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

 

 

Top 5 Wednesday

T5W: Best Books You’ve Read So Far in 2018

If you want to join in on Top 5 Wednesday this July, the link to the Goodreads group is here!

SO. What are the top 5 books I’ve spent this year reading? I’ve re-read Vicious, so I won’t include that because it’s technically not new, and I want to include new reads for this list.

 

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This book, man. This book SHIT ME UP. I was gripped, it was so tense, I was weirded out, I cried. I adored it in every sense. EASILY a new favourite.

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This book has my heart — Monty is such an arse but a loveable one, and I can’t wait for Petticoats to come out! Mackenzi has such a brilliant writing style and voice

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THORNS reignited my love of fairy tales and the Grisha world. Bardugo is my auto buy author, and the story about the sea witch stole it for me.

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I haven’t finished this yet, but I LOVE IT. This is my first Holly Black book, and her writing is so pristine – I don’t hate the main character, either, which is rare for YA novels these days, and there are QUEER PEOPLE IN HERE ❤ it’s not all about their sexuality they’re just queer. Love it.

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Oops…. the second book in the Illuminae files takes another spot. I was toying with the idea of others, and while this one wasn’t as amazing as the first (imo) I still enjoyed it far more than other books I’ve read so far this year that could have made the list.

 

 

Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday – Favourite M/M Couples

February 7th: Favorite M/M Couples –

Who are your favorite dudes loving other dudes? (Note: this isn’t specifically cis gay couples, but also applies to couples that include bi men, trans men, pan men, ace men, etc.)

— Top 5 Wednesday is a group run by Samantha from Thoughts on Tomes and can be found here!

MY TIME HAS COME. *plays keep it gay in the background* There are so many ships I ship in TV and in Literature, but I’m focusing on books today.

  1. JESPER AND WYLAN from Six of Crows duology

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These two have my heart. I adore them both equally and together they are amazing.

Continue reading “Top 5 Wednesday – Favourite M/M Couples”

Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday! – Hidden Gems in Your Favorite Genre

  • What are some of your favorite books in your favorite genre that don’t get a lot of hype?

-Goodreads Top 5 Wednesday group is run by Sam of Thoughts of Tomes, and can be found here!

My favourite genre is definitely fantasy. I don’t care what subgenre, it’s all good to me. It’s quite hard to see what’s really ‘hidden’ though because most of my favourites are actually well known HOWEVER I have found some not many people talk about nowadays:

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I read this in 2017 I believe? It was the first book I read of the year. I know it came out in 2012 so I might have missed the hype train but I still love it. Penryn is a likeable heroine without all the dramatics, and it’s a really good journey. Angels in a different light, good prose, she’s capable. I gave this 5*.

Continue reading “Top 5 Wednesday! – Hidden Gems in Your Favorite Genre”

Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday – Forgettable Books

Whether you loved or hated them at the time, these are books that you just don’t really remember…

Here’s the thing, I’m pretty good at remembering books, or at least aspects of books. HOWEVER. I can’t remember what I read 10 days ago. I’m that sort of a person.

So I had to look back at my Goodreads list for this.

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Oh my God I hated this but I can’t remember anything about the plot, mainly because I DNF’d it when I was about 15.

Continue reading “Top 5 Wednesday – Forgettable Books”

TBR lists

TBR Tidy-Up – Maximum Removal!

Tis the season for Christmas, and with it will come books, book vouchers, and money to buy – books. Hopefully, also a new bookshelf.

So while I have given out lists of my TBR to friends who have asked “what books  do you like?!” I still need to reduce this wanting-to-read list simply because there is no way I will be able to read all the books I’ve put on here AND new releases I’m hankering for.

Time turner? Invent one, please.

SO in this post I’m going to try and get rid of 10.

Web

THE RULES

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

 

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I would buy this for the COVER ALONE look at that!!! It’s beautiful. Plus space, crews, intrigue!!! This book has me written all over it.

KEEPING

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m not sure “baby with a defect” is entirely unproblematic? Either way I’m not feeling post-apocalyptic space dramas with people wanting babies rn.

BYE

 

 

 

 

 

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This is a Middle Grade, and I didn’t know I had any of this on my list, so I’m keeping it – a delightful weird girl who can talk to ghosts? Yes. Gimme.

KEEPING

 

 

 

 

 

20613491

 

Aaaaagh I mean I like the sound of this ish? But then there are some trope-y things I’m not sure about. Portal fantasy is dead right now but it seems to have been published when it was popular… I’m not sure. It seems like there’s some sort of love triangle and over sexualised shit.

Be strong. No.

BYE.

 

 

 

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Reading the synopsis of this religion-meets-mental-illness book, I was like oh, no. But then I realised it’s supposed to be a horror novel and it scared Stephen King.

KEEP (but probably won’t get to any time soon)

 

 

 

 

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Psychics in Victorian England…. like need I say more?!

KEEPING

 

 

 

 

 

I HAVE ONLY GOT RID OF TWO BOOKS. I NEED TO UP THE ANTE.

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Ok so this was probably added when I was crushing on a Swedish guy in my workplace, so I’m going to remove this.

BYE

 

 

 

 

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Wow, this preview is so small and it won’t get any bigger. Not to worry, though, since this is about alien/zombie/vampire hybrids and I have no interest in it any more.

BYE

 

 

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I’m a bit confused about what this is meant to be. Something about hallucinations and wrongful imprisonment and murder… I’m not feeling it, to be honest.

BYE

 

 

 

 

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I’ve had this on my TBR FOREVER. Maybe 2018 will be the year I finally read this fking thing.

KEEPING

 

 

 

 

 

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Nnnnngh. I think I added this since I was doing my own psychic detective story at the time, and right now I don’t really want to read this sort of stuff. It’s average is 3*

NAH SORRY

 

 

 

 

 

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A QUEER WOMAN OF COLOUR WITH AN ILLNESS – I don’t care about the mixed reviews I’m getting this.

KEEP

 

 

 

 

 

I must point out that I’ve now got rid of some other reference books, because I didn’t need any more, but I won’t include them here cause boring.

Where are we, 5 out of 10? Sigh. Ok I’m going to do THREE MORE books.

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A beautiful cover, and absolutely great premise, and though I try not to check there’s great reviews from friends.

KEEP

 

 

 

 

 

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A dear friend recommended this to me after I came out of hospital with a crush on my surgeon, since the protagonist here also has the same issue. But I no longer have  a crush on my surgeon (he’s probably still pretty hot to be fair) and I won’t ever read this, so.

BYE

 

 

 

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NNNGH. I really wanted to end on a definitive “no”. But this book has 3 POVs in a high fantasy (I mean… the book I’ve written may have similar ahem) so… God.

I’ll keep it.

 

 

 

 

 

SIX GONE. Not including the reference books. Now I’m up to my 2016 adding spree, where there could be more up to date titles and become more difficult for me. So I’m now on page 3 of my TBR, with 14 pages to rifle through total. This is gonna be a loooong series.

Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday – Book Things I’m Grinchy About

Bookish Things You’re a Grinch About
— Since being a grinch is a funny thing, try not to make this serious topics that make you angry (like lack of diversity or abusive relationships in fiction, etc) as this is supposed to be more of a petty bookish things you hate. This can be stuff about covers, dumb tropes, etc. Have fun with it.

Goodreads Group Here!

  1. Different Book Sizes

I have a very nice shelf space at the moment, so imagine my utter horror when I bought Crooked Kingdom and it was TALLER than Six of Crows! They’re paperback, why…. why? Why. You ruined my aesthetic and the books I lie flat on top look all wibbly.

2. UK vs US covers

A LOT of the time I prefer US covers over the UK versions. A lot. Sometimes it doesn’t make a difference, others I like the UK but in cases such as Daughter of the Burning City, where the UK cover could belong to any old book in any genre with no distinct personality, I love the US version because it gives you such a sense of MOOD.

Thus:

UK / US

Image result for daughter of the burning city covers   Image result for daughter of the burning city covers

And while I’m on the subject, women in dresses as a cover. This does not tell me anything about the book! Other than it involves a woman in a dress. Nothing.

3. Reviews At The Beginning

There was a book to do with Angels and it had 14 pages of glowing reviews at the beginning. Yes, I counted, and yes it was front and back. 14 pages. It put me off, because I want to make my own mind up, and I wondered how sodding desperate people were to form the same opinion. It was so bad I can’t even remember the name of it, I just recall it had yellow and blue on the cover.

4. UK doesn’t do hardovers

When books are released in the UK it’s generally paperback first. This is why, originally, I was a bit confused as to the hoo-haa of paperbacks releasing separately in the USA and the big promotions people have for that.

Although they’re not as easy to read as paperbacks, I love hardcovers. There’s something about them, with their shiny glory, that I adore. And it makes me sad that the UK doesn’t do hardcovers unless they want to charge £20 for it.

5. Big, Convenient Proclamations Of Love

Story-centric now – there’s been tension. There’s been intrigue. People shoving their feelings away, even thought it was SO DAMN obvious as to how they felt for each other. And just as it all seems to end in a big, bloody battle, the hero stops the action to say-

I LOVE YOU.

Come on, man. Be like Hermione.

Screenshot 2017-12-06 17.23.45

 

 

Just For Fun · TBR lists

The lovely Lost In A Story came up with the idea for cutting down extensive TBR’s and I’m thinking yes…. yes I will do this. Why? Because I have SO MANY that’s why.

Maybe I’ll do this every week? Every Friday perhaps… SO LET’S GO –

Web

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

THE GOLDEN BOUGH 

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This is essentially a book I wanted to read because a witch in my class recommended it. It’s an extensive history of magic and how it was perceived, and magical practices.

I don’t know WHEN I’ll get to read it but I still want to eventually.

DECISION: STAY

 

THE WITCHES’ GODDESS

841539Again a reference book I’m going to keep because it’s about how the goddess has been perceived in years gone by and her identities – it’s great for magical lore and mythology.

DECISION: STAY!

 

 

 

 

THE SHERLOCK CASE BOOK – ONE

13536554 This was clearly when I loved Sherlock and everything about it. Before series 3 and 4 robbed my heard of the glorious duo, and didn’t made John a sodding filanderer and Sherlock some… I dunno.

Do I want it? Kinda. But I’m also not… as involved. So… sadly it’s going to be

DECISION: SEE YA

 

 

THE NAME OF THE WIND

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)

This comes highly recommended and it’s on so many people’s lists, it’s a no brainer.

DECISION: STAY

 

 

 

 

THE DARKNESS THAT COMES BEFORE

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Reading the blurb, I have no clue what the hell this is about nor why it’s on my TBR list.

DECISION: SEE YA

 

 

 

 

THE BLADE ITSELF

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I’ve never read Joe Abercrombie and I’m not sure this is the best introduction to him, HOWEVER – I’m not going to remove it just in case. Some of my GR friends liked it so I’m going to keep it.

DECISION: STAY

 

 

 

DREAMS UNDERFOOT

Dreams Underfoot (Newford, #1)I cannot find this book ANYWHERE – it’s really expensive to buy from the USA / Canada, and my love for urban fantasy ebbed. I’m not sure I have the patience to read so many short stories right now and… sadly…

DECISION: SEE YA

 

 

 

THE VILLAGE SANG TO THE SEA

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I haven’t seen anything but praise for this but even reading the blurb made me tired. Despite that, it sounds interesting – northern italy, magic, Mary Shelley.

DECISION: STAY

 

 

 


DRACULA

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I haven’t read this yet!! I need to! It’s staying it’s staying!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE RAVEN’S HEAD
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This sounds delightfully creepy and the reviews are also delighted with the creepiness, and I apparently love books with Crows or Ravens in the title. So I’m going to keep this.

DECISION: STAY

 

 

 

 

RESULTS OUT OF 10:

STAYING: 7

GOING: 3

Not too bad but can do better. How do you organise your TBR?

Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday: Books Without Romance

A few (very, very few) people complained about the “shipping” topics lately, so I thought it would be good to talk about books that don’t have a romantic subplot! This is a really hard one, so if you can’t find any, you can talk about some where the romance is super super minor. Like barely mentioned… at all…

I thought this was going to be so difficult, but actually it wasn’t so bad.

CRACKED – Eliza Crewe

Cracked (Soul Eaters, #1)

“Meet Meda. She eats people.”

ONE OF MY FAVOURITES. This novel tended to subvert many tropes and the MC Meda is extremely sarcastic. This is a book where the main character doesn’t get into a romance. There’s a minor side romance with the other characters from the perspective of Meda but that’s about it. And it’s enough, actually, because her story shouldn’t involve love – it’s centering around understanding who she is, where she comes from, controlling her powers and dealing with her mother’s death.

All while trying to stay alive, getting the other characters not to kill her. Which is pretty damn interesting.

THE HOBBIT – J.R.R Tolkien

The Hobbit

There is no romance in this, at all. Not even that crappy elf whatsherface in the movies existed in the books (I understand your motives but why did you cast Evangeline Lilly, PJ?! WHY?!)

It’s meant for kids, primarily, so it’s not a surprise this isn’t about smooching and star crossed lovers. I welcomed that so much, because this is a great adventure and doesn’t lose anything because there isn’t a “OMGERD I LURVE YOU” moment.**

**Thorin and Bilbo shippers may disagree

QUEEN OF THE TEARLING by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)

Another favourite.

I’m sensing a trend, here….

There is no romance. Like, at all. She fancies a dude called the Fetch but that’s it. Nothing else. It’s about staying alive, changing the political landscape of the shitty kingdom she’s been left to rule and basically figuring out if she’s a good enough Queen to fend off AND piss off the red one with mystical powers.

If it had romance it would have bogged it down so much, I enjoyed it so much more as a woman coming into power.

AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman

American Gods (American Gods, #1)

Also a favourite.

This wasn’t really romantic but it had minor little romance-y bits. I mean this in the sense Shadow had lost his wife, and while she comes back it’s not about about their romance, it’s more about the loss of the life they shared. There’s minor romance scenes from side characters in self-contained chapter – the Djinn being one stand out chapter for me –  but the main story is about a good man lost, and finding himself again, this time in a land of Gods and Monsters.

VICIOUS by V.E Schwab

Vicious

You guessed it! A FAVOURITE wooo

I love this. While Eli and Serena get their rocks off it’s not shown and it’s definitely not a big enough point to be a subplot. It’s just what the characters are doing while they fuck up shit on the outside.

And let’s be honest, Victor and Sydney are the best ones in here, they are the stars, and a 12 year old and a thirty-year old are not going to have a romance in a book. At least I fucking hope not I STG.

 

Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday! - Favorite SFF Cover Art

I COMPLETELY forgot this because of my mother’s hospital appointment so catching up!

*Booktube SFF Awards Crossover Topic*
Show off some of your favorite science fiction and fantasy cover art!

To be honest you’d have better luck with me telling you my top 5 Tarot Deck artworks, because I don’t actually own many of the covers I adore or have adored, from afar, weeping.

It’s mostly because the covers I covet are hardback cover only, and I most likely haven’t read the book because it’s too expensive and oh em gee pretty.

BUT BEHOLD

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THIS IS SO CLEVER I CAN’T

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Just… .so pretty. Not sure about the book but pretty.

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PRETTY SURE THIS IS GOING TO BE THE NEXT BOOK IN THE FAIRYLOOT BOX AND I AM BLOODY EXCITED OKAY?!

Image result for starflight ya book

SPARKLES IN SPACE COME ON

Image result for a thousand pieces of you

I love upside down things on covers