#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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Sanctuary – Hot, Adorable, Thrilling and hella Addictive

Sanctuary

Series : Beards and Bondage #2

Publication date : August 29th, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Self-published

Genre : New Adult | Romance – Erotica

Page Count : 256

Synopsis : When she needs a sanctuary…

Targeted by a sadistic former client, attorney Liz Lewis needs a place to lay low. When a friend offers her his family farm as a safe house, she eagerly accepts, unaware that she’ll have to share the farm with her friend’s brawny, beautiful brother, Silas McInroy.

…she invades his… Continue reading

There’s Someone Inside your House – Too much romance… Where is the Horror though?

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Publication date : September 26th, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Dutton Books for Young Readers

Genre : Young Adult | Horror

Page Count: 289

Synopsis : One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down. (From Goodreads)

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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.

If you found this post helpful in any way, please consider supporting me
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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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Mini-reviews: Walking on Knives & Bone

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This is the first time I try my hand at mini-reviews because I’m usually very rambly. BUt both of these are too short for me to ramble about so without further ado,  let’s do this.

I received both eArcs from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review

(No spoilers)

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TAG #37: The Book Aesthetic Tag

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Hello guys !

I’m back today with a tag that I’m ridiculously excited about. IT INVOLVES AESTHETICS !!!! And if you know anything about me, you know I’m way way too obsessed with them, I even have an Instagram account dedicated to them (here). Anyway, this brilliant tag was created by Michelle @ The Writing Hufflepuff and I was tagged by her as well. THANK YOUUU ❤

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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

Warcross – Most epic, mind boggling sci-fi I’ve ever read

Warcross

Series : Warcross #1

Publication date : September 12th, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Penguin Random House

Genre : Young Adult | Science Fiction

Page Count: 416

Synopsis : For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation. Continue reading

Mask of Shadows – Pretty predictable but very enjoyable

Mask of Shadows

Series : Untitled #1

Publication date : August 29th, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Harmony Ink Press

Genre : Young Adult | Fantasy

Page Count: 384

Synopsis : Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class and the nobles who destroyed their home.
When Sal Leon steals a poster announcing open auditions for the Left Hand, a powerful collection of the Queen’s personal assassins named for the rings she wears — Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst, and Opal — their world changes. They know it’s a chance for a new life.
Except the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. But Sal must survive to put their real reason for auditioning into play: revenge. (From Goodreads)

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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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