Random Thoughts on Books and Blogging is my opportunity to discuss my bookish and blogging thoughts, whenever I feel like!
I’ve been thinking a lot about things that have happened around the blogosphere over the last couple of months and while I don’t want to comment on any specific incident, I do have some things I want to comment on.
I wish I could say that some of this drama reminds me solely of high school, but over the years I’ve learned that drama really doesn’t end after high school as I’ve found plenty of it at work, and I see it in the blogosphere as well. It’s frustrating to keep seeing some of the same things over and over.
Obviously everything I say here is my opinion and you are free to agree or disagree in the comments, but keep it friendly!
There is no “right” way to blog
If something bothers you about a blog then you have two choices: deal with it or don’t visit that blog. Telling them what to do with their blog isn’t really a choice. They have every right to do whatever they want on their blog, whether you like it or not.
There is no big rule book that says you have to blog every day or you can only have xxx on your sidebar or you have to do xxx amount of reviews a week. That’s not a thing. Nor should it be.
We all have different styles and different tastes. If all of us were the same life would be so boring! One of the best things about the book blogging world (and life in general) is that we are all different.
If you can’t say something nice . . .
I have no problem with getting a discussion going over a book I loved and you hated or vice versa. I think those types of discussions are awesome. But there is a difference between saying “I’m sorry you didn’t like the ending, I loved it because….” and saying “You’re stupid for not liking this book…”
There is one particular book that I hated with a burning passion for so many reasons, but a lot of people loved it. I’ve had some discussions with people about it and while I don’t understand why they love it, I can accept that they do, but I saw several comments (on both sides of the rating spectrum) calling people names for liking or not liking the book. There is no need for name calling!
If I don’t agree with what a blogger has said about a book I either state my counterpoints (politely) or I move on. There is no need to make it personal and say mean things.
. . . but you don’t have to only say positive things in reviews
Reviews should be honest, which means that most reviews aren’t going to be glowing 5 star reviews. Even 5 star books aren’t perfect. I’ve seen it around a couple of times that bloggers shouldn’t criticize certain aspects of a book (e.g. editing), bloggers shouldn’t write snarky reviews or bloggers should be easier on self published books than traditional published books. All this is ridiculous. Unless you are attacking the author on a personal level then you can say whatever you want about a book.
The only rating a book should have is the one YOU decide
I once got an anonymous comment on my blog back when I had first started telling me that my review was wrong. I compared a book I read to a movie I had seen before and I felt it was VERY similar and thus I didn’t really care for the book. The commenter said “Did you watch the movie? It’s not at all the same. Please becareful when you review.” (sic)
I’m a person, not a robot. I have feelings and life experiences. I have pet peeves and things that make me swoon. All of that comes to play when I’m reading a book. I can’t read “objectively” and I don’t know anyone else who can either.
The population as a whole is not going to give a book a 5 star or even a 4 star rating. In fact, if I could get a little bit mathy here, the majority of books for the population as a whole should have an average around 3.5. It’s called a bell curve and it is normal.
I can rate a book what I want and based on whatever I want. It can be based on feelings or the characters doing something I didn’t like or a plot twist that I loved. It’s my opinion and you can’t be wrong about an opinion.
Reviewers write reviews for readers not for authors
Shocking, I know. I love authors (obviously) but I don’t write my reviews for them. Reviews are for other people to decide if they want to read the book or not. Reviews are not written to “pump up” or “bring down” the author. I get that that is the effect that they can have, but that isn’t their purpose. Authors should read their reviews at their own risk.
If I am reading a book review I want that review to be honest, and if you are writing it for the author how could it be honest? It wouldn’t be, which is why they are written for readers not authors.
The internet is forever
Once you put something on the internet it is there forever. Even if you take it down it can still be there (hello, screen shots!). Remember in school they would remind you to think before you speak? Now it’s think before you post or tweet. I get angry sometimes, everyone gets angry sometimes. But sharing your feelings on the internet may not be your best choice of action.
Take a minute and think about what you are saying and why you are saying it. Also tone is hard to convey over the written word. If your words sound even remotely aggressive that’s how people will interpret it.
With all that said . . .
I love the book blogging community and right now I can’t imagine my life without all these awesome people. But I wish we could all play nice and just have fun!
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