Showing posts with label social media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label social media. Show all posts

Monday, December 19, 2016

When Authors Reply to Reviews and Why This is a Problem | #AuthorsBehavingBadly

I've talked about #AuthorsBehavingBadly on Social Media in general before, but replying to reviews is a whole different matter that absolutely deserves its own post in my opinion.
Many authors who have just had their first book published and are slowly getting their first reviews or are simply not very active and well-versed in book community etiquette, will probably end up doing this.

Not all authors who comment on reviews have a malicious intention and I'm going to start of talking about those authors that really -just didn't know- they aren't supposed to comment.


Scenario 1: You wrote a good review and the author is commenting to say something nice

Why it's not cool
While this is clearly just a nice gesture of the author, or at least meant as such, this is an invasion of safe space. Reviewers sort-of exist in this bubble universe of the book industry. Iit's absolutely okay to share a positive review of your book that you liked, that's what they're for after all - but oh boy, please, please don't comment. Not even to say thanks. Just don't. Tweet the review if you like, share the link if you like, we appreciate it, but please don't comment.

When it's okay
Should you have gotten tagged in the review, this is a whole other story.

See, it all comes down to consent. Reviewers aren't interested in discussions with authors unless they are actively seeking those out. I wouldn't be reviewing if any and every author commented on my reviews. It just doesn't feel safe, you're feeling obligated to be nicer than you usually would have, you're not really able to express your opinion without cringing at the thought of the author reading it - it's just a mess.

So unless you have been sent the review, your comment isn't wanted.

Scenario 2: You wrote a negative review and the author is going "um, actually" on you


Why it's not cool
This is probably the nightmare of every reviewer. Having to justify yourself to the artist. - I get it, your books are your babies and you poured your heart and soul into this, but welcome to the real world. People will dislike your work and it will happen frequently and this is a thing you have to be able to deal with professionally, else, you're probably not in the right industry. 

I'm sorry but this is just making thing unnecessarily hard for everyone. The reviewer's irritated, the author's probably angry, the possible readers are weirded out. Why would you want that?

When it's okay
No matter what the reviewer said and no matter how much you think they're wrong, doing this is never ever ever ever ever okay. Even if you are sent a review, bashing reviewers is a no no. 


"Okay, so you say this isn't good, but I'm still going to comment, I don't care. They're wrong, I'm going to call them out."

The thing is, I'm addressing this in the first place because it is a problem. Recently a dear friend of mine has quit blogging after an author with a medium-sized following decided to unleash their fury on them. 

  • Completely ignoring that this is cyberbullying - is that really the message you want to convey?
  • To have bloggers be scared to be scalded whenever they leave a negative review?
  • To make bloggers want to quit reviewing?
Time and time again I have to say that reviewers deserve respect, that we are a vital part of the publishing industry and that without us, many NYT-bestselling authors wouldn't be where they are right now.


So what have we learned?
  • Reviewers want their safe space and deserve their safe space
  • Respecting boundaries also includes biting your tongue when encountering negative reviews
  • Putting negativity into the world will probably come to bite you in the butt eventually. (RE: the stories of the cyberstalking/cyberbullying authors who aren't selling books anymore now, you know the ones)


How do you feel about authors replying to your reviews? 

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

On #AuthorsBehavingBadly Online and What to Do So I Will Never Buy Their Books EVER | YA Talk



Many people who are active in the blogging community have probably interacted with authors at some point or have witnessed their interactions with other readers. 

Here are some things I've witnessed. Feel free to add your own stories.

Note: I won't mention any names here, only paraphrase stories that have already gone viral, cause, ya know, the message of this post is bullying isn't cool. Also they're sort of old news.



  • What not to do on twitter

Subtweeting on twitter and/or talking down to their readers and/or bloggers.

Every year around BEA or ALA time we have the same spiel. The old discussion whether bloggers deserve to be at conventions because some excessively snatch ARCs and sell them online.  And every year my so-called Blacklist of authors who will never gain any exposure or profit from me grows. It's value to know when not to say anything at all - there are enough authors who are hateful and mean towards bloggers.

It's not cool to write mean things about the people that essentially pay your bills by buying and/or reviewing your stuff.

Retweeting people who subtweet readers and bloggers. 

Retweeting seems like an easy way to state your opinion without actually having to talk trash. While it's very tempting, to me this doesn't make it any different from you writing an actual tweet. It makes you all the less sympathetic because I'll just think you're too cowardly to actually say what you're thinking in the fear that people may quote you.

I always wonder whether these people would actually dare to say these things to people's faces, there are too many authors to mention who are ready to hate on any and everyone who doesn't agree with them. Bullying is never cool, especially not if you're in the public eye. You're a role model for people. Remember that.

  • What not to do on Goodreads

Goodreads is a great platform for readers to discover new books and authors to get more exposure. But apparently, some people just don't understand the concept of boundaries.

Too often I see authors commenting on reviews, trying to justify their work, and too often this leaves reviewers startled. 

A particular case that gained quite the noticeable amount of attention is that of a well-known author attacking a well-known blogger and basically slandering them publicly because they didn't like their book, leaving anonymous comments, basically cyberstalking them and calling them out everywhere. The story even made it to Publishers Weekly.

Or that one author who showed up at a reviewer's house after they left a negative review on Goodreads. That story made it to The Guardian, of course, putting all the blame on the reviewer.

Stuff like this makes me want to quit blogging completely and tell everyone else to as well. So incredibly disappointing and discouraging - usually you see authors say "hey, please review my book it helps me so much" - but then you see other authors do stuff like that.


  • What not to do on your personal blog

While I am very much for freedom of speech and consider blogs to generally be a safe space, authors don't have the privilege of being able to "say what they want" because it's "their blog".

I think a certain degree of professionalism is a must for authors. It's a privilege to be a published writer, and one of the downsides is that people aren't going to like controversial (negative) opinions coming from them.

I've seen authors talk trash about negative reviews, complain, complain, complain about how reviewers aren't understanding their book, and generally being bitter about the lack of success.  Even screenshotting bad reviews and inviting their followers to attack the reviewer!

Think for a second here - what benefit does this serve? Do you genuinely think this is helping? Helping me to decide whose book not to buy, maybe.


  • What not to do on tumblr

Tumblr is known for its avid fandom culture. People make edits, people write fan fiction, and people ship characters. It all stops being fun when the author decides it's "hello kids I'm here to ruin the fun " time and starts to comment on every single headcanon of their book and to state what's actually canon according to them. 

Again, this isn't a "I witnessed this one time" thing. This happens quite often and i physically do not understand why authors think it's okay to barge in on fan conversations.

  • If they get tagged or receive a personal message, okay! Be my guest, glad you replied! 
  • If someone actively reaches out to them and ASKS them, okay! 
  • BUT don't just search a tag and decide to ruin everyone's fun by telling them how wrong they are one by one.

The thing is- people can see you, dear authors. 

People check your social media, typically after they have read one of your books or are planning to buy one. It's so, so, so important to keep your mouth shut about some topics that may offend. I'm not saying that you can't express opinions, but sprouting offensive and hateful non-sense and treating your readers horribly doesn't seem like a smart idea, does it? 

If you're one of those people that has too many opinions that may offend, hire a publicist to handle your official account and post your opinions on your personal, non-public account.



The four golden rules for authors on social media

  1. Don't say anything that you wouldn't say in an interview in person
  2. Don't talk trash about the people who pay your bills, oh my god, I can't believe I actually have to say this
  3. Don't chime in on conversations about your book that no one invited you to
  4. DON'T BE A BULLY


Who is on your author blacklist?



More on the Author / Reader relationship:
More YA TALKs

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Monday, April 11, 2016

[Review] Follow Me Back - Nicci Cloke: Unreliable Narrators, Disappearances, and Douchebags




In FOLLOW ME BACK, Aidan's classmate Lizzie disappears. When he gets approached by her best friend Marnie, they start investigating her disappearance.

What intrigued me: The cover promises an interesting mystery involving social media.

Why should we care?

FOLLOW ME BACK really isn't what it promises to be. I got teased by the cover and the premise surrounding the disappearance. Sadly, there isn't much to this book aside from this. The biggest problem this novel has is that there is no reason for the reader to care about Lizzie. GONE GIRL for example, works with a similar premise but makes sure to add little snippets to familiarize the reader with the disappeared character and makes sure that we care. I just missed that with FOLLOW ME BACK.

Like this, I wasn't interested in solving the mystery around Lizzie's disappearance and surely didn't root for Aidan either. The mere fact that this is advertised as being a novel including an unreliable narrator makes FOLLOW ME BACK insanely predictable, cliche, and boring. We know Aidan has something to do with it from the start, and therefore the plot twists don't come as a shock. The mundane scenes we have to go through for world establishing aren't helpful either. FOLLOW ME BACK really wants to be a thriller, but is only a mediocre mystery with very predictably acting, unlikable characters.

Social media is terrible and we're all going to die

FOLLOW ME BACK has a lot of potential. If I look over the fact that it's impossible to care for Lizzie, and that the mystery isn't really much of one - Aidan is a terrible main character. He hardly has any personality and frequently slut-shames and judges girls by their appearance, which I'm so, so, so tired of reading about. The whole story doesn't read like it's written from Aidan's perspective, really, because the narration is really shallow and he doesn't have a distinctive, memorable voice.

For being a book with a cover that insinuates having roots in social media, most of the novel just desperately tries to tell us how bad social media is and how dangerous and shallow it all is. I'm just not a fan of it. It reads like Cloke is talking down to her audience, seeming patronizing, and I cannot stand that. In the age of technology, social media is just necessary - this pseudo cautionary tale just doesn't work. Especially because none of the characters in FOLLOW ME BACK actually talk real teenagers do online. I was expecting more than just the occasional lazy conversation, more illustrations, more "following" and less "social media is bad and you're literally going to die if you use it."


Rating:

☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

FOLLOW ME BACK has the potential to be an interesting novel about a disappearance, much like Jennifer L. Armentrout's DON'T LOOK BACK, but really didn't grip me.


Additional Info

Published: February 4th 2016
Pages: 288
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Genre: YA / Thriller
ISBN: 9781471405082

Synopsis:
"A thrilling read, for fans of Gone Girl and We Were Liars.

There was no sign of a struggle, they whisper to each other. She took her phone but left her laptop behind.
Apparently, she'd met someone online, they write to each other in class, phones buzzing.
She ran away. She was taken.

The first time Aiden Kendrick hears about Lizzie Summersall's disappearance is when the police appear at his front door. He and Lizzie used to be friends; they aren't anymore. And when Aiden finds out that Lizzie had been talking to strangers on Facebook; that the police think she went to meet one of them, he begins to wonder how well he ever really knew her, and Aiden doesn't know it yet, but with Lizzie's disappearance his life is about to take a twisted and desperate turn.
 "(Source: Goodreads)

Do you like unreliable narrators?

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