanking the reviewer for, and if the reviewer was abusive or slanderous? Well, just brush it off and choose not to work with him/her anymore. There are many other excellent reviewers out there who will respect you and your work while being honest.
Thank you Aafrais, very good advice and understanding of the whole system. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and stopping by the blog today.
I looked at the Meerkat blog too, this makes very sad reading. I review a few books at a personal level on my blog, but find it tricky when I’ve had trouble with either the story, or worse the grammar etc. So I tend only to review those I love. I think you and fellow reviewers are very brave.
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Thanks for passing on this blog, Rosie. One of the many things I’ve learnt since I moved from writing short stories to embarking on my first novel, is that arrogance has to be the first thing to leave the building. We all need our proofreaders, beta readers, reviewers, and book bloggers – without their invaluable support, suggestions, and time, we’d never be able to be dispassionate/professional about our work during redrafts, after publication, or when starting the outline for another book. Feedback of any sort is invaluable. Thank you for being there.
Thank you Evadene.
I’m sure everyone else has already said this, but absolutely well said and spot on, Terry!
Thank you Ali.
Thank you, Ali! I thought the truth needed setting out, in a ‘tell it like it is’ sort of way 😉
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Well said. I am a writer and I think this is spot on. Great post.
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Thanks Terry (and Rosie for hosting), well said – honest and impartial reviews are the difference between indie authors striving for excellence rather than getting involved in a slapdash race for the bottom. And, by posting fair reviews, you are building a brand your readers trust and authors can learn from. Keep up the great work – it’s a gift indeed!
Thanks for the support AK.