Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Why I Stopped Reviewing

I’ve had a few questions (and demands) over the past months since I stopped reviewing and wanted to address them.

Frankly, I stopped reviewing because I just couldn’t handle the negativity anymore.  The near constant bombardment of demands (not even inquiries or polite requests) for reviews from authors and publicists was just ridiculous.  I didn’t get paid for doing reviews and don’t really get anything out of reviewing beyond helping people decide about a book by sharing my thoughts so the rudeness level was just out of this world.

I also had more than a few bad experiences with fellow bloggers in the book blogging “community”.  There are two, maybe three people that I met while blogging that I have become friends with and would actually want to spend time with in real life talking books and other stuff.  Every other interaction with another blogger has been neutral (yea!) or horrible (boo!).  I’ve had other bloggers tell me that I’m not qualified to write a review since I don’t have a Master’s in Library Science or a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.  Basically, they informed me that I’m just not smart enough to tell the difference between complete crap and what is a good book.  This is especially rude since these same bloggers will say nothing to an eighteen year old Tumblr book blogger about their supposed lack of appropriate education to be a freaking blogger but will harass me about it.  You know what, I’m sorry I don’t have an Master’s in Library Science.  Maybe I don’t freaking want one, but that does not make me stupid.  If you think I’m stupid just because you have what you perceive to be a better education than me then you are just a bitch.  I am not going to go out and spent tens of thousands of dollars to get a Master’s in Library Science to be an unpaid book blogger.

I’ve also had charming comments from individuals who decided that they didn’t like the way I wrote my reviews.  Apparently they weren’t formatted like they wanted or didn’t cover what they wanted.  Book reviews need to be written only one way and if you don’t do it that one way you’re a bad person.  So, now I’m stupid and I can’t write for shit.

Add to that the Millennials and whatever the current it generation is, who felt the need to harass me because I don’t use trigger warnings on my reviews and don’t discuss the triggers in a book.  I’m not your mother or your therapist and I am sure as hell not going to provide trigger warnings for you.  Contact the damn publisher or author or whoever the hell you want to about it, but it’s not my job to tell you about trigger warnings.

And, then there are the authors.  Most are really quite pleasant but there always have to be a few bad apples.  I also learned a very important lesson from reading fan fiction - authors don’t give a flying fuck what you think about their work if you are a “just” a reader.  They really only care about a) getting a five star review on Amazon and b) what other writers think.  Since I’m not a writer (and apparently I’m too fucking stupid to be one anyway since I don’t have a Master’s in Library Science or a MFA) my thoughts matter as much to authors as the bug you just smashed under your foot.  If I leave a positive comment on a piece of fan fiction or a good review you’d think that it would make the author happy but apparently it doesn’t because I’m not who they actually want to comment.  I’ve actually seen authors respond to only the “cool” people or whoever else they deem acceptable.  You know what?  If a freaking best selling author can write me a personal note in response to a letter I sent praising their work then it’s not too much to ask for any author to at least be freaking civil.  But, apparently that’s too much for some people.

So, anyway, after years of hearing “You’re stupid”, “You’re not doing it right”, and “You don’t matter” I decided to give up reviewing.  Will I return to in the future?  Possibly.  Though, at this point I just can’t fathom that happening.  The cruelty of the book blogging “community” and authors especially is just too much and I don’t need to be told on a near daily basis what a horrible person I am.


Anne Bennett said...

I have never accepted to review a book for an author or for a publisher because I never wanted to be forced to read something that hadn't passed the sniff test by other people. Hence, my favorite books are Award books or Classics. I've only had a few authors who have made comments on my blog and my book reviews, but I don't expect them to even read them.

I am shocked at how many people have been so rude to you about your reviews. That is so wrong. We are all in this boat together and if you don't like a book and someone else does, or vise versa, that just proves that we all have different tastes.

I hope some day you come back and write some reviews. Maybe try reviewing a classic. Those authors don't care what you say and it is terribly freeing to write a review about a book that is really well known. It forces me to look for a new angle on the review.

Hope this helps!

StephTheBookworm said...

Oh my gosh! I didn't know any of this had happened. We have to talk ASAP! So sorry you have had to deal with this BS. Even though I am more of a lifestyle blogger now with just SOME reviews, I have had a couple of shitty experiences as a reviewer in the past. For the most part, it's been great, but I had a horrid author email me because she disagreed that her grammar was off, and I've had a few nasty comments on negative reviews too.

karen trudeau said...

I don't comment normally on blogs, but do read a lot. I haven't done Book Reviews except on Amazon usually for a favorite author or when I have been "taken" purchasing a bad one. I have been a beta reader for a couple authors only to be in middle of some of the things you just addressed. Good for you! Life is too damn short and your time better spent to get slammed for doing a thing you used to enjoy. Have fun with your other parts of life! �� My heart is happy you said this! I am sad you had to. Hugs. Karen (katie95720)

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