Who’s ready for another discussion post?
When I first started out, I loved the fact I could interact with authors. But etiquette is a delicate matter to uphold, especially on the Internet where anything and everything can be screensaved and reposted. Over the last year, I’ve noticed that the Twitter book community has jumped on the cancel culture bandwagon. Now, some situations deserved that treatment, but not others.
So are we all that surprised there was another Twitter scandal? Give me a second to stop cackling. Let’s get to the next one. Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give and On the Come Up, announced that we reviewers should stop tagging authors in reviews. Now, at the time, the wording was slightly different from what she’d meant to say. Take a look:
Perhaps the words “good reviews” are what stuck with everyone, who took offence. That assumption is what I came up with, but I can be wrong. Maybe the mention of all authors is what bothered people. And I see why some reviewers would feel somewhat offended. Many of us find our next favourite books from other readers. And often times, I see several authors retweet reviews, which made me look at their titles.
Later on, she clarified that she meant the bad ones, which is completely understandable. I haven’t written in several years, nor have I drawn anything since high school. But as a creator, I hate criticism. Yes, it comes with the territory of creating. However, criticism easily morphs into criticizing. The two concepts blur together. So I’ll never criticize authors for separating their work and their mental wellbeing.
So how do we handle a situation that has turned into some Internet brawl? Cue the music for the upcoming tips, please:
If You Add Fuel to the Fire, That Isn’t Your Best Option
Picking a side and constantly arguing with the authors will get you nowhere. I mean it. You’ll have a hoard of followers coming after you. They’re scary, fierce, and vengeful, let me tell you. If you honestly think burning or selling books you’ve already bought will affect bestselling authors, just don’t bother. It won’t. You aren’t hurting anyone, except your online image and even your website.
If You’re Confused, Ask for Clarification
There’s nothing wrong with doing that. Don’t go on a rampage because the author’s choice is not to read a review. Just bloody ask. And I know some reviewers asked Angie. Others, though, kept bringing up her original post, and that added to the anger. Yes, at first, my hackles were raised, and I questioned why Angie acted this way. Maybe rewording the original post could have prevented the situation. But I doubt if the outcome would have changed.
Don’t Immediately Settle On a Side for the Hell of It
Mob mentality somewhat plays a role in social media. We process information at a rapid rate and don’t break it down to understand it clearly. Honestly, taking a step back allowed me to see how the issue blew up. I see no reason to have a “to die on this hill” moment. It’s ridiculous.
Rethink Sending That Comment or Reply
The blogosphere wants to thank you for your kindness. So yes, I believe authors and social media users need to read, reread, then reread some more before they hit the send button. Angie might have prevented the scandal if she were to mention only bad reviews or to list only herself, not all authors. But that’s hindsight for you. You never know what might have occurred. She still could have been attacked by the same people. But the reviewers who criticized her equally could have done the same. Again, always read before you post, bloggers.
Simply Accept the Author’s Wishes or Ask for Permission in the Future
Is that tip difficult? Hell no. Not at all. Accept it. Move on. Pick up a book and read. If you want to ask for permission to tag said author, then ask. Explain that you thought the author’s readers would enjoy your review. Or you wanted the author to read it, if possible. There’s nothing wrong with that. Many authors have gone down this road, decided not to read any reviews, and asked for followers not to tag them. I won’t go into the underlying issues of this particular problem. I strongly believe it was a lost-in-communication error on both ends, then escalated into something toxic. But let’s get one thing straight: do not tag authors in bad reviews.