authors · On Writing · Random Musings · Reviews · Writing Advice

Tagging Authors In Reviews

Thanks to Angie Thomas, a much-needed and celebrated voice in contemporary YA fiction, the subject of tagging authors in readers’ reviews has exploded over the last few days.

Why is it such a big deal? Well, there’s a lot of back and forth between those for and those against tagging authors in reviews, especially when it comes to sharing negative ones.

Those for argue that they want to help an author they enjoyed, and expect the author to show gratitude that they’re spreading the word about their work. Consensus also seems to be that even negative reviews have a place in being brought to the author’s attention.

Those against argue that as soon as the book’s published, it’s no longer the author’s, really – it’s the reader’s. And any review the reader wants to share should stay amongst those it’s actually meant for.

As for my side of the fence, I am AGAINST tagging authors in negative reviews. With positive reviews I can see both sides, I understand why someone might want to show the author how much they squealed over that person’s work and how much it meant to them.

But in my eyes, nobody needs to be going about their day, only to get the “ding!” notification and see that they’ve been dragged about something in a novel they spent years working on.

I’ll try and explain why tagging an author in a bad review is not only in bad taste on the reviewer’s half but also unproductive.

Number one is that there’s only so many people’s feedback an author can listen to and implement in their work. For example, here I took “Planet of the Apes”:

Reviewer #1: Loved the romance but wish there were less monkeys.

Author: Right…. romance but less monkeys… got it.

Reviewer #2: LOVED THE MONKEYS. All the monkeys. Maybe include lemurs next time? Less of the romance, though.

Author: Oh….. so more… monkeys?

Reviewer #3: EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT AND I ADORED IT. WOULDN’T CHANGE A THING!

Author: …….. so don’t change the monkeys?

Reviewer #4: This was a garbage fire, DNF’d at 20%.

Author: *grabs bottle of wine*

Authors cannot possibly please every single reader. While one reader might have an issue with the writing, another won’t even notice it and simply enjoy the story.  While one might love the protagonist, another might hate them with a passion.

It’s understandable, then, that authors primarily write for themselves (or they should, because it’s damn hard to write for people whose reaction you can’t predict), and hope it resonates with their audience. Since the book is published, there’s a good chance it already resonated with an agent, an editor, their aquisitions team, and more editors who then worked to get it to the best possible version of itself before it hits shelves.

Authors write with the understanding nobody reads the same book. That’s why readers have different favourite characters, or favourite scenes in novels, it’s why some didn’t gel with the plot, or writing, or concept, where others might not be able to get enough of it all. It’s totally fine to have a different opinion, and to discuss it or post it on platforms other readers can see and make judgement calls for themselves.

With all this in mind — why would a singular reader believe tagging an author in their 1* or 2* negatively aspected review, think it is justifed? That the author must read it, and understand that their opinion should be included amongst the editors, agents, and publishers who helped get the book out?

I’ve seen it reasoned that the tagging-reviewer wants to help the author – that in some way their review might assist the author in understanding where they could do better in future. That they only want to help, and so they want the author to read the criticisms they had personally with the novel.

In some cases criticism is justified – harmful represenation, problematic plot, glorification of things which shouldn’t be glorified – this is 100%  necessary to voice because it could have a bigger impact than the readership. Books influence society, because they’re a form of art. Society consumes art. And I believe all art forms should not only be accessible and enjoyed, but critiqued so that we can learn from it.

Though… let’s say there’s nothing serious to point out about a book, such as a harmful racial stereotype or glorifying an abusive relationship, and that the tagging-reviewer simply disagrees with a plot point or character arc. Again, it’s not really clear why the reviewer would find it necessary to inform the author of their opinion where there is **nothing the author can do about it**. The book is out. In the world. In people’s hands. And if the author enjoys writing dystopias about primates taking over the planet, as long as there’s an audience who wants it, they will continue to write it.

It’s likely the publishers, agents, editors, will pick up on anything consistently pointed out in reviews and feed it back to the author to improve on in future. We all make mistakes, it’s how we learn. Authors want to get better at their craft.

But believing a singular opinion needs to be given directly to the author – who at the point of seeing the tag might be having a bad day, may be struggling, wondering if this is the career for them, even if they’ve had 15 books already published because **anxiety and imposter syndrome is a thing** – is not considerate. It’s entitled.

Do you want the author to notice your (negative) opinion? Ask yourself why.  If it isn’t to engage in a discussion about something harmful, why do you want to tell the author you didn’t like their book? Chances are if you didn’t like it, you’re simply not the audience for it. I’m personally not a fan of Justin Bieber’s back catalogue but I wouldn’t tag him in my 1* review of how “Baby” got stuck in my head too many times.

Plus, the whole thing is just plain tacky, I mean… come on. You wouldn’t like it if you posted some artwork online, or simply did your day job, and someone came along with a huge red ‘F’ and stuck it on your forehead, declaring to the world that they, a person, did not like The Thing You Created.

So before there’s any more debate about why it’s justified, I would like people to think why they feel the author should be grateful they took the time to include them in their distribution of a bad review.

They should be grateful the author wrote the book at all. Art is necessary, now more than ever. And we should be showing our support and kindness for creating in a world of destruction.


Editing services:Cover to Cover Edits

Twitter: @jadewritesbooks

 

 

authors · Blog Tours · Book Things · Just For Fun · NetGalley · publishing

SPOTLIGHT on THE CASTAWAYS by Jessika Fleck

TheCastaways1600.jpg

THE CASTAWAYS is released TODAY! And I’m lucky enough to be part of the Blog Tour, with a special spotlight post and giveaway where you can win some cool swag (or an Amazon gift card, if you’re international ie: not the US of A)

The Castaway Carnival: fun, mysterious, dangerous. Renowned for its infamous corn maze…and the kids who go missing in it.

When Olive runs into the maze, she wakes up on an isolated and undetectable island where a decades-long war between two factions of rival teens is in full swing. Trapped, Olive must slowly attempt to win each of her new comrades’ hearts as Will—their mysterious, stoically quiet, and handsome leader—steals hers.

Olive is only sure about one thing: her troop consists of the good guys, and she’ll do whatever it takes to help them win the war and get back home. But victory may require more betrayal, sacrifice, and heartbreak than she’s ready for.

I already received an e-ARC of this via NetGalley, which I’m super stoked to read. The review will be up very shortly.

In the mean time, we have an excerpt of the book to whet your appetite!

But everything’s clear. I do know where to go. “I’m going to find that boulder—” I suck in shallow breath. “The…hhh…maze.”
“It’s no use. We’ve tried everything. It doesn’t work! Wait!”
But I’m not listening because it has to work. It’s the only way. If it got me in, it’ll get me back out.
I run until my body, my mind, and, mostly, my lungs give up. Because, problem is, Will’s right. I don’t know how to find it.
I stop.
Will stops.
Bent at the waist, hands on my knees, I cough and spew, trying to catch my breath. The hyperventilation has passed, but my insistence on sprinting like I’m a track star when my lungs and legs have no business running, has taken its toll.
I look up.
Will isn’t fazed. At some point he took off his shirt and now stands with his hands on his hips, chest rising and falling, barely winded. His abs flex with each effortless breath. “Get it out of your system?”
It’s when my stomach springs that I realize I’m staring at his body. I quickly glance away and completely ignore his question. “Take me there.”
“I told you. It’s no use.”
“Please,” I whimper. Tears race down my face.
Tucking his T-shirt into the back of his pants, Will walks in another direction.
“Where are you going?”
“I’m taking you. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
With Will now leading the way, I watch his suntanned back, the sweat beading at his shoulders and slowly, one by one, how the beads roll down the center crease. I’m in a daze or a haze or a trance because all I see is his back, his muscles contracting and tightening with each step, and, like magic, we’re there.
The mossy boulder stands before us and, I swear, it mocks me in all its ordinary, commonplace glory.

….so I may already have a thing for Will, FYI.

To partake in the giveaway (I love the word partake, makes me feel authentically Austen) click on this link HERE – because WordPress doesn’t like hosting Rafflecopters, so I need to link externally for those.

All the links you need to find out more and buy THE CASTWAYS is right here:

Goodreads Book Link: http://bit.ly/2mq9DXV

Amazon Buy Link:  http://amzn.to/2nCN0QW

Barnes & Noble Buy Link:  http://bit.ly/2nlhFXc

iBooks Buy Link: http://apple.co/2mpZR9j

Kobo Buy Link: http://bit.ly/2mH9xNu

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/2nCCedv

Amazon.ca: http://amzn.to/2lYhctP

About the Author:
JessicaJessika Fleck is an author, unapologetic coffee drinker, and knitter — she sincerely hopes to one day discover a way to do all three at once. Until then, she continues collecting vintage typewriters and hourglasses, dreaming of an Ireland getaway, and convincing her husband they NEED more kittens. Her work verges on fantastical and dark with a touch of realism. She is a regular contributor to the fantastic kidlit blog, Kidliterati, and is represented by Victoria Marini of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

You can catch up with Jessika on her Website or her Twitter (click to open new tab)

Follow the rest of the tour here!: http://blogtours.yareads.com/2017/03/17/blog-tour-sign-ups-castaways-jessika-fleck/

authors · Book Things · Reviews

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater – LOVE

the_raven_king_cover_officialTHERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS. I CAN’T GUARANTEE I WON’T GUSH AND GIVE AWAY SOMETHING. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

I don’t think I can quite fully describe how absolutely in love with this series I really am.

Is it perfect? Nope. No book is actually perfect, if you get into the nitty gritty. But  I absolutely, 100% will miss this world now I’ve finished the entire series, and I long for more journeys in Henrietta, and more stories about the psychics of 300 Fox Way, and the Gray Man, and the entire gang. And if that’s not a testament to a great series, I don’t know what is.

I know some people didn’t like how the last book wrapped things up, saying it didn’t explain Glendower, but I was pretty satisfied. To me, it made sense that Glendower ended up being a dead king unable to wake – that Gansey had to face up to his own mortality, and that everything came together that way. That he BECAME the King. That little Noah ❤ my babe, was the one to tell him about the fantastic journey he would be going on in the first place. It was a big, full circle just like everyone had continuously talked about in the books.

I know some people said not ALL the questions were answered – I can’t even remember all the questions I asked during it, but I wasn’t confused. I know the Gray Man’s whereabouts is ambiguous, but hopefully even more things will be explored during the Ronan Trilogy.

I can’t WAIT for the Ronan Trilogy.

CHARACTERS:

In reality, these books were love letters to the characters themselves, and what GLORIOUS characters they were! I loved them all. The late addition of Henry Cheng is a delight, even though I sometimes wished he’d just be quiet and let the original quartet work, but anyone who walks out to do the bins in just a Madonna t-shirt, undies and socks wins in my view.

Adam Parrish had the biggest redeeming story arc of the lot, from me liking him, to disliking him, to loving him and shipping him with Ronan. He grew very authentically. He’s now one of my favourites ❤

Ronan Lynch, though – oh Ronan. You speak to me on a soul level. I  love that potty mouthed, wounded little Dream Thief so much. He’s broken and battered just as much as Adam is, and I feel that’s how they truly understand each other. He loves so fiercely. *pet*

Gansey is the type of boy I would have a ridiculous crush on, especially when he puts on his glasses. I don’t know why I fall for posh boys, but I do. He’s spirited, he’s multi-dimensional, he can’t help himself sometimes. He has foot-in-mouth a lot of the time, and augh. He’s lovely.

Blue Sargent is my perfect little feminist pocket rocket, and I love her. She longs for more,  she’s a dreamer, she’s not dour or mopey, she throws herself into things and she’s so brave. Her relationship with Gansey is great, but I love her interactions with RonanImage result for 300 fox way the most. And I like the fact she wants to change her life on her own, without relying on anyone else to do it for her (unlike some YA heroines).

300 Fox Way – Can I be a psychic there please? I love that house. Persephone, Calla and Maura are just badasses, and the females in this story are just incredible. They’re real, and nuanced, and all so very individual. I’m torn between Persephone and Calla as my favourites. Persephone had a hidden strength and Calla was so fiercely protective. Psychic Power!

Anyway, yeah, I’m still planning on visiting Virginia as soon as I can and trying to find the ley lines and generally going to pretend I’m a cross between Gansey and Ronan, because essentially someone called me “Ronsey” recently and yeah…

BUY THESE BOOKS. IF YOU’VE READ THEM, SQUEAL ABOUT THEM WITH ME.

 

aspiring authors · authors · editing · Random Musings · writers · writing · Writing Advice · Writing Method · writing process

It struck me as I sat here in the office of the job I’ve been in for only 3 weeks, alone, trusted to organise the oncoming storm of students and maybe not blast Kerrang! Radio (I’m not blasting it, btw. It’s just… on low) that I wanted to write a blog post.

But what do you write about when you don’t know what to write about?

Exactly that.

Confused? Me too. Let me explain.

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