Discussion: The Ugly Side of Book Blogging

A lot of my readers here are book bloggers as well and as we know, book blogging isn’t all roses and sunshine.  There are disputes with authors, jealousy within the community, pressure to write good reviews for publishers, etc.  But overall, in my personal experience, I’d say that authors are the best and worst part of book blogging.

I have met some absolutely incredible people through my book blog that I never would have otherwise.  You guys know who you are.  At the same time, I have been subjected to nasty comments, author meltdowns (only in private emails so far) and generic emails by authors who think they’re entitled to a review without remembering basic courtesy.  So yes, authors are the reason why I’m doing this and the reason why sometimes I feel like saying “screw it!” and not accepting review requests at all.  (It’s very tempting at the moment, believe me.)

My question for my fellow bloggers is this: what’s the worst part of book blogging?  What about the best part?  Did you ever have an incident so nasty you almost considered giving up book blogging?

15 comments

  1. katieteller

    People are mean? That seems unnecessary. It’s just an opinion. But you did give my book 5 stars ha ha! But seriously, I ignore the negative reviews. I’ve learned that they give books “street credit” because a book with all good reviews looks suspicious.
    Keep up the great work! You’re a reading machine.
    P.S I’ll have to get a galley for kiya 2 to you when it’s ready.

    • Carrie Slager

      Well, just recently an author told me to kill myself over a rejected review request (see my August 4 post). Such bad reactions are more common than you would think for book bloggers.

      I’m glad you’re not one of the authors that flips out at anything less than a stellar review. Most authors aren’t those kind of people. But the few bad eggs make it worse for everyone else in the book community, especially self-published authors.

      Thanks for the encouragement Katie and I can’t wait to get Kiya 2! Especially now that I can read it on my Kindle. 🙂

  2. The Masquerade Crew (@MasqCrew)

    I’ve heard all the horror stories, even seen a few public meltdowns, but thankfully I haven’t had many. I haven’t directly dealt with reviewed authors much lately. That’s more Diantha’s perview.

    There was a Twitter conversation that went the wrong way and an author who was too picky when it came to editing her work for publishing. She got on my nerves. She got insulted by every little thing.

    I’ve lost one client because of a misunderstanding. It was technically my fault, but the client didn’t give me a heads up about what was going on, which I didn’t even know about at the time. I would have fixed it if she said something earlier. She just severed our relationship, which was fine. I owed her a bunch of work, so I got paid for a lot more than I delivered, but I wasn’t about to help her after her treatment of me.

    And recently there was a misunderstanding over crediting another blogger. Thankfully it turned alright in the end. I can’t say I’ll always do the right thing, but I at least try.

    Those incidents are rare, thankfully. Most authors (reviewed or paying clientele) are very nice, appreciative of what we do. Some have paid me a lot more than I think I’m worth, so I guess I’m doing something right.

    • Diantha J

      The authors we meet are great. Never had a problem with any of them, even the ones we give negative reviews to. They either thank us or say nothing (wise choice). The only problems I have are when authors don’t read the review policy and don’t follow instructions. How can you call yourself a writer when you can’t even read? I also strongly dislike the authors who hit up our contact page trying to bypass the systems we have in place. Über annoying.

      • Carrie Slager

        That’s awesome Diantha! Yes, grr, not reading the instructions. I think after this latest incident I’ll just either get help writing a less abrupt response to authors that don’t listen or just plain deleting the email right away. Probably the latter; I’m sick of this drama.

    • Carrie Slager

      I’m surprised you don’t have more horror stories considering your crew is much bigger than my one-woman operation. But then again I’m assuming you attract a more professionalized type of indie author because of some of your paid services than I would. It’s never good to have any bad stories, but I’m definitely glad that yours are at a minimum.

  3. adtrosper

    Actually, its a problem for authors too. There are a lot of us who will only post reviews of books we liked. If we read a book we don’t like, we just say nothing for fear of backlash. There have been instances of where an honest review (not evil tearing down of a book, just honest what the person didn’t like about it) resulted in that book’s author and street team jumping all over the “offending” author by leaving strings of one star reviews on their books, usually with one liners like, “This book sucks, don’t read it.”

    So yes, sadly there is an upside to leaving reviews where you get to meet great people. And then there is the other side, and it isn’t so pretty.

    For authors, it’s not to big a deal to just say nothing if we picked up a book we didn’t like. For book bloggers, where you agreed to read and review, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to say what you need to say and then deal with the not always pleasant results.

    • Carrie Slager

      I know a lot of authors that are like that and they make it worse for authors in general online. It’s just so immature to flip out at another person’s opinion, even if it is about your own work.

      You nailed that last paragraph. As bloggers we often have to tell authors that a) we couldn’t even bring ourselves to finish the book or b) hand them that one star review and hope they don’t completely freak out. That’s why I make sure to conduct myself in what I think is a generally professional manner: I pay attention only to the book in my reviews, am not overly harsh and try to find some things that were good about the book. Yet, I still get incidents like the one in my latest article. Ugh.

  4. trishhannon111

    What I hate is when I turn down a review request and they come back to me again all passive aggressive. I’ve had a few of those and its unnecessary. Makes me feel like not replying to authors that have approached me in cases where the book doesn’t appeal to me. So far, I’ve had no drama over actual reviews but I know it happens far too often.
    Don’t let a few bad experiences drive you away as they are the exception and not the rule.

    • Carrie Slager

      Yes, I hate that passive-aggressiveness. It’s like they feel they’re entitled to a review no matter what! Which is ridiculous considering I’m sure most authors don’t feel they need to read books they’re not interested in.

      Oh yes, I know bad experiences are the exception. However, this latest incident has made me seriously rethink whether I want to accept ANY unsolicited requests, whether by publishers or authors, for the rest of the year. We’ll see.

  5. Grace

    I don’t even respond to authors whose books I don’t choose to review. It prevents drama, and I get enough requests that if I sent an e-mail to every one that I declined, I wouldn’t have time for blogging. Then again, I might see more of the ugly side of book blogging if I read more indie books. The vast majority of what I read is traditionally published, either through a major publisher or a small press. Indie books have to really stand out for me to accept them, although I have a couple in my lineup in the next few months.

    For me, the hardest part of book blogging is balancing it with working full time and attempting to have some semblance of a social life. It’s slightly better now that I finished grad school (which I was also balancing), but blogging is a lot of work. It’s rewarding, and something that I greatly enjoy, but sometimes I feel like there aren’t enough hours to do as good a job as I would like.

    • Carrie Slager

      There’s no way I’m going to limit how many indie books I read since I like supporting good self-published authors, but I can see your point. If you don’t feel like dealing with the drama, more power to you. I deal with it (even with the serious crap I experienced just lately) because I love working one-on-one with authors and have actually made some good friends through such interactions.

      I hear you about the balancing act! Working six days a week, blogging 20 hours a week and having a social life? Pretty hard to do. There are a lot of rewarding aspects to book blogging, but sometimes I do feel like saying “screw it” and blogging whenever I feel like it.

  6. Jemima Pett

    I’d just like to thank all you book-bloggers for reviewing books. Oh, wait, I do a bit of that too – but only ones I fancy reading. Otherwise I’m writing 🙂

    There does seem to be a spate of bad behaviour online though. From rape and death threats to public figures on Twitter (advice is to report these to the police – at least in the UK) to some very hurtful comments on one of my blogs – which of course I deleted. I remember what they said though. 🙁 I just have to remind myself that they must be very sad people if all they have to do with their time is crawl the internet and be nasty to people.

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