In light of the recent shenanigans that have been going on regarding authors and bookbloggers, I’m feeling the urge to grab my soapbox. While it’s usually (as in, almost always) a bad idea for me to stick my nose in where it doesn’t belong, in this case I feel a bit validated in doing so. So, let me roll up my sleeves and dive right in.
First of all, I know that it stinks to receive a less than glowing review. I understand that authors put their hearts into their work and it must be incredibly difficult to read a negative review. If I were to write a book, I know I’d be heartbroken by a poor review. Which is why I would choose to not read any reviews of my book at all. That’s an absolutely valid choice, authors: you can leave Goodreads to the readers.
Barring that, there are some great ways to handle negative feedback. You could read the constructive criticism, learn from it, and use it to improve your work. Or you could discount it and carry on about your business. Either way is fine. What is not fine is verbally attacking a reviewer because you disagree with their opinion.
Reviews are just opinions. That’s all. Not every book is for every person. What one reader loves, I might hate, and vice versa. It’s important to remember that one negative review does not mean your book is crap, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed as an author. It won’t kill your career.
What can kill a career is an unprofessional attitude. In this day and age, how a person presents themselves online will be seen and taken into account. Not only will other readers balk at reading a book written by someone who acts in a vindictive manner, publishers might also be wary of working with that person. Harassing a bookblogger, or other reviewer, online will be noticed and it will affect future interactions. Please be aware of that.
That being said: bookbloggers, we also have a responsibility. We have a responsibility to not sink to a low level as a retaliation. The way we present ourselves also matters. We can (and should) report authors on sites such as Goodreads when they go against policy, especially in a way that is blatant harassment. We should stick up against bullying in the bookblogging world. But we can do so in a mature way. Even when it’s tempting to call names, let’s avoid that.
Lastly, let’s all remember why bookbloggers do what we do: we love to read. Authors, we want to give glowing reviews. We want to shout about your excellent work from the rooftops. Our opinions can help get a book noticed. And of course we want new, amazing stories to read. Let’s continue to work together. You write ’em, we’ll read ’em (unless you throw a temper tantrum).
Now, I’ll pack up my soapbox and head back to my massive tbr pile.