Book Blogger Confessions: Author Interactions #16

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Book Blogger Confessions is a meme every 1st Monday of the month hosted by Karen from For What It’s Worth and the Midnyte Reader.
It’s where book bloggers “confess” and vent about topics that are unique to us.
Feel free to share, vent and offer solutions, and remember to visit For What It’s Worth or the Midnyte Reader for other confessions!

This week’s confession:

Author interactions. Have you ever emailed an author to tell them you loved/disliked their book? As a book reviewer, do you think we should cross that line? 
Do you mind when authors re-tweet or comment on reviews? Does that intimidate you in any way in regards to review writing, knowing that they may be reading it?
Do author interactions – both pro or con – change how you view their work?

I have never emailed an author to tell them how much I disliked their book. I do not agree with this idea at all. What flabbergasts me is that some self-published authors would rather a direct email about how much their book sucks rather than a public review. If I don’t like a book, I leave the author alone. If I don’t finish a book, I don’t even rate or write a review. This is my own policy and it’s working OK for me so far. I am happy to write negative reviews but only in the safety of the public internet where the author doesn’t have to see my negativity if they don’t go looking for it. Directly emailing an author feels, to me, like an attack. I am not saying that it is, and if other people want to do this, that’s up to them. I don’t think it’s a good idea, and I don’t do it. Directly emailing them to say how much you dislike a book feels like the kind of feedback and editor/beta reader should be giving, not a reviewer.

Also, I have never ever emailed an author to tell them I specifically love this one book before. It’s intimidating. I have sent private messages on Goodreads to several favourite authors who are also my friends to tell them I enjoy their work, but I have never emailed an author I don’t know to gush over a book I’ve just read – although I was so very sorely tempted to email CJ Archer to gush over The Wrong Girl because Archer is self-published and needs all the support she can get. However, I am a weeny and a distinct lack of courage held me back.

I don’t think reviewers should cross that line unless they are friends with that author. Equally, I don’t believe authors in general should be reading reviews, especially reviews their friends have written.

Of course, there is a major thrill that comes when an author ‘likes’ a review or retweets or even comments on a positive review, but there are also a few other things to think about:

I feel excluded when I write what I feel is a really good review and the author doesn’t ‘like’ it, but they do ‘like’ other reviews. What’s wrong with mine? Am I not fangirling enough? Why does the author ‘like’ all the positive reviews but none of the mediocre or negative ones?

I absolutely hate the idea of an author peeking over my shoulder to gauge my reaction to their book. It hasn’t happened to me (yet), but I hate it when authors are reading status updates and liking or commenting on them. I understand they are excited someone is reading their book, but what if I don’t love it? I feel I need to bite my tongue to not offend anyone. What if I’m reading your book but not really enjoying it because it’s badly written, or the main character is pissing me off and I want to stab him/her in the eye? Can I express that without offending the author who’s reading my status updates? I feel extremely intimidated when I think an author may be reading my experience and may not agree with my assessment. I absolutely love the freedom of being able to say whatever I want about a book.

This is why I am extremely hesitant about reading self-published books, because those authors in general tend to be more liberal in their policies on interacting with readers.

Author interactions most certainly do change how I view their work. I am happy to shelve a book as do-not-read on any author I feel might react negatively to a less than favourable review. I feel that I can’t write a review without it being compromised, and that makes me uncomfortable, so I’d rather not read those books.

Even positive author interactions influence me. I have been putting off reading a book by a very sweet self-published author that I know will never flip her shit no matter what I say about her book, but only because I know she obsessively stalks her reviews and updates, and I haven’t yet had the ovaries to say to her directly “Do not read my review of your work, it makes me uncomfortable.” Another author is very supportive of reviewers and ‘likes’ a lot of my status updates and reviews, but because she’s an author, I know she’ll see what I do on my news feed, and I know she’ll see my updates even if she doesn’t go looking for them. I’m hesitating on reading her books, too, even though I am very excited to read them.

So yeah. Authors, readers and reviewers are not any of your business.


About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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4 thoughts on “Book Blogger Confessions: Author Interactions #16

  1. Belle

    Totally agree with you on this. I don’t like the idea of authors “liking” status updates or even positive reviews on Goodreads, really. I don’t even really tag authors on Twitter when I post reviews of their books because it makes me a bit nervous. If they still manage to find the review and thank me or something like that, it can be nice.
    I had interacted with one self published author who was SO lovely and I was excited to read her book, but I ended up hating it. I felt so guilty posting a negative review because I knew she’d probably see it but I had to be honest. But I want to avoid situations like that in the future!

    1. Nemo

      I don’t tag authors on Twitter but if they search their name and go looking for reviews it’s their own fault if they read a negative one. I’m really uncomfortable accepting friendships from authors I don’t know because you never know how they’re going to react if you read and review their book.

  2. ki pha

    Wow! I like how you think! It has never crossed my mind that way. You made me feel all sorts of things reading this confession that I feel utterly more guilty then I am to be. Don’t worry I have never nor ever will email an author a hate note. Though I have sent an email not to long ago to an author gushing about how much I loved her book, and even to the point of giving her my assumption as to who was going to be her next hero (which hasn’t even been written!). But I don’t mind authors “liking” my reviews, I know what they say (and they’re not well written) but…yea *shrugs* But if I didn’t like a book so much by an author I enjoyed, I don’t post a review.

    1. Nemo

      I was very sorely tempted to email an author to tell them how much I love their book but sending an email seems more like an attack to me, in my opinion.

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