There’s been a lot of tension between authors and bloggers over what bloggers say on their blogs. There hasn’t been a major blow-up recently, but it’s something that’s been on my mind because hundreds of book bloggers post at least once every single day, and sometimes the content within those posts isn’t something the writers would say in real life.
Blogging is hard; I get that. For smaller-name bloggers, it’s hard to get started. It’s hard to stay motivated. It’s hard to continue finding fresh content. It’s hard to try to make a name for yourself in the never-ending expanse that is the blogosphere.
And that is just blogging.
I won’t even go into running blog tours, corresponding with authors, staying up-to-date on information, making graphics, dealing with technical stuff and all the while juggling school, friends, family, work and life at large.
For me, at least, when I really don’t want to blog, I read other people’s blogs or reviews. I just read. In order to stay sane while blogging, you have to remember why you started blogging in the first place.
It was during one of these times that I ran into yet another hilariously critical review. I’m not going to name any names, but this is a blogger who consistently delivers content that is spot-on, critical and funny. Except it’s funny in a way that degrades and shames the author. I swear I’m not trying to break the mood here, but there’s only one quote I can think of that fits this kind of situation:
In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.
– Anton Ego, Ratatouille
In many ways, the work of a reviewer is easy, but I know too many bloggers who don’t really think about the author when they write their reviews. Now, I’m all for freedom of speech and all that goodness. What I’m not for is destroying an artist while trying to display your opinion.
There are bloggers who are right when they say what they say. Sure, what was the author thinking? Sure, the characters made really dumb moves. But to highlight reviews with curse words and gifs all over the place is really unnecessary. It does make the average review a little more entertaining to read, but while the blogger is right, they’re wrong at the same time. I can’t understand why saying something utterly degrading and deprecating is acceptable on the Internet but not in real life.
Some bloggers justify what they do by saying that they’re talking about the book, not the author. In my experience (and I could be wrong about some people), artists make art as a way of trying to relate to the world. In some cases, it could be a way for them to understand themselves or help others understand themselves. In many ways, blogging about art is very personal to the artist, and that’s something a lot of writers can relate to.
I can’t completely say that I’m free from my own accusations as well. I understand the blogger’s point of view, and in many of my early reviews I didn’t really pay attention to the authors I was blogging about. I have since edited or deleted those reviews and tried to reach out to the authors who read them.
As a blogger, I can’t help but admire the bloggers who are able to reach into a book and catch every little mistake, then make judgements about the book and its author (all the while backing up everything they say with passages for evidence). However, doing so often means going too far in reviewing.
I won’t say that I haven’t had my fair share of anger towards authors either. Too often, bloggers and authors don’t understand what the other side is like. That being said, I do want to mention that authors should keep in mind that bloggers (most of the time) don’t really mean what they’re saying in a personal aspect. Just because a blogger hated a book doesn’t mean that they hate the author. I’m good friends with authors who wrote books that I hated; that doesn’t mean I hate them, and they know that.
It’s always a difficulty for me to juggle a review where lines start to become blurred. I guess what I’m saying is, authors are people too, and sometimes even when a blogger is right, they’re wrong. Honesty is the best policy, but there are some things better left unsaid or phrased differently.
What do you think? Should bloggers be responsible for how other people right react to their reviews? Leave a comment below!