Standing My Ground

Posted October 21, 2023 by Marsha in Discussion / 2 Comments

In case you haven’t noticed, there has been quite a larger-than-life debate on some social platforms, mainly X (formerly known as Twitter), about leaving reviews for books.  Some comments are rather bizarre, others downright rude.  I try to stay out of these things; after all, it’s just an opinion, right?

But this time, I stepped in when I just could not stand the post that I originally commented on.  I mean, as you’ll see below, I interpreted it as very rude and condescending.  So, I spoke up.  Right or wrong, I added my opinion to the conversation.  I’ve gotten some likes from that action and some comments, but overall, I’m proud of myself for taking a stand… and stepping out of my comfort zone.

I am not going to identify the person who made the original post. (I won’t give them more power)  But I will copy/paste the original comment along with my replies to it and other posts that I was fired up about.  Looking back, and a bit calmer, I don’t know if commenting was the right thing to do, yet I’ve discovered that I’m not the only one who shares my thoughts about reviews… so I’m still glad I did it.

Here are the X (Twitter) conversations:

This is the original post, not naming anyone, but this is what started my rant:  “shock collars but for people who read books and don’t leave reviews” …IMO “shock collars” are used to train disobedient dogs.  I am NOT a disobedient dog who needs to be shocked into leaving a review for every single book I’ve ever read.

My response: “No. I bought the book, and my obligation is done. ARCs are the only required reviews I must write. That I make the choice to review all the books I read is personal, and certainly not because “Oh, I’d better do this review, or someone is gonna get mad.” No, you got paid=the end.”

One comment on that response (not the original poster): “Even ARCs are not a required review. We need to get past this misunderstanding”

My response: “In theory, I agree. Yet I feel an obligation to do reviews for ARCs in a fair exchange for a book at no cost to me. I have DNF ARCs when I could just not stand the book one moment longer. But I feel I should do a review, that’s my opinion, no one has to agree – it’s right for me.”

There were other posts that I commented on yesterday.  But I don’t feel the need to show the downward spiral of most of the opinions voiced in them.

I’m doing this blog post because, honestly, I’m still angry.  Let me first say that everyone is entitled to their own opinion; they own it, and it’s not up to me to change their mind… it is up to me as to how I respond to it.

This answer to a post is my bottom line for my blog, for the reviews I post, for my own opinion on the subject (and yes, I do “own” that opinion):

“I’m seeing a lot of, I can only call it, bashing reviewers for how they review a book posts the past few days. I talk about what’s in the blurb, then my reactions to the entire book. I don’t do spoilers, the blurb is already “out there”. Each reviewer does it differently; why bash us all?

… the bottom line is, I read for my own pleasure. I share my feelings about a book to get conversations started with others who also enjoy reading. Again, … my pleasure. I’m not changing what I enjoy doing. That simple.”

Should I have made this blog post (and hit publish)?  Probably not.  But I’m still angry, still fired up about the current trend toward something I used to love to do, but now I’m second guessing if I want to continue if this is the general consensus of what I do.  I don’t want to let someone else’s opinion (or simply bait-clicking trolls who are mean and rude for their own pleasure) change what I love about sharing my thoughts on books.  Yet it does make me wonder.

Opinions are welcome in the comments below.  None are entirely right nor entirely wrong… they are your opinion, and you are entitled to them.  I’m not asking for pats on the back here – I am frustrated, angry, and disheartened.


2 responses to “Standing My Ground

  1. Lela May

    So pleased you’ve used your space to vent your thoughts. If you can’t do it here, where can you? The debate about reviews is exhausting. I can absolutely understand why that comment set a fire in you. Reading is for pleasure. Readers/ bloggers/reviewers do so many wonderful things for authors and should never feel under pressure to review. ❤️

    • I understand that authors “need” reviews (mostly positive) at the 3 (good book) up to 5 (excellent read) for several reasons. Self-gratitude, because, of course, every author deserves to have their talent acknowledged and praised. But also for advertising opportunities or for their publishing house to actually approve that sequel (next in a series) that is already a WIP but needs the “boss” to either continue or be interested in continuing a series, I get all of that, and it is also part of the reasons that I feel so strongly about leaving reviews (even if they aren’t as timely as I would wish because of, you know, Life).

      As a blogger and reviewer, I appreciate authors like you who don’t see that review from a reader as an obligation as part of the purchasing process. To me, a review has always been a bonus, a gift, if you will, to an author saying, “Good job, I really enjoyed your work” type of thing. Yet, if I bought your book and gave you (and the pub. house) my hard-earned cash, then that’s where any expectations end. If I do more, that’s on me to decide – not the author, in my humble opinion.

      But… I appreciate you so much, and thank you for your thoughtful comment. 🙂

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