I’m a book blogger AND a writer save me. Which is a logical (I think so anyway) yet conflicting way to live. You’re utterly surrounded by books, but you have to put up with your own inadequate writing compared to those glorious shiny books you review all the time.
But, I have to ask, do I as a reader (and a writer) have the right to criticise published authors?
I’m not talking about typos and opinions on issues/writing style/characters. I’m talking about the authors themselves. I’m talking about stuff like this:
“The author clearly didn’t think this through.”
“The author didn’t put as much work into this book as the last one.”
“OMG how did this get published? The author can’t even write.”
You know what? I’ve SEEN these in reviews. I’ve seen writers (not yet published) talk this way on the internet.
And it makes me so, so, so angry. I am a writer! I have an agent and hopefully will present a book of mine to you in the
far near future. I bleed over every page I write. Oh gosh, I sit on a sentence and change one word ten times.
My mind boggles at the fact that sometime, when I’m published, a reader will review my book and say, “The author didn’t put much work into the world building.” Buuut. But. But….
I know my books won’t make everyone happy. You, yes, YOU sitting here reading this right now! You might hate my book!
I will slap you with a pancake. I know that and I expect that, and it’s okay by me! I’m not “just saying” that either. I don’t love every book I read, why on earth would I expect you to?
Everyone is different. We can’t expect or assume otherwise. Ever.
I reviewed Side Effects May Vary and absolutely hated it. My friend Jen at Starry-Eyed Revue reviewed the SAME book and loved it! See? Same book, completely different opinions.
I believe we are entitled to dislike/disagree/despise books. AND I think we’re allowed to say so. I know I can get ranty and emotionally involved in my negative reviews. I know for sure I’ve been too hard on books in the past. (And I do apologise for unfair reviews I’ve written.) I’m growing as a reader/reviewer and I’m learning. I swear, I get it ALL wrong sometimes! But I try. I try really hard to like all books, to review them fairly, and to be relaxed and have fun with my opinions, whether they’re good or negative.
I make mistakes. We all do.
And I’m not saying every author “must be” beyond-amazing, either! Maybe an author didn’t work as hard as others? Maybe they’re not as talented as others? Some authors ARE better writers (but then, even that is hugely subjective!).
But I hope, really really really really hard, that I never say an author “hasn’t worked hard enough” on their book. How would I know for sure? I honestly believe it’s a naive thing to say.
Cait is still editing her fantasy book. These things take time, okay? Her new mantra is: “if in doubt, hack it out.” Oh wait…that’s rather violent. Maybe she’ll stick to: “if in doubt, let the writer eat cake”. That’s a lot nicer. She just finished reading UNHINGED by A.G. Howard and is tweeting about moths.