This post is dedicated to everyone in the book community.
A huge shout out goes to Drew@The Tattooed Book Geek for inspiring me with his post. If you haven´t already be sure to check his thoughts on the subject out right here.
Unfortunately, this to-tag-or-not-to-tag-authors issue has been around for some time now. It pops up on social media and vanishes just as quick as it came. It´s no secret that many authors hate being tagged in review posts on social media. Why? Well, because it´s hurtful. It´s mean. It´s degrading and humiliating. How dare someone put an author on the spot like that.
That´s what people say. On a few occasions, I´ve seen some authors post something like this on their social media.
“It´s not nice to be tagged in a negative post. Please don´t tag me. It´s rude.”
And even some book bloggers will join in and offer their two cents into the mix.
„This is NOT okay. Do NOT be cruel by tagging authors in negative reviews.“
And I agree to some degree. I agree that you shouldn´t be a hurtful asshat then go off and rub it under an author´s nose. That´s about it, though.
Personally, I don´t see myself siding with the people who believe negativity is harmful. Because I´m the type of person who thinks negativity is necessary. Even if it´s a tag in a post that leads to a negative review. So, to answer the question above:
Yes, I tag authors in negative review posts. And if I´m honest, I don´t really lose a night´s sleep over it, either. I´m okay with sharing my opinions, positive and negative alike, and tagging the people who wrote the books I reviewed online because that´s what I do. That´s my purpose as a book blogger. I´m confident about my work and know that nothing I upload is harmful. Maybe thought-provoking but never harmful. Some book bloggers don´t write negative reviews at all, which is also okay. But I do and I can totally live with myself.
Now, before anyone who´s already disagreeing with me or thinking of accusing me of being mean, rude or tactless… Please hear me out because this isn´t meant to be rude or insensitive. This is just my take on the problem. Thank you in advance.
After having given this topic lots of thought I´ve come to less than pleasant conclusions as to what the real issues are.
#1 Tags are just tags. I think tags can be compared to flies. All´s good until one of those suckers manages to get inside your house and ends up bugging the shit out of you at night when you want to sleep. But, it´s just a fly, you know? That itsy bitsy little flying insect can be dealt with. Well, it´s the same with tags. The negative ones are annoying as well when they appear. Fortunately, tags can be dealt with. Unfortunately, some authors feel the need to lash out on social media. All because of a tag. I admit- this is interesting to see but I can´t help to feel uncomfortable. Why react when you could just deal with it? There´s always time to complain after having tried to iron out the problem.
#2 Some authors are spoiled. I know, it sounds so awful but if you think about it, it does make sense. From what I´ve seen, some of the authors who´ve complained about being tagged in negative review posts have been carried on a silver platter for so long by book bloggers they´ve forgotten that negative opinions exist. The end result is: They´ll throw an online tantrum via social media posts and complain about how rude it is to tag their name to a negative post.
#3 Some authors are picky. So, it´s okay to tag them in a positive review post but not a negative one. Because that´s what their complain posts say: “Do not tag me in a negative review post. That´s rude.” Or, am I missing something here? They´ll share/retweet a positive review post but will complain about a negative one. They´re basically rewarding good behavior online and protesting against an opinion they don´t approve of. If authors want feedback, they´ll get feedback.
#4 Negative reviews aren´t always truly negative. I´m sure many can agree with me on this one. There´s a huge difference between wanting to share an opinion and being a cold-hearted bitch on a mission. What helps here is just taking some time off to find out why there was negativity in the first place. If someone has said that the book wasn´t their cup of tea or that they weren´t able to bond with the characters then that can´t be classified as negativity and should be accepted without further ado. Didn´t like what I offered? I´m sorry you feel that way. I hope you´ll find time to check out my other works. I´m sure I have a book you´d like.
#5 Authors aren´t the only beings wanting attention. Shocking, I know. It´s hard to believe anyone else wants to make a name for themselves. This point is so damn obvious that it hurts to think about it. There are reasons why a book blogger will tag an author in a negative post.
- They want the attention
- They want the author to see the review
I can´t fault a book blogger for wanting attention. They have goals just as any author does. What can also come across as a little shocking is: Some book bloggers aren´t working their blogs for authors. They´re doing it for themselves and their followers who rely on their opinions. When they tag an author in a negative review post they´re saying:
“Just dropping by to let you know I read your book. I ended up not liking it.” And then they move on, allowing an author to check their review out. When this happens they don´t think about an author´s feelings just as an author won´t think about theirs. Is that terrible? I don´t think it is.
#6 Feelings. Some authors will not hold back and share their feelings. “Just stop and think about how this makes me feel.” * nod * * shaking head * Without wanting to sound like a complete bitch- Book bloggers should be mindful at all times? Book bloggers need to be considerate AND careful not to put a dent in a book´s reputation? This is asking for the impossible. Look, this whole thing is basically an exchange. Author publishes a book and book blogger/reviewer leaves a review. Not every book blogger can puke rainbows for everyone. Many reviewers aren´t interested in walking on eggshells.
#7 It´s about the book, not the author. This point can be tied with #4. Some authors fail to recognize that they´re selling a product. If someone doesn´t like the product they´re going to complain to the manufacturer. In most cases, that´s exactly what a book blogger is doing- letting the author know what they thought via social media tag. But authors take this personally because the books they´ve written are often considered to be their “babies”.
So, what´s the real problem here? Is it the review, the reviewer/book blogger or the tag? Or perhaps it´s an author?
The core of this evil is a combination of all four. Without the reviewer, there wouldn´t be a negative review and without both and social media there wouldn´t be a tag. And without some authors, there wouldn´t be complaints. Sounds like we could all be living wonderfully quiet lives, huh?
After having been a part of the book universe for so long I´ve learned that whatever you do, things won´t ever play out the way you want them to. You, as a book blogger, will always be judged. Your blog will always be judged. Your opinions and posts will be judged. You can be as fake or as genuine as you like- your critique ( no matter how mild or diplomatic ) will not be accepted. The same applies to authors: No matter what you write about there will always be people who´ll have strong opinions. You can´t keep away the hate. You can´t avoid a tag. You can´t prevent tags in negative review posts from happening. A post about it will not convince someone to stop.
Of course- all this is worthless when an author comes across a bitch on a mission. The book bloggers who are hateful and personal should rethink their blog philosophy and work on their social skills. Just as sensitive/stubborn authors who´re constantly offended by everything that´s not a praise should.
This is a community. We´re in it for a reason. We need each other to exist. Book bloggers depend on books to read and review and authors need readers and reviews. As annoying as negative tags are for authors, there not worth the fuss. Because in the end- It´s a tag.
So you see, there´s no win/win situation here. * sigh *
The key is to be civilized. If we can´t act in a civilized manner then we need to step away and breathe.
On a friendly note: As stated above- None of this is meant to hurt someone. I´m not pointing fingers at anyone in particular. I´m only sharing my observations. I´m positive many will disagree with me on this subject and some will actually agree.
On an even friendlier note: Remember- It´s okay. If you´re a book blogger who does or doesn´t share negative reviews on social media then you´re okay. You´re not going against any rules because there aren´t any. It´s also okay to tag authors in positive and negative review posts, as long as you´re being civilized, no harm is done. Always keep in mind that just because someone doesn´t approve doesn´t mean you´re doing something wrong. Tag authors. Give them feedback. Let them know you exist.
I´m afraid to ask: What about you? Do you care enough about this topic to chat about it? Do you tag authors in negative review posts? Let me know in the comments below. I´d love to chat.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you enjoyed. And if you didn´t then that´s okay.
I hope you all have a wonderful day.