Author/Reviewer Interaction Etiquette part II

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Hello friends!

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.

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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.

If you found this post helpful in any way, please consider supporting me Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com


That’s it until next time.

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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29 thoughts on “Author/Reviewer Interaction Etiquette part II

  1. There’s been a couple of times I agreed to review a published book or finished book (not going through further edits) and I ended up not being able to review the works due to the number of typos. I didn’t want to recommend something that needed editing, nor did I want to say, “Don’t read this” just because it was full of typos.

    Any advice on graciously telling an author that, after reading the work, you would rather not review the book because it’s not up to your quality standards?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been in that same situation as well many times before and founds that honesty works best. I’ve emailed authors politely telling them that the book is just not for me and it would be unfair to them to review it negativelt when i know there are others who would enjoy it. I don’t really tell them that the book is bad haha. Because i think that can unnecessarily hurt their feelings so i leave it at “the book is not for me”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think rule #1 is so important! I feel like social media makes people think that we are entitled to access (and therefore responses) from everyone else who we follow and interact with, but it’s actually up to everyone individually to decide who and how they want to interact. It’s so easy to forget that authors are people, too, and they can get overwhelmed with social media and have a right to choose not to respond.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so, so much for taking the time to write this very important post, Fadwa – all of these are definitely things to keep in mind as reviewers, too. I saw Mel just above in her comment talking about how easy it can feel to chat over on social media with some authors and, even if I am myself more often than not a bit too shy to interact easily like others do, I also feel like it could be easy to forget that reviewers are not in a place to ask interaction back from authors or anything like that. It’s beautiful to see how many people connect that way, but boundaries are important, too 🙂
    Thank you for this 🙂

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      • Agree – especially on social media, things can get so overwhelming so quickly, there. What matters is that people take care of themselves and interact how they want, because it’s their own space, too ❤ 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a good post. We need to remember that reviewer and authors are “humans” and act accordingly. Authors are busy people and (normally) deserve our respect.

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  5. This is a really wonderful post, and although I hope that most people don’t do some of the obvious things when reviewing (like become hurtful and unprofessional towards the author), it’s always good to be reminded! I usually post my reviews to goodreads, but hadn’t considered the importance of amazing despite it being my main source of book. Will be doing so in future! Thanks for all the advice 😁

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  6. This is such a good post Fawda! I’ve always thought it’s OK to be critical of a book and write negative reviews, especially if it’s harmful and you want to warn readers about it, but I’d never tag an author in a negative review or tweet. I’ve never understood why people do that. Even if the author has asked for honest opinions, I think I’d steer clear of tagging them because it can be hurtful to read criticism that’s not constructive. I’m also totally with you on the point about non-ov reviewers – it’s good to mention that rep is in a book, but if it’s not part of a reader’s identity then they shouldn’t criticise it, since it’s not their place to do so. Thanks for writing such a great post! ❤

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  7. This is such an interesting read! I never tag authors myself, unless it’s a really positive review. I have to say that I absolutely dislike writing negative reviews and that I’m 100% dreading those. Unfortunately, you have to write them sometimes though 😦 It’s not happening that much in my timeline as far as I can see it, but your points are really on point. I just realised I wasn’t following you on WP until now whoops!

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  8. This a very thoughtful post, Fadwa. Boundaries is one of the most important things to remember as a reviewer. I read a comment above asking about how to politely tell an author that you DNF-ed their book or didn’t like it, if they’ve emailed you about said book. This is something I’ve experienced recently and wasn’t very sure how to respond to!
    With #ownvoices books I understand that some may like it and some may not. If I don’t like a certain, #ownvoices book I refrain from rating the book on Goodreads but I do leave a short review why and include a disclaimer. It’s always important to talk and have discussions on these subjects but only as long as people remain respectful, and are open to learning!

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    • I’ve been in that same situation as well many times before and founds that honesty works best. I’ve emailed authors politely telling them that the book is just not for me and it would be unfair to them to review it negativelt when i know there are others who would enjoy it.
      Oh! that’s a good way to go about it, although i do rate and review the book and make sure to let across that it just didn’t work for *me* not that the rep is bad.

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  10. Excellent points as always Fadwa! These are seem like common sense to a “reasonable person” but I too have seen the above scenarios far too often. I also like how you included tips to help authors out like cross-posting reviews & sharing posts with the publisher. Simple things like that can have a big impact when they are all added up.

    Like

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