But it's been only six days into 2012 and we've had six days of drama and overall nastiness. This is not what the blogosphere is about, and I need to get this off my chest.
First up, disclaimer: I am not attacking or pointing fingers at anyone. I'm not linking to anything or anyone and this is just my opinion on how stuff is going down. I tried to keep out of it, but it's really bothering me how this is developing in some sort of war between bloggers and authors. It's damaging the relationship between authors and bloggers, and it's bothering me.
It's been a recurring issue with bloggers who choose to post negative reviews about books, whether they are harsh or polite. Bloggers explain why they didn't like the book, or why they had issues with the book, and authors are hurt by it and publicly take it out on the blogger who wrote the review.
It doesn't stop there. There have been leaked bashing e-mails, nasty remarks that were aimed at the blogger instead of their review, Amazon and Goodreads review debacles and problems on twitter. Everyone is getting pulled into it and it's not working any favors for anyone.
I completely understand that a negative review can shake an author. I completely understand that it can hurt, will make you angry, possibly make you cry. A book feels like a part of you when you've written it and put so much of yourself in it. But it is not you, even though you shine through it. You are not your book. Book bloggers are here because they love reading and books, and they post review to share their opinion on the books they read. Sometimes that's not a positive opinion, but everyone is entitled to voice whatever they think. Book bloggers will be honest in what they think of the books they read. Which means that they can say stuff about a book that you as an author will not like to hear. It's unavoidable, there will be less than awesome reviews, I can guarantuee that.
But here's the thing. When you are upset by a review, vent to your partner, friends, pets or your car. Never take it out on the blogger or your (potential) readers and certainly don't do it in public. Don't do anything. Don't go complaining in public. Carry it with class, and you'll gain readers. Get on your high horse and take it out on the reviewer or make it personal by attacking the person behind the review, and you'll lose (potential) readers. It's unprofessional to terrorize a blogger or reviewer who has posted a negative review on your book. Would you have done the same if it was the NY Times? You'll only shoot yourself in the foot, and the only one having to deal with that is you.
Don't get me wrong - this is absolutely not a lecture towards anyone. It's me telling everyone to handle it with dignity. Things have escalated and are getting completely out of hand. Bloggers blog because they love books and reading, and most really enjoy being able to interact with the people writing the stories. But when sharing your opinion is getting you the trash that some bloggers are getting these days, it's going too far.
Bloggers are not here to dicourage readers to pick up your book. They are not here to tell people they shouldn't buy your book. I don't know any blogger who would do such a thing. They are here to share their thoughts and say what they think of a book in the form of honest reviews. Bloggers, myself included, write reviews for readers, not for authors. A negative review doesn't mean lost sales or a loss of possible readers. It means it wasn't for this particular reader. I think we should respect that.
Not every book is for everyone, but every book is for someone. It's impossible to make everyone love the same thing, but it is possible to share your thoughts without slamming the people behind it. Let's not make it personal. Let's keep things pleasant. Because authors write the stories we bloggers want to read, and bloggers talk about your books. Let's keep it that way.