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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More Authors and Bloggers Freaking Out about One Another

Bookalicious Pam has a cool post today on another recent instance where a blogger writers a negative review and the author lashes out in a less than professional way.

Read and enjoy. But oy, sometimes I wish we could have a big roundtable and discuss all this stuff-- I get the sense that several years in, we're still figuring out the edges of this new world of book blogging. We have writers who desperately want to control the message and bloggers who don't quite grasp that the writers are always just a click away, just virtually right at the next desk.

You want to know what happens to cause the writer above to act the way this one in the blog story did? I've seen it before in writers and artists. They read a comment and a million things go through their heads: oh my god! What if someone out there were to read only one review, and this one is it? This one! And they lash out. Writers: seriously try not to do this.

Writers overreact because we perceive that web buzz about our books is important. And it is. We can't claim that reviews online don't matter when we know that seeing positive reviews makes a reader judge your book more positively, and a reader thinking of buying your book may be dissuaded by a negative review. Either social networking matters or it doesn't, and it does.

So if blogs matter, the negative reviews matter. I would hope that I personally would never freak out and say nasty things to a blogger, but what I and the author in question have in common is both of us are looking at a portfolio of reviews and we value bloggers very highly.

For what it's worth? I don't write negative reviews myself anymore; there's plenty to read out there, so if I don't like something I move on. But I'm a writer; your mileage may vary.


  1. I have written several critical reviews where it made readers want to buy the book!

    Let's say I said:

    "I really didn't like the boarding school setting, I went to public school so I can't really judge how boarding school life is, also I felt the characters relationship was too insta-love for me."

    Then I get comments like:

    "OMG I LOVE BOARDING SCHOOLS! I love insta-love I can't wait to read this book Pam!!"

    Sometimes I really think my negative feelings relate to honesty more than my gushing love of a book.

  2. Great point about neg reviews that kind of throw out a discussion. And I recently wrote a review that went into everything I liked about a book, then said, "but for me there's something missing here and I think it's x and y." So I take it back, I've written critical reviews. But anyway, I'm not against them from other people, I just tend not to write them.

    But we both know what kind of behavior we're *really* talking about.

  3. Love your perspective here. Nothing like a little maturity and... oh, I don't know, dignity about these tricky situations. :)

  4. Personally, I don't rely on blogs when I'm choosing a new book to read. I'm all about the first few lines of a book... either they grab or they don't. What other people have to say about a book has little to no influence on what I choose to read.

  5. Melissa-- that's a great point! Though personally I can report that I do take what I read online into account when deciding whether to read a book-- in fact I go out of my way to avoid online commentary in cases where I just don't want to know because I intend to read it anyway. :)