Tagging authors in reviews was recently (a couple of weeks ago but I am lazy and this post has been in the works since then) in the spotlight after Angie Thomas (The Hate U Give and On the Come Up) tweeted – you can find the Guardian article link – !!HERE!! and her twitter thread about it – !!HERE!! She initially said not to tag authors in ALL reviews (which garnered her a lot of hate) and later clarified/changed her stance to tagging authors in negative reviews. I’m not getting involved in all that but I will say that if she doesn’t want to be tagged in any reviews then that is her choice and should be respected. It is not, however, up to her to tell people not to tag ALL authors in reviews. I’ve read parts of the thread and it was just a poor choice of wording on her part and a limited character count that meant the meaning was lost. She did apologise and she did rectify what she meant but, of course, the Internet and the haters had already jumped all over her. Another example of how toxic the Internet and social media can be for those who dare to express their opinion.
As I said, this post has been in the works since the incident but I’m lazy and reading and procrastination win out over blog post writing! However, Dave at EspressoCoco posted about this subject on Friday, I read his post, commented and decided that I’d kick my ass into gear and finish my own post. His post is well worth checking out and you can find a link to the post – !!HERE!!
Like flasher gremlin revealing himself, I will now reveal my own thoughts on the subject!
I don’t tag authors or publishers in negative reviews. I honestly don’t see the point. I’m lucky in that most of the books I read, I love. I’m good at picking what I like and more often than not, I do like it. If I didn’t enjoy the book then I would write a middling or even a negative review (many don’t and that is OK too) but I wouldn’t then tag the author in the tweet and rub it in their face that I thought their book was a pile of garbage and a piece of shit. No, I would post it on my blog (Amazon and Goodreads too), ignore it and let it fade away. That puts the review out there for any who choose to read it and allows me to get on with reading something that I will hopefully enjoy, something that I can then shout about and something that I can help spread the love for. Cos, really, I ain’t got time for that shit! There’s enough crap going on in the world that I don’t want to waste my time wallowing in books that I didn’t like. Also, I mean, it’s rude, it’s cruel and if you visited someone’s house would you really shit on the floor?! No?! Well, don’t tag authors in negative reviews then! If the author wants to look at negative reviews then they can easily find them on sites like Amazon and Goodreads and blogs too (if they choose to read blogs) without you tagging them in the review.
I would also say that it is attention-seeking on the part of the person who tagged the author (especially on some counts) as they know full well that they will get a reaction from the tagging and the review. Before anyone says that the author is quite capable of ignoring the review and not giving the review a reaction. Yes, they are and they should! But, many of those people who tag authors in negative reviews then go on to complain when said author ignores the tweet and doesn’t reply to them. So, sadly, the author can’t win. You are shouting “look at me, I hated your book” simply for the response. What do you expect from the author in return?? A gracious thanks after you have just called their book a pile of shit?? Seriously, that is not going to happen! Let’s be honest too, lots of negative reviews tend towards the personal too and veer away from simply disliking the book to bashing on and hating the author too which isn’t something that they need to read!
Now, I will say to authors please don’t interact with a negative review! Reading is subjective and a reader is well within their rights to have found issues with or to even have outrightly disliked your book. You, interacting with them and replying to the review telling them that their opinion is wrong isn’t on…Not. At. All. As I said, reading is subjective, if someone loves a book chances are that somewhere in the world there will be someone else who dislikes it. Authors, you need to deal with that. Yes, you are putting your work out there, a part of your heart, your soul and it may well anger you and hurt you (I feel for you, truly, I do. I have had negative feedback on blog posts and, no, I’m not comparing a blog post from an unknown blogger like myself to an author and their book. Only saying that it sucks when you read something negative and it fucking hurts) when someone dislikes your work but go about it in a mature manner, pull up your boxers, briefs, thongs and granny pants, ignore it, let it go and move on. Don’t retaliate, don’t tell the reviewer that they are wrong (you may not like it but they aren’t), don’t make it into a witch hunt against the reviewer and don’t advocate your fans hating on the person for disliking your work either.
I will say, you often see authors, publicists and even other bloggers too asking you to remember to post your reviews, telling you to leave a review and “feed an author”. Now, that works both ways. You have to take the good with the bad and if you WANT reviews then that means that you must accept ALL the reviews. Be they good, bad or indifferent! In that case, ignore the bad and celebrate the good!
So, no, I don’t tag authors in negative reviews. I haven’t had to write one for a long time and fingers crossed I won’t have to either. I read to escape, obviously, that means that I want to spend my time reading books that I love and, subsequently shouting about them too!
I don’t tag authors in middling (3/3.5 star) review tweets either. Let’s face it, many authors are cool with that rating and see it as the reviewer enjoyed the book but also had some issues with it. Hell, I’ve seen plenty of authors share that type of rating review on their social media and be happy that the reader liked the book even though they had some problems with it. However, some still see that as a negative review (cos anything less than a glowing 5-star review is bad to them) and that could lead to unwanted hassle for the reviewer. I’m not saying that to protect the author from the travesty of a 3.5-star review and to wrap them in cotton wool. I’m saying that to protect the reviewer because, personally, I wouldn’t want hassle from an author for a middling review. You know “I liked it, I didn’t love it but I liked it and, yeah, I had some issues, some problems but I enjoyed it” and sadly, the author won’t see that, will dislike the rating, not accept the issues (that are valid as reading is subjective) and could well get their briefs/bloomers in a bunch and cause hassle over being tagged in the review. For me, I can be quite blunt and if I was called out on it it wouldn’t end well and, so, it is best that I don’t bother!
However, I do tag authors in positive reviews! All. The. Time! Some people don’t and that is their choice, I do.
If I have seen an author specifically ask not to be tagged in ANY reviews then I will accept that it is what they want and that should be respected. Many avoid all reviews, but, there are lots of authors out there who are big on interactions with their fans, sharing reviews of their own work and conversing with their readership too. For me, if I haven’t seen anything like the author asking not to be tagged then as far as I’m concerned it is fair game to tag them (the publisher too) in a review. It doesn’t matter if it is someone like Stephen King down to a relatively unknown Indie author. I will tag them and then it is up to them if they choose to interact with the review or not.
Sure, an unknown indie author is more likely to care and to interact with the tweet and share the review than Mr King who will probably choose to completely ignore the tweet and the review and will never even see it on their feed anyway. Again, that is their choice (not gonna lie, if someone of the calibre and popularity of Mr King did actually like or retweet a review it would be absolutely fantastic for the reviewer). However, regardless of who it is, their reputation and how well known they are by tagging them in the review I am giving them the opportunity to see the review, to know that it is there.
The tweet is simply me saying “Hi there Sir/Madam. Should you choose to read it this is my review, thank you for the wonderful few hours I spent lost in your book, I absolutely loved it”.
As a blogger, I don’t expect anything from the author and that’s not why I tag them in my reviews. It is their choice if they like the tweet, retweet/quote the tweet and share it on their own social media. Same for the publicists and the publishers too. It is NOT expected but it is always APPRECIATED. It is a little acknowledgement that the review (which, for most of us we put time and effort into writing) matters and that it has been seen (even if it hasn’t been read). I will say that it is noticeable when authors and publishers don’t share reviews of their books but, what can you do?? Such is life, some do, some don’t! It is also noticeable when you see that authors only share reviews for certain established blogs and websites and ignore the small blogs, the inconsequential nobodies (yep, that’s me) as it makes you wonder if your review and your voice even matter! 😦 The answer to that is, yes, they do! We don’t review for authors, reviews are for readers and our voice, our view and our opinion matter!
Side note: Authors, take note, small blogs, those that fly under the radar are just as worthy and their opinion just as valid as the established websites when it comes to reviews! So, if you are an author who does interact with their reviews and who shares them on their social media accounts then please share the little blogs, the little guys and girls who review too! We might not be Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, other large genre websites/blogs or a revered and respected literary critic but, like them, we are readers, we shout about the books we love, we matter and (most of us) are fucking awesome. When we tag you in reviews we don’t expect anything but that retweet, that little slice of acknowledgement can really brighten a bloggers day and it can really make them feel like the effort of the review was worthwhile. If not, either way, that’s cool and no worries we are simply tagging you to let you know in our own little way that we enjoyed/liked/loved your book and we are thanking you for writing it.
To conclude, yes, I tag authors (and the publishers) in my positive review. We buy a book, we read the book but we don’t owe the author a review. Likewise, an author doesn’t owe us a like, a retweet or a share of our review. Chances are that most don’t care anyway and why should my opinion matter to them?? It doesn’t! However, if I loved a book then I want people to know, other bloggers, other readers (ya know, those couple of people who read my blog) and the author too. So, I tag authors in positive reviews because maybe I care that they, at least have the opportunity to know that I have written a review and that I loved their book.
So, my fellow bloggers, do you tag authors in your reviews?? If no, why not?? if yes, why??
Authors, do you want to be tagged in review tweets?? If yes, why?? If no, why not??
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