#DiverseBookbloggersDiscuss: When Depression rep does more harm than good

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Hello guys !

CW: Depression, self-harm

Depression sucks.

I think everyone who has ever suffered from it will agree with me here. Depression really, really sucks. In fact, all mental illnesses suck but as someone who deals with depression, I’m especially familiar with it and the representation it receives in media.
And to be honest, I rather hate it.

For the longest time in the world, I struggled to accept that I needed to seek help; that I was probably depressed and needed medication and to talk to someone. And the main reason for that? Because I didn’t think I was depressed because I didn’t look like your typical “depressed girl” from the novels that I had read.
I never realised that depression — that all mental illnesses — manifested themselves in a million different ways with each person. No-one has the exact same experiences with mental illnesses and I think that is something we need to explore much more in fiction — especially in Young Adult fiction where mental illnesses often go unnoticed or untreated for this very reason. Because they believe that they’re not “bad” enough to have depression.

I mean, we all know your typical mental illness novel right: manic-pixie-dream-girl who meets a guy who kisses her self-harm scars and cures her. It’s just not realistic at all. But it’s always the “pretty” side of depression that is shown in novels. It’s glamourising self harm and acting as if depression is just being a little sadder than normal. That’s the only way you can be depressed — if you cut yourself.

Never have I self-harmed (well, not in the actively self-harming way that most people assume. I do smaller forms such as picking my cuticles and such and I’m working on it) and that was one of the sole reasons I fought the idea that I was depressed. Depression = self-harm, from all my previous experiences with representation in media.
And it wasn’t until I had been diagnosed and came to terms with my illness that I realised just how shit this is. Depression isn’t pretty. It isn’t faint scars that someone will kiss. It isn’t just sadness until such a time that you find someone to take your mind off.

It’s not showering or brushing your teeth for weeks because you just don’t have the energy to. It’s not eating or just eating trash until your body forces you to do better because preparing food takes too much effort. It’s losing friends because you can’t keep up conversations or you’re always cancelling plans. It’s staying in your pyjamas for days on end. It’s losing the enjoyment of simple things like reading or watching TV.

Depression sucks.

And I want to see more of it in fiction. I want to see characters fight this horrible disease and sometimes not win their daily fight. Or weekly fight, because hey, I’ve been there. I want on page medication and therapy and relapses. I want characters to fuck up and fall down and struggle to get back up again. I’m sick fed up of depression automatically being associated with self-harm as if that’s the only symptom there is. And as if cutting is the only form of self-harm (which is another rant altogether for me, haha.)

But I want more realistic portrayals of mental illness so that people like myself, won’t end up in an unsafe situation because they keep insisting they don’t suffer because their symptoms are never shown.
Give me the ugly side of mental illness. The subtle side of mental illness. Give me the realistic portrayals so that kids don’t suffer in silence because they haven’t gotten to the extremes yet.


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Writer & Book blogger @ CAH Writes

Charlotte Anne Hamilton is a twenty-two year-old Scottish author with two fur-children. She is an avid reader and gamer, as well as a dabbler of art. When not writing like she’s running out of time, she can be found listening to music which inspires more stories.

Noteable posts:

Diverse Book Bloggers Discuss is a way to boost diverse bloggers who are brilliant and have a lot to say but have smaller platforms and don’t really get as much reach as they deserve. What this is, is basically a guest post feature where twice a month diverse book bloggers will discuss things they are passionate about on my blog. 

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How to Approach reviewers? (Dos and Don’ts)

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Hello guys !

I’ve “officially” been reviewing books for almost two years and in that time I got my fair share of review requests, some that were good, great even, and some… not so much. The latter are what sparked this particular discussion post, especially one I got recently that was just plain bad. Objectively. It was condescending and borderline rude, and it also didn’t contain any useful information. I debated posting a screenshot (that leaves out the book/author info out) but ended up not doing it. That being said, if you follow me on Twitter, you probably saw it, because I was really annoyed when I first got the email.

I thought I’d help out because sometimes new writers do not know how to go about this so I hope these few guidelines help.

Approach 1

I can’t say this enough, but this is not only the first step but the most important one, and I noticed that a lot of people do not do this before contacting me. If you spot a reviewer that you think about emailing for a review, read their review policy first (and reviewers -especially bloggers- have a review policy somewhere, it’ll make things easier for both you and the author). There are a lot of reasons for this. First of all, it saves you time and work because if the reviewer doesn’t accept the kind of books you write, emailing them is useless. Make sure your book fits the age category and genres the reviewer reads.

Review policies are also helpful in knowing what to expect once you email the reviewer, in which cases the reviewer emails back (because there are some, like myself, who do not email back unless it is to accept the review request, it’s just because of lack of time really), maybe even what time frame to expect an answer in.

Approach 3

Okay, we all agree that greetings like “Hello Blogger”, “Dear reviewer”, “Hi wordwoonders” and the like need to go. Unless the reviewer doesn’t state their name anywhere, please use it, it’s the least you can do when adressing someone. This irks me and is a sure way for me to not give the email the attention it could’ve gotten if the author had taken the time to look my name up (which is literally all over my blog). Also, MAKE SURE YOU SPELL THE NAME CORRECTLY!! That doesn’t take too much effort either.

Another thing that guarantees rejection is when authors approach reviewers like they’re doing them a favor… I. No. I know that being able to read arcs I’m excited for ahead of time and for free (in exchange of an honest unbiased review of course) is a privilege but it’s also work, a butt load of work. And when the author is the one requesting, they’re asking for us to work… for free. So, condescending isn’t the way to go about it. Think about it as a transaction, the benefit goes both ways. And like, it’s generally a bad look to be rude or condescending.

Approach 2

Name of the book, synopsis, author site, time frame, retail links, goodreads link, anything that might be useful to the reviewer needs to be in the email. If you are requesting a review, I shouldn’t be the one to do all the work to find out what the book is about etc… The least you can do, it you don’t email the synopsis, is a goodreads link, that should ALWAYS be in the email if it exists.

The email that sparked this post didn’t have any of the things mentioned, barely the name of the book and author, no synopsis, no links. I had to go look for the book myself, which if I was busy, I wouldn’t have done and I realistically cannot do that for every book I get emailed about, it’s just too much. So, please, for the love of all that is blue (my favorite color), put that info in your email or make it easy to find. Preferably, in the email though.

Approach 4

If you get a rejection (in the form of an actual email or not getting a response) do not take it as an attack on your person, there are various reasons the reviewer could refuse and none of them have anything to do with the author, some of which are:

  • The time frame doesn’t work with their schedule or they’re all around busy.
  • The book doesn’t fit their reading preferences. (this is why review policies are important)
  • It might fit, but the premise itself doesn’t sound like something they’d personally enjoy.
  • The email was lacking in one of the ways stated above.

So, please do not turn passive aggressive or insist on them taking on your book if this happens, it won’t change your mind, it only makes matters worse. Things like “you don’t know what you’re missing out on”, “you are missing the point” or anything that is rude are not recommended as a follow up email to a rejection. I know rejections are hard but it’s only one reviewer and you’ll find other that are a better fit for you.

Well, folks, this is all I have for today’s discussion. I know it’s a bit different from what you’re used to seeing from me, as my posts are normally targeted at readers and other bloggers but this is something that has been bugging me -and others- and I thought I should address it.

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That’s it until next time.

If you’re a reviewer, have you ever gotten any emails like these?

What are some extra tips you’d give authors who want to email you?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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#TheReadingQuest Wrap-up post

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Hello guys!

#TheReadingQuest is a kickass video game inspired reading challenge created by Aentee @ Read at Midnight than run from August 13th to September 10th and today marks the official end of this amazing kick-ass reading challenge since yesterday was the last day. And I’m kinda proud of myself for posting this on time haha, it’s prescheduled since today is my first day back to classes and rotations *shudders*. Continue reading

Muslim representation I want more of

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Hello guys !

A few months back I did a post about Muslim representation in books titled Why don’t I see Myself? which I loved writing but since then I’ve got a better, more concrete idea of what I want our representation to look like and this post is mostly going to be a follow up of that one where I go more into detail about some of the things I talked about last time as well as maybe, potentially, add some new things.

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#DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss: Glasses -or lack there of- in books.

 

Sinead.pngHello guys !

Let’s talk about characters’ eyes in literature, specifically those characters who have bad eyesight. I’ve been wearing glasses for years – never contact lenses though. I don’t even remember when I got my first pair – sometime in primary school. And I’m not the only one in my environment who wears glasses or contact lenses.

I want to talk about some bookish situations that irritate me as someone with bad eyesight, and as a person who wears glasses. (Not all people with bad eyesight will wear glasses, there are also other accessibility devices that we could use). Continue reading

Teens in the YA community: Experiences + Recommendations

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Hello guys !

So today, I’m back again with another collab post where I’m not gonna be talking much for a change but giving the mic to other people who are younger than me but they sure as hell are more awesome and brilliant. When I first joined the community I was 18, an older teen, but still a teen all the same. I didn’t speak up, I didn’t even interact but I was there all the same so I saw things, things that weren’t always pleasant. Now I am 20 year old, barely an adult and see the same pattern still.

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1000 Followers: Q&A + A GIVEAWAY !!!

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Hello guys!

Are you excited? Beause I’m excited!!! Anywho, this post is already going to be lengthy because of all the amazing questions I got (thank you everyone <3) but here I am, celebrating an incredible milestone with a Q&A which… I do everytime haha. But this time around I’m adding a giveaway to make it a bit more special. If you’re here for the giveaway, SHAME ON YOU. No, I’m just kidding, I don’t blame you, I ramble a lot. Continue reading

#DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss: The YA community from the eyes of a YA

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Hello guys !

This is something different, isn’t it? Well, today, I’m here to present you with a new feature in which I give the reigns to other bloggers. When I started getting really close to the thousand followers, I started thinking of a way to give back to a community that has given me so much so this is how Diverse Book Bloggers Discuss came to be, as a way to boost diverse bloggers who are brilliant and have a lot to say but have smaller platforms and don’t really get as much reach as they deserve. I know I’m not the biggest out there, but I thought I’d do anything I can to help give my fellow marginalized folks a boost. Continue reading

1000 Followers Celebration: Q&A Announcement

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HOLY CRAP I CANNOT BELIEVE I’M WRITING THIS POST RIGHT NOW !!!

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Friends, we did it !!! My blog reached 1000 followers a few days ago and I still can’t wrap my head around that number, it’s just surreal. How can it be that so many people want to read my ramblings? When I started this journey a year and a half ago, this number seemed like a foreign concept, I didn’t think I’d attain it in years, let alone less than 2 years. Anyway, I don’t even have words anymore. Have you ever seen rambly me not ramble? NO. Well, hi, I don’t have enough words in my vocabulary right now to ramble, they’re all excited screams.

All of this to say how incredibly grateful I am for every follower, the old ones who stuck with me through highs and lows, all my experiments and not so great posts. And the new ones who are making everything I can dream of as a blogger possible or at least more attainable. Endless and special thanks to all the friends I’ve made, some of which are closer to me than most people IRL, some I go to with everything, my happiness and sorrows. Thank you, I love and appreciate you.

ANYWAY. This is not what you’re here for, what you ARE here for is my Q&A Announcement, SO, during the next week I will be taking any and all questions, reading, blogging, professional, personal, ANYTHING… And I’ll be answering everything next saturday, August 19th. And I may or may not have a surprise for you in that post, so ask away and keep an eye out for that one. But first, ASK AWAY.

So that is it for this quick post. Again, thank you for 1000 followers, it means the world to me ❤


That’s it until next time.

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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Navigating Discussion Posts

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Hello guys !

A little over a month ago, I made a post about What Makes People Come Back to a Blog and I promised back then that I’ll start doing helpful 101 posts for new bloggers or just bloggers who want the extra little help. So here I am today with a post about discussions, to hopefully break them down and give you a tip or two that I gathered from my own experience as someone who has been writing them almost weekly for a year, which doesn’t make me a professional, it just gives me one more excuse to ramble. Also, this is in no way me saying that you *need* to write discussion posts to be a good blogger or some nonsense of the sort, this is just me sharing my personal thoughts that I hope will be helpful to someone. Continue reading