Disclaimer: This disclaimer is not for bloggers but for authors who may stumble upon this post. I applaud you for putting yourselves out there for other to criticize. I appreciate you taking your time to visit book stores and libraries to touch the lives of teens. As a librarian, I have seen the impact your stores have on teens and it’s beautiful. I used the term “blogger bashing” in jest as I did not feel bashed during the event. The following post is to give bloggers and reviewers a little insight into the review portion of writing books.
Throughout the year, Twitter is buzzing with photos and tweets about Yallfest and Yallwest and Austin Teen Book Fest and Boston Teen Book Fest and I get so jealous because I live by two large metropolitan cities, Chicago and Milwaukee, and neither has a teen book festival. That was until now. The Book Cellar in Chicago hosted its first YA lit fest. It was an all day event with author panels and a signing. Featured authors included Andrew Smith, Sabaa Tahir, Jessie Ann Foley, Joelle Charbonneau, Carrie Mesrobian, James Klise, TM Goeglein, and more.
There were a couple of panels that I felt compelled to speak of.
Topic: External forces influencing writing (fan fiction, social media, other writing influences.)
Authors talked about social media such as Twitter and Goodreads and if they are on them. A couple admitted they were
still on Twitter but almost all of them said they were not on Goodreads. I knew that Goodreads could be brutal but I didn’t know that so many authors hated it-although I can see why, it’s brutal.
The topic of bloggers came up. After a couple minutes of blogger bashing, bloggers in the audience were asked to raise their hands and half of the room was bloggers. It was quite interesting to see what authors thought about bloggers and there were varied opinions.
Some authors felt like a small number of bloggers don’t care about writing honest reviews. They just want large blog numbers so that why can ask publishers for ARCs. Some authors hated ARCs and didn’t think this should be a service. An author felt unlike PW, bloggers are not professional reviewers. Some people will take offense to this sentence but everyone is entitled to their opinion, even authors. It’s the select few who purposely write mean reviews to get attention who have soured some authors. But for the vast majority who write reviews for whatever reason, our opinions are valid and we should continue to put it out there for the masses.
Some of the authors applauded bloggers for promoting their books and they see the positive impact bloggers have in the publishing world.
As a blogger, I thought it was interesting to hear what authors thought about us and I wasn’t offended. I like the ARC program and I, as many of you, obtain ARCs to read and review and not to try to “score free stuff.” A vast majority of us
have full time jobs and families and lives and we happily volunteer our time. The fact that anyone, including authors, know we exist is awesome.
Topic: The glamorous and not so glamorous truths about being a writer.
This was about their day to day lives and release day but what I want to talk about their reaction to bloggers and reviews. Yes, more blogger bashing, LOL.
Here’s what they understandably DO NOT like:
- Don’t personally attack them as a person or their family members. It’s okay if you don’t like their book. They understand that not everyone is going to like it but it doesn’t mean they aren’t going to be a bit miffed about it.
- They don’t like it when bloggers say that the author isn’t a good writer. And I’ll be honest, I’ve said that. One author said that comments like this question her abilities as a writer and that was hard to hear and I felt bad because I have critiqued writing. I won’t do that again.
- They don’t understand why bloggers say that the protagonist isn’t likable. They feel like unlikable people are more interesting.
- This one I have to slightly disagree with. An unlikable character to me is the kiss of death. I define unlikable as a character who doesn’t grow. If a character is horrible in the beginning but through friendships and life experiences they grow, it’s okay if they were a bastard.
- If the protagonist is meant to be likable, then they should be.
- If you blog a bad review, don’t tag that author on Twitter. You can tag them if you gave it a good review.
- Authors have coping mechanisms for horrible reviews. They wear the review proudly on t-shirts, they turn the review into beautiful origami, and they seek validation from peers.
- Authors don’t like it when bloggers/reviews say the book was, “okay.” For them, that is worse than saying it was bad. I have been guilty of saying a book was okay or meh.
- They love librarians-YAY!
- Some of the authors hate the ARC program so use your ARCs for good and not evil.
Overall, authors are people with feelings, so be respectful.
The day ended with a signing at The Book Cellar in Chicago.
It was a very informative day and I had a great time. I brought a couple of my teen patrons and they had a fantastic time. See YA next year!