02 July 2012

Book Blogger Confessions #13 - Drama Drama Drama!


Book Blogger Confessions is a meme hosted by Tiger's All Consuming Books and For What It's Worth - every second Monday book bloggers spill the beans on some juicy book blogging questions!

Blogging controversies? How do you address them? Do you join the Twitter frenzy? Write a ranty post? Stay on the sidelines and hope they go away?
How do you think we should address plagiarism scandals? Bad author behavior? Negative comments on our blogs?


The internet is a hot bed of controversy, drama and gossip by it's very nature. We can say things that perhaps in real life, face-to-face, we probably wouldn't say - at least not in the same way. Book blogging is certainly not immune to controversy - 2012 seems to be the year of epic blow-ups, and it's not going to go away any time soon.

I'm not going to say that I don't get drawn into controversies, because that would be a lie. What I do try and do is research things without jumping to conclusions without all the available information to hand - I want to make up my own mind. And although it's not in my nature to write a ranty post (well, at least I don't push the publish button, you should see some of my draft posts!), I'll always give my opinion when asked and show it my actions.

Plagiarism is a lazy, shitty thing to do, and if it happened to me, I would want that person named and shamed. I know that sounds confrontational, but why should someone who is STEALING someone else's work be allowed to go on as if nothing ever happened, and benefit from it? And yes, to err is human, but plagiarism is not a mistake.

Bad author behavior is unnecessary and detrimental to only one person in the end - the author. And yes, I completely get that reading a negative review of something you have slaved over and inherited grey hairs for must be a gut-twisting, sickening and disheartening experience, but it's part of the parcel - getting defensive and nasty won't win you any fans. I could throw out some cliche sayings here, but I know you're probably already thinking them ;-)

As bloggers we are outraged by bad author behavior, but we should also mirror that thinking into our own behavior. We all have books we hate and some of us write negative reviews to express our opinions - but I cannot stand the trend of writing reviews that personally insult the author - keep it to the plot, the characters whatever irritated you about the book.

This also brings me to the final point about dealing with negative comments on reviews. Luckily I've never had what I perceive to be a negative comment on one of my reviews, but when it does happen (and it's inevitable), I would want to exhibit the exact same behavior I expect of authors who receive negative reviews - either be constructive in my response, or just let it go - life is too short!

What are your thoughts on drama and controversy?

22 comments:

  1. I love this post. I agree with all of it.
    I really don't like authors that react badly to negative reviews, comments, and all that. When you write a book (or anything for that matter, blogging, youtube videos, music, etc) you have to know that there are going to be people that don't like it, but there will also be an equal number of people that love it. I don't agree with bashing books or authors, but if a review is written discussing reasons they didn't like a book then there's nothing wrong with that. People that don't like your work comes with the territory of these things. You just have to focus on the good reviews and comments.

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    1. Exactly! And the variety is one of the things that makes reading great - imagine how boring it would be if we all liked exactly the same thing!

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  2. I have had negative reviews and as you said, they come with the territory. I never make a comment, but rather am inspired to do better. In the end, no one is ever going to write a book that everyone enjoys or rates as 5 stars. To think otherwise is to be unrealistic.

    Too, I stay clear of arguments and always try to present a pleasant demeanor.

    Thanks for the post!

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    1. Great attitude Jeremy! I've had some authors comment on my negative reviews, and they have always been polite and courteous about it.

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  3. Well said! Thank you for saying that plagiarism is NOT a mistake. People were saying that left and right in the TSS debacle. It's one thing if you want to forgive a plagiarizer, but you can't just sweep everything under the rug by calling it a 'mistake.' In that case, it was more her reaction to it even than what she did that pissed me off: deleting posts, double speak, removing comments, lying.

    If I had an author freak out on me, I would recruit some of my more activist blogger friends. Haha.

    I've only had one really negative comment on the blog that I can remember. The person was very offended by my personal opinion and said that I was crazy. I responded to say that it was MY PERSONAL OPINION, politely. Sigh. Most people are good at saying "I don't agree at all, but I see what you're saying" or something to that effect.

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    1. Mistakes are something you do by accident, not by design. The whole non-apology bullshit really got to me - if I screw something up, I admit that I screwed it up, not hide behind crappy excuses.

      I often leave comments on blogs where the reviewer has loved a book I hated or visa versa - and I love it when people do the same on my reviews - sometimes they point out something that I completely missed in my enthusiasm and gives me even more to think about!

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    2. Definitely! I don't mind as long as they don't call me a douche or an idiot while they do it. Haha!

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  4. I agree with you on all points. Particularly the bit about bloggers also adhering to common decency when it comes to writing negative reviews. I hate when bloggers personally attack the author.

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    1. Treat others as you wish to be treated and all that - you can hate the product without hating the creator. Some of the reviews I see that completely trash the book, the author AND other readers make me really angry - none of us have the right to judge others for having a different opinion.

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  5. I think most the drama revolves around YA bloggers, perhaps because of the age where they're more likely to react without thinking. I might have a discussion on Twitter about something with blogger friends but I don't get involved as such. I think that authors that can't cope with criticism shouldn't be reading reviews, there are plenty that don't, everyone's entitled to their opinion without being attacked for it.

    I write opinion pieces occasioanlly but they are more in recation to something in the industry and I try not to rant :)

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    1. I agree Ellie - maybe it's age, but it could also be an underlying competitiveness that comes from the masses of YA blogs there are - of course this is not applicable to every YA blogger!

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  6. Bad author behavior: i have first hand experience of this and it is disappointing to be antagonized especially when the review was constructive an impersonal. I used to follow one indie author's blog and I stopped when he dissected and ridiculed one bad review he got feom Amazon in his blog. Worst is he personally knows the person.

    Bad reviews - it's inevitable that we'll come across a book we won't like but our reviews should be intwlligent and constructive instead of turning it into a bashing session.

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  7. I agree. I think if you plagiarize it should be known. They are entitled to respond and followers can make the call as what they will do about it but unless it was a complete oversight that can be dealt with privately (like forgetting to include a credit link) sorry, but it should be known.

    I am not a fan of the personal attacks or the epic Goodreads battles. Just let everyone know and move on.

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  8. Great post about plagiarism and I think that they should be made know. I don't like the personal attacks on readers for a book on goodreads.

    I think 2012 has been a drama year with authors, bloggers.Its a shame that there name calling over books at times.

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  9. As an author, I think negative reviews go with the territory. Having just received a less-that-stellar review from you, I simply accept it as an opinion. However, I did agree with some of your observations. I try to find the points brought up in negative reviews and utilize them as learning tools. If I think the comment is just a slam, I ignore it and move on. However, when a well-thought out review raises points that I see merit in, I try to incorporate that growth in to future projects. None of us are good enough at our craft to quit learning. Just my two cents.

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    1. Todd, I really appreciated the comment that you left - personally I find not-so-great reviews incredibly hard to write - I don't want to NOT enjoy a book, and I hate the idea that I'm 'putting down' someone who has the talent, and the ambition, and to be honest - the bravery -to write and publish a book.

      We can all learn from each other, whether it's good or bad. And I think there are some authors out there (thankfully the minority), who could learn something from you :)

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    2. Todd, you have handled an uncomfortable situation in a classy and respectable way. No one can fault you for that.

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  10. I would love to see some of those draft posts!

    I agree that plagiarism is shitty and the person should be held accountable and I'm curious how you think it should be handled. The attacks against TSS went too far, in my opinion. How do we find that balance?

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  11. Honestly, I feel the same way about all of that! Plagiarism sucks and so do negative comments. I also think, regarding bad author behaviour, that some bloggers do cause it. I've seen quite a few reviews where it becomes entirely personal with commenting on the way an author dresses and even their hairstyles - in those cases, I don't blame any author being insulted! It is supposed to be the book that's being reviewed after all, not an author's lifestyle choices.

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  12. I think you made a good point about bad author behavior and bloggers learning from it. We don't want to be painted with the same brush.

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  13. I agree with you completely. I try to stay out of the fray as much as possible - while still keeping myself informed. I don't think it does bloggers any good when there's a situation that comes up and we end up sniping at each other instead of dealing with the real problems - although we all have different ideas on how to deal with those problems which is another problem in itself LOL

    I too get irritated when I see author bad behavior but am equally ticked off when I see reviews that go after the author instead of sticking to the BOOK and why it was unliked, etc.

    Great post!

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