If you remember, a few months ago (back in March), I did a post on Author/Reviewer interaction etiquette and for that post to be as short as possible, I kept it exclusively addressed to authors, I listed some basic do’s and don’ts they should keep in mind and follow when reaching out/responding to bloggers and reviewers across all platforms. Back then, I promised a part two addressed to reviewers was coming and I’m finally coming out of my summer-long blogging rut and feeling inspired to write it.
I might have ranted times and times again about how authors’ behavior towards reviewers can be questionable because I’m on the receiving end of it, so that’s what I naturally talk about more. BUT I know us reviewers aren’t so innocent ourselves, some things I’ve seen go down on Twitter have been very harmful and hurtful to authors and quite frankly…very unnecessary. So here I am today, addressing my fellow reviewers with a few pieces of advice that I think are necessary to keep interactions respectful and friendly.
1- Interact but don’t demand interaction back
I’m the first one to tell you that when authors you love and admire reply to your tweets, emails, follow you back, etc… I jump up and down and squeal from excitement but as much as that’s a good feeling, don’t think they owe you anything. Most authors are amazing people, they love talking to their readers, they love getting and accepting requests for features on our blogs (interviews, guest posts, think pieces, etc…) so never hesitate reaching out to them, but you also need to remember that they’re busy people, between personal life, mental health, writing their books and so many other things, replying to everyone can just be hard if not impossible. So, don’t take it personally.
Also this is something addressed to everyone but more specifically teens, but please don’t be offended if adult authors don’t follow you back or keep a certain distance when replying to you, there’s a clear power imbalance that they’re trying to navigate and boundaries they don’t want to overstep. And often times they do notice your hard work promoting their books, love your posts, etc… but do not want to invade your personal space hence not following you, etc…
2- Don’t address authors with your negative opinions about their books.
Unless it’s something incredibly offensive and hurtful, if it’s just your personal opinion and the book didn’t work for you, KEEP IT OUT OF THE AUTHOR’S SIGHT! It honestly baffles me whenever reviewers go out of their way to let the author know they didn’t like their book, replying to the author’s tweets, tagging them in negative reviewers, tagging them in threads ranting about their books (yes, I unfortunately have seen this happen before) etc… and honestly, what is the point? The reviewer gains nothing from it, if anything, they lose from it. It’s not well perceived at all to do something like that in the community. And on top of it all, you hurt the author by telling them something they poured their heart and soul into is…shit.
Just. Be a decent person and don’t do it. Same goes for telling them you don’t want to read their books, their covers are ugly or anything that’s unnecessarily mean, really.
3- Don’t threaten authors…even as a joke
This sounds like a no brainer but the number of times I’ve seen this in authors’ mentions is…disturbing. I feel like readers sometimes forget that authors are actually *GASPS* human like us and threatening humans is kind of bad, you know? And I know that “If you kill my favourite character I’m coming after you” might sound quirky and funny to some but guys, that’s hella creepy and scary, especially to authors who have faced REAL threats several times. Those jokes don’t seem like jokes anymore and if I’m being honest they’re not good jokes regardless, because these authors don’t know you, they don’t know what kind of person you are or what your intentions are so getting messages like that can be terrifying. People have boundaries, and threatening people who don’t know you is well well WELL past those boundaries.
4- Review Own voices books with care
This is to both Own voices reviewers and non-ov reviewers. To the first, you gotta remember that we ALL experience our identities differently and if that author’s portrayal doesn’t fit you, IT’S OK, I promise, you don’t need to bash it and call it inaccurate, it’s just different, just like different people are…different (so articulate wow, someone applaud me please). Your experience is not the one general truth, and if you treat it as such, the way you criticize books can quickly become harmful and erase the author’s own experiences. Don’t be that jerk who erases people and tries to silence their voices.
Now when it comes to non-ov reviewers, it’s simple, the representation is not yours to criticize. Unless it’s something glaringly harmful, leave it be, The number of times I’ve seen reviewers who aren’t of a certain ethnicity or religion go “But X culture is barely in there, i didn’t learn anything, so I didn’t feel like they were really X” makes me want to rage. Be respectful of identities that aren’t yours, Don’t overstep and think you’re all knowing just because you know someone of a certain identity, or even worse, Don’t demand education from a fiction book.
(I’m probably going to make a whole post on own-voices books, I have too much to say)
5- Little things to help them out
I know this isn’t really an interaction related thing but it’s little things that can be really helpful to authors. I know it is extra work for us so you don’t have to do them, but doing them is Always nice.
- Whenever a review goes up on your blog remember to also post it to Goodreads and Amazon. I know there are other retail sites that you can crosspost you reviews on but these are the ones that are available to everyone everywhere, if there are other retail sites that apply to you, CROSSPOST THERE TOO! I’m gonna have to insist on Amazon, especially when it comes to smaller and indie authors because they rely a lot on Amazon reviews to get more booksells, so please do that and help them out!
- When doing feature posts like interviews, playlists, guest posts, etc… tag the publicist in your promotion, it’ll let them know that the book is well received and that helps the author because sometimes their publicist may not notice the posts. Even better, you can email the publicist telling them how much you loved the book. They love that kind of feedback.
There are definitely more things but for now these are the things I can think of and I feel like I got all the basic guidelines down. I hope this is helpful to fellow bloggers out there. Please be nice to each other (when people deserve it, of course) and keep our interactions as respectful and Pleasant as they can be, for all the parties involved.
That’s it until next time.
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.