Let me tell you about this problem I had recently...
You see, I follow lots of authors on Twitter. I read their blogs, I add their books to my Goodreads ages before publication. I retweet their interviews guest posts and giveaways and things, I chat with them about their books and other books, sometimes I even meet them at different events. Sometimes all of this happens before I've even read their books. And sometimes because of this ...friendliness on social media beforehand, I then feel nervous about reading their books.
Because what if I don't like the book? What if I think the writing is disjointed and pulls me away from the story? What if I don't think the character development is very strong? What if I don't like the characters and don't really believe in the relationships in the book? (all examples of my actual thoughts on certain books where I didn't enjoy the story but where I really like the author in question)
How am I going to write my review of these books when I 'know' the author and when the author might read these reviews and know that I didn't like his/her book. What do I do? How will that ever not be awkward? This is a problem I faced a few months ago.
And then something wonderful happened. I had been stressing on Twitter with another book blogger about these fears. I was worried that my expectations of a particular upcoming book were too high and that that book couldn't possibly live up to my high hopes and I was worried that I'd be disappointed and have to write a middling or negative review. And the author of that particular book saw my tweets and she sent me a DM on Twitter. It said 'Even if you don't like my book, I'll still like YOU.' As simple and as straightforward as that. And it allowed me to breathe a little more easily.
Because after that bit of encouragement, I was able to hope that other authors would feel the same way and would also be able to separate me from my thoughts on their books. Because I always want to maintain my integrity when it comes to my reviews on this blog. I read lots of books every week and month and year and I don't love them all. I don't think it's possible to love them all because books aren't aimed at everyone to love. My favourite books will not be your favourite books and what I look for when I'm reading will not necessarily be what you look for when you're reading. There might be some overlap but I hope that whether we agree or disagree on particular books that you'll still appreciate what I do on this blog.
I read and I review books on this blog: amazing books, okay books and the books I didn't enjoy at all. I will never attack an author personally and I don't think I've been unfair in my middling or negative reviews in the past, nor will I be unfair in the future, I hope. I try my best to provide both positive and negative aspects of a book in my reviews and give a little balance. But I also won't shy away from talking about how a book didn't work for me, even if I know an author personally or have conversed with them over social media. Because you wouldn't expect that of me, right?
This is a great post and I totally agree with you! It is a bit nerve-wracking reading a book by an author you're friends with, just in case it doesn't work for you but I think what you've written here is perfect and a great way to handle it xReplyDelete
Thanks, Carly! It really felt like it was weighing on me for awhile...Delete
Great post. I've struggled with posting bad reviews. It's nice to hear I'm not alone.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Gill! You definitely are not alone :)Delete
I completely agree, I get completely terrified when it's an author that I love and respect and talk to through social media and then I always fret about writing the review, but you're right. Just like we have to be able to separate the author from the book, others need to be able to separate our reviews from us. I always try to make a point of saying something about how I love the author/author's other books and that it's just personal opinion but these things didn't work for me in this particular book. Great post though, and it's always reassuring to know others feel like this too!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Rosy! Yes, it is reassuring that I'm not alone in feeling this way :)Delete
THIS IS EXACTLY HOW I FEEL and it scares me and then I don't want to read the book or write my review and ack, but that author sounds so nice. ^_^ReplyDelete
Glad you connected to this post! :)Delete
Really interesting post. Over the years I've been on the receiving end of all sorts of criticism in various media. Obviously it's great to get a good review, but it's really helpful to get reviews that are critical and informed, reviews that point out what doesn't work and why. Writers should be pleased that someone has taken the trouble to analyse what they've done. Unfortunately, there are critics (often in print) who seem to pick a film/book/TV show that they really don't like, then use their column to utterly destroy the work, showing how witty and barbed they are in the process. That's just trolling in another form, and I really don't see the point. If you hate something, just walk on. By contrast, your reviews often contain the sort of comments that editors give, and that is always interesting to hear. Good readers don't always say what you want to hear, but what they say is always worth listening to. Good readers are hard to find, and you are definitely a good reader!ReplyDelete
What a wonderful comment, thank you so much for that! xDelete
Aww, that was really sweet of the author :) I do get what you mean though, I made a few contacts with some authors last year and I just read one of their books - and it was okay. I'm kind of scared she'll see my Goodreads rating/mini review on Twitter :(ReplyDelete
It'll be fine, Rinn! I'm sure it will, even if she sees that you didn't love her books!Delete
I have a few author friends and at one time one of them thought I hated her book so she Dmed me saying "I hope we can still be friends." And I answered back with "Why would you think I hated your book? I loved it!" She explained how stressed out she was and nervous about the reviews she's been getting. It was so sweet of her to keep our friendship off the blogosphere. I love heeeeeeeeer so much!ReplyDelete
Glad you've had a positive experience with this.Delete
Yeah that's kind of a bad side effect of book blogging haha.But I agree with you that a good or bad review is nothing personal against the author. It's just one person's thoughts about that particular piece of work. I *hate* when I read one of my favorite author's novels and end up *really* disliking it. But I write about why, and then call it a day. I try not to get too hung up on the disappointment and let it deter me from reading their other books. But I know what you mean about meeting them and having all of these preconceived thoughts, and then getting ready to read something of theirs and be like...oh boy, I really hope this is excellent. hahaReplyDelete