Today's post is just two quick housekeeping type notices regarding some blogging issues I've encountered and been thinking on recently.
The first is negative reviews. A few weeks ago, I posted a negative review on Goodreads and got some pretty angry responses from people who felt like those who don't like a book shouldn't post a review, or should only post a review saying "this wasn't for me". I see that on blogs from time to time as well and it kind of annoys me. I would much rather see a post detailing explicit reasons, backed up with evidence from the text, for why a reader thinks a book is bad than a post that says "it just wasn't for me".
So to help explain why I write negative reviews, I thought I'd give you an idea about why and how I write my blog. I am not trying to break into the publishing industry as an author, editor, copywriter, anything. So this blog is not about bolstering relationships with authors, publishers, publicists, etc. My blog is really about my Reader Friends. One of the greatest joys in my life is telling people what to read. So this blog is about what I'm reading and whether or not I'd recommend it to a friend. I have several ideal Reader Friends in mind when I write this (mainly my bloggy besties Jacki and Jenny). When I write a review, I write it as if one of them had asked me, "What did you think of X book?" If I hated a book and didn't think they would enjoy it, I would tell them, right? I wouldn't give a bunch of nonsense about "every book has it's reader and I can find something positive to say about anything".
Honestly a lot of the "find something positive in every review" to me seems like posturing for ARCs. When I read that someone wants to be professional by refusing to criticize a book, unless that person is involved in the publishing industry (which is a totally different situation), I read it as "I don't want to mess up my chance to get more free books." All of that to say, you will find strongly worded criticisms of books on this blog. I don't personally attack authors, but I do write my honest opinions, even if those opinions aren't always nice and happy. I am not opposed to tearing apart a bad book and you can look forward to two such reviews tomorrow. So be warned.
My second thing is actually related to ARCs. My review policy is about to undergo some serious changes. I've worked with TLC Tours a lot and I'm definitely not going to give that up, but I am going to be giving up most other ARC submissions. One, I'm tired of feeling pressured to read something on a deadline. A few books a month for TLC is one thing, but I hate having every book I read dictated by deadline.
The other thing is that I am SO SICK of the book blogging obsession with ARCs. People are constantly talking about the issues relating to people requesting ARCs, ARC envy, who got what, etc, etc. I see it most on YA blogs, but, what is ironic is that on YA blogs I see it mostly from adult bloggers rather than teen bloggers (way to stay cool teens!). And it drives me nuts. If you don't get an ARC, wait three months and buy the book. I promise there are bigger issues in the world to fret over. And of course the assumed obligation to the author and publisher to write a nice review ("I didn't love it, but I'm sure it's great for other people"), even if the book is terrible. I'm just over it. So I'll still be doing TLC Tours and I'll still be talking to publicists that I already have relationships with and respect, but I'm not going to be using Shelf Awareness to request anything and I'm not going to be accepting other requests. I'm just gonna read what I want to read.
Feel free to react to my very unpopular opinions below. And if you're offended by the trashing of books (even if they deserve it), you should probably avoid my blog tomorrow.