Funny enough, today’s post was supposed to be a book review… But with all the Twitter drama around tagging authors in reviews, I needed to post an impromptu discussion post today about this!
If you’re not deep in the muck that is Twitter drama, here’s a bit of backstory to fill you in. If you already know all this, skip to the page break!
An author tweeted about it being rude to tag authors in book reviews.
Someone was basically like “Wait, what? Even for good reviews?” To which this author said yes, it makes it awkward for the author to be tagged regardless of if the review is good.
A bunch of authors weighed in saying they like to be tagged in positive reviews (but please don’t tag them in negative reviews). Other authors agreed they don’t to be tagged at all. Neil Gaiman weighed in.
A few people also ran some informal polls on Twitter, and the results were pretty mixed. I’m also going to assume that some of the authors who don’t want to be involved on Twitter and would probably prefer not to be tagged just because it clogs up their mentions didn’t answer here, so there’s likely an under-represented amount of “no tags” answers here.
I feel like the shit really hit the fan when someone made a comment about whether this rule is for “genuine readers” or people who get paid for reviews. This person has since set their account to private so I can’t find the exact wording. Some book bloggers FLIPPED OUT at this, insisting that bloggers are “genuine readers,” and most of us spend a lot of money on blogging and don’t make any money for reviews. The person did later clarify and apologize, saying she meant paid critics published in newspapers and not bloggers, and that using the words “genuine readers” was a bad choice. Lots of people got heated, there are really strong opinions on several nuanced sides.
Wow, that was a lot of background – sorry! Here are MY two cents.
Until today, I’ve always tagged authors in positive reviews. I don’t tag in negative reviews, and I have zero expectations that an author responds in any way when I tweet about a review of their book up on my blog.
When an author DOES respond, even if it’s just liking the tweet, it feels REALLY good. There have been times where an author has replied to a tweet as well and my BFF Ari will text me and be like “Did you see Mia Sosa replied to your tweet?! You’re basically famous!” It feels good to feel like you’re building a rapport with authors. I’ve got several authors who I started reading just because they were such amazing people on Twitter/Facebook/Insta. So yes, while positive interactions from authors can be super awesome, it’s always a BONUS and not something I’d ever expect them to take the time to do. As to Neil Gaiman’s comment about “If I want to see what you have to say I can always go find it,” how are you even going to know I exist?
Not gonna lie, tagging the author also can be a nice boost on MY end for views on that review from people who follow that author. Reviews are the LEAST popular post type on book blogs, and people are more likely to read reviews about books by authors they already know about. Tagging the author in a review post drives traffic to my blog, which drives visibility of that (positive) review of that author’s book, and I’ve always thought of that as a win-win for everyone all around. Then again, I’ve seen authors have crises of self-confidence based on negative things in reviews, and I can see how even small bits of criticism in a largely positive review could be derailing.
I spend $60 for a WordPress personal plan plus another $18 for my domain name each year. That’s not to mention money spent on giveaways and the like. I don’t run ads on my blog, I don’t have affiliate links, and I make zero money off my blog. I primarily post reviews because I’m excited to talk about the books I loved, and I want to share those books with other people. It makes me feel good when people pick up a book I recommended and tell me they loved it too. It makes me feel like I have a purpose, an impact, that I’m not just sinking all these dollars and hours yelling into the void.
I’m really sick of people shitting on book bloggers, and it takes a lot of the joy away from doing this and just causes a lot of heartache. As I write this I’m squashing down all these about-to-cry type of feelings. This is all happening at a kind of crappy time where I’m already struggling with what I want to do with my blog. My WordPress renewal is in a few weeks and I’m not sure I want to keep sinking money into my blog. It seems to cause more heartache than joy lately, between people shitting on bloggers every other week and the stress of feeling like I can’t read what I want to be reading (like rereads of a favorite series that I’ve already reviewed and this has no “value” to my blog) versus what I “should” be reading (egalleys which then require reviews to be written). Frankly, writing reviews is a pain in the ass and I’m ready to just stop writing them, but there’s a really big part of me that feels like that’s “letting down” authors. Which is SILLY because I don’t owe authors anything! *tears at hair*
Interactions – both with other readers and with authors – are what keep me blogging. I want to interact with people and I feel like tagging authors in posts helps drive that interaction, but I also don’t want to do something that’s going to hurt or upset authors.
TL;DR – I have no idea whether or not I should be tagging authors in positive reviews, and have a lot of feelings about this both ways. I JUST DON’T KNOW, YOU GUYS. What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments.