Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hey ladies, are we too nice to each other?

There's an article circulating on Twitter this morning (check it out here ) about female bloggers/reviewers, mainly in the YA world, who the author calls "faking nice." It's an interesting look at our little community here online but I'm not so sure I agree with all of her points and I'm actually still processing it all until I form an opinion, but while it's fresh I thought I'd post about it.

Are we too nice to each other? Too protective? Are reviewers not being honest enough in reviews of fellow female writers?

I'm not qualified to answer that but I have a theory. If this is indeed happening then wouldn't it have something to do with the fact that we do get to know a lot of writers on a personal level? Or so we think. Twitter, blogging, Facebook, etc all make it possible to get to know your favorite authors that wasn't possible years ago. Combine that with the huge popularity of both reading and writing YA and it's bound to change things.

As someone who's on two sides of the fence (running a fansite for a popular YA author while I write my own YA books) I can't say that I've only seen niceness happening out there. In fact, there are quite a few blogger/reviewers out there who I've seen become downright mean about books they hated. But what qualifications exist to become a book blogger or reviewer? Can't anyone start up a free blogger account or write a novel? Last time I checked, yes.

Some of us (myself included) intentionally choose not to post negative reviews, meaning I just don't say much about the books I don't like and instead choose to make a fuss over the ones I do. Is that right or wrong? Who knows, but it's my decision and one I'm happy with so I guess if someone were to come check out my blog they might say I'm "faking nice." Can't say the faking part is true but whatever.

I have a lot more I could say here from the writers aspect but that's a whole new conversation. Enough of my opinion! I'd love to hear what you think on this topic. Please take a minute to share your thoughts in the comments section to keep the conversation rolling.


Bethany Elizabeth said...

Well, I'm fairly new to the blogging world, so my opinion is only worth so much. But... I wouldn't say that there's anything wrong with the way female bloggers and writers relate to each other. I mean, too little negativity? Can that be bad?
Now, honesty is good, I wouldn't argue against that. But I haven't seen any reviews that have been less than positive where commenters rally to the defense of the author, saying she worked hard, or did her best. And why should the responsibility of nonpartially reviewing a book, especially a poorly written book, fall on the blogging population in general?
How can you be too nice? When you cross the line into lying and false encouragement, that's the line for me. But making sure the author knows that just because you dislike their work, you don't dislike them, can't be all bad, can it?
Maybe I'm out of the loop, but I haven't seen anything that supports Ms. McCarry's theory. Perhaps I naturally avoid those blogs? I don't know. But I think authors get enough rejection and criticism as it is, and having a blogworld of support may just keep many of us from going insane.
:) There's my two cents (more like two billion cents, but whatever.) Thanks for posting this blog! Very thought provoking.

Jennifer Walkup said...

I saw that article this morning too. Interesting topic but I'm not sure. I don't do book reviews at all on my blog, partially for that reason! I don't want to alienate other writers but I also don't want to lie if I don't like something. LOL

Elana Johnson said...

Oooh, interesting. I haven't read the article you referenced, so I'm not sure I should weigh in yet. But I'm with you. I want to project positivity to the world, that's why I keep any negative reviews, etc. to myself. Or my most trusted.

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

From what I've seen out there, people who have book review sites seem to be pretty honest. However, for writers who do the occasional review (which is what I do), I think most of us review books we love and choose not publicly review the ones we didn't.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rebecca,
I'm with you - I have two book blogs and tend to only write reviews about the novels I like. I do this for two reasons:
1. I'm not a professional reviewer, which means I buy my books or get them in from the library - and I tend to only buy/request books that appeal to me (increasing the chances I'll like them!)
2. I too am a writer (with an agent, chasing that elusive publishing contract) and I know how much effort goes into creating a novel - and how easy it is for someone to pull it apart in 25 words or less. I'm a fan of "do unto others"...
Occasionally I read a book I don't like. I just set aside and move on. Is that taking the easy way out? Maybe. But I can live with that. :)
(Great blog by the way. I've followed you across from Coldwater High).

KarenG said...

If you ever see some of the critiques authors gave each other in the "old days" and then think about how now even the bestselling authors don't say anything bad about their peers, you can see it's where we are now in the literary culture. Nice is what we all want in this harsh world. Authors never used to be nice to each other, and it was accepted. Not anymore.

Nishant said...

I'm fairly new to the blogging world
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Nishant said...

think most of us review books we love and choose not publicly review the ones we didn't.
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