Beyond the Blurb | Act Your Age and Read YA

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that young adult readers will always be shamed. I’m not surprised that someone has decided to criticize YA readers, authors, and books.

Since I’m primarily a YA blogger, I thought I’d address this issue in the next installment of my discussion series, Beyond the Blurb. And before we get to the post, let’s give Melissa from The Reader and the Chef a round of applause for addressing this topic. A writer from Fordham Ram, Fordham University’s journal of record, suggested readers read their age. I understand the original poster is an aspiring writer, but antagonizing a potential and a powerful audience isn’t necessarily the right direction to go before starting a writing career.

Read More »

Advertisements

Beyond the Blurb | Why Can’t Female Villains Get Better Backstories?

Morning all,

Back in 2018, I talked about female leads deserving equal respect as their male counterparts. I loved that conversation. I opened up about an issue I witnessed while travelling through the blogosphere and Goodreads. And I saw how many female readers see the same problem. Now, I want to talk about female villains.

I love them. They give readers a new antagonist who can offer a refreshing storyline. But I often find many them with badly thought out backstories. So if our leading ladies get them, why can’t our villains receive them as well? For my next discussion, I want to talk about that question.

Read More »

Beyond the Blurb | Are Selling, Trading, and Hoarding of ARCs the Next Necessary Evil?

Morning, everyone!

Let’s say this next discussion topic, in my Beyond the Blurb series, branches off from my previous post about the blogosphere fighting over ARCs. They are a controversial topic and a problem that many bloggers, readers, and reviewers deal with.

More and more, I see international bloggers struggle to request them. Even though I am Canadian, and there are several Canadian-based publishers in the country, I may very well be overlooked by American-based ones. Either North American laws prevent them from acknowledging me, or they don’t see the point. And don’t get me started on American giveaways and pre-order contests. However, at least I have some options nationally. But many international bloggers do not.

Read More »

Beyond the Blurb | Should the Book Community Fight over ARCs?

Okay, book bloggers,

I couldn’t sit on this topic for any longer. And for my next discussion post, I want to talk about the most recent social media spat.

Back in January, Twitter blew up with many bloggers discussing/arguing about ARCs. Susan Dennard, the author of Bloodwitch, stirred up the issue. You can see her Tweet below:

Now, as a marketing and publicity intern at a small publishing house, I do agree with her to a point. Yes, ARCs are expensive to print, ship, and depend on. It’s one of the publisher’s first line of marketing tools that target the right audience. When I see the print quote for ARCs, I want to make sure that all copies will reach the right readers and contact them to see if they’ll post their review.

As a blogger, I don’t agree with Susan completely. I’ve seen Instagram market books quicker and better than just a traditional review. Some of the biggest bookstagrammers like Bridget from Darkfaerietales_ and Kristen from My Friends Are Fiction have large followings. I’ve seen other bloggers admit they don’t always have time to read every single book they receive from publishers. However, a photo and publicity on Instagram are golden though.

So to get back to Susan’s comment, should we bloggers give up an ARC that we won’t read? Should the book community even bother to argue over this situation? Depending on your blogging influence, I don’t think we need to. We can provide a different type of marketing on another social media platform like Instagram. Read More »

Beyond the Blurb | Breaking Up with a Book from Your Favourite Series

Morning, book fam!

Are you that surprised I’m going with the hard discussion topic? I’m not. Not in the slightest. Breaking up with a book is hard, painful, and often heartbreaking. It particularly hurts when the title is one of your most anticipated reads of the year. Sometimes though, you may have set your expectations high and now run into the situation where you aren’t sure if you should DNF that book or suffer.

And right now, I’m in that position. On the 13th, I first started reading King of Scars. I’ve been waiting for this book for a good year, even though, at the time, I didn’t read the Grisha Trilogy yet. And I want to scream at the book gods and demand why I’m not loving it as much as I want to. Yes, I expect this series to floor me just as Six of Crows has done. But I feel Leigh, even though she is my queen, and her books are a bit of a hit-or-miss with me. And I hate that. Hate it more than damaged books. So if you’re stuck, like me, what do you do? How do you move from the literary fork in the road? For my next discussion post, Beyond the Blurb, I’ve come up with these simple tips to live by:

 

If You’re Struggling So Much That You Can’t Focus, Put the Book Down and Move On

What’s the point in struggling? What’s the point in wasting more time on a book that doesn’t capture your attention and draw you in? You shouldn’t have to suffer just because you bought the book. You can simply DNF it.

 

If You Feel as if You’ve Invested Enough Time into the Series, Reconsider

Right now, this tip is where I go back and forth on. I’ve invested a lot of time and money in this series. I’ve purchased the merch, the special editions, and all the books. So why shouldn’t I put in the time for the next addition to this ever-growing world?

 

If You Believe You Can’t Get into the Story, Find Another One, Then Come Back

Perhaps the book isn’t the right fit for you at this time. Some books are meant to be read at the right moment. And others need to be read later on. If you hate DNFing a book, you can always come back to it when you’ve cleansed your palate.

 

If You Need a Pick-Me-Up, Read Your Favourite Genre to Get Back into the Swing of Things

Even though I love YA fantasy, which is one of my favourites, I’m digging the paranormal romance genre right now. And I feel like I need some zing in my dull reading life. Some genres are hard to get into, so always go back to the one that makes you feel happy.

 

If You Still Aren’t Sure, Ask a Reader/Blogger Friend

Friends are there for more than just talking about your favourite book boyfriend or the most hated character you want to see die. If you don’t know what you should do, ask your friends what their opinions are. Outside help is appreciated.

 

So what do you do when you contemplate breaking up with a book? What are your tips that can help readers when they’re stuck in this dreaded situation? What do you think I should do?

Beyond the Blurb | How Blogging Has Saved Me from My Mental Illnesses

Since the #BellLetsTalk campaign, which draws awareness to mental health and illness, begins today, I thought I’d talk about mine. As most of you know, I have two mental illnesses: anxiety and PTSD. I wasn’t diagnosed until last year. I always knew I had anxiety since I was young, but I never knew I had the latter.

My mental illnesses are always present in my life. Something or someone may set them off. And I withdraw from life. Now, some of my blogger friends may have realized that I haven’t been around lately. As you read my post, I will be at a local hospital, waiting for my Mom to go into surgery to remove the breast cancer the doctors have found. I wasn’t sure if I’d want to discuss something this personal on my blog, but it has become an extension of me and my life. And maybe reaching out to other people who have dealt with this situation will help.

I have withdrawn from the blogosphere. And a part of me wants to apologize and say that my anxiety keeps me away. But I feel as if that’s an excuse. So instead, for my discussion post, Beyond the Blurb, I want to talk about how book blogging has saved me from my mental illnesses. I never believed blogging would do such a thing. But here I am, marvelling at how a simple website has given me so much. So here is how:

It Gives Me a Place to Vent

With my anxiety and PTSD, I feel safer in my home, away from the people and the society that have caused me so much anger, rage, and pain. I used to love going out at night, but for years, I feared to do that alone. But now, the night is when I add another post and talk about subjects that have provided me a platform to feel as if people will hear my voice, which is often quiet and unheard.

 

It Allows Me to Reach Out into the World and to Find New People

You may not understand how every single one of my readers and the ones who have become my blogger friends and family has helped me through my dark times. Just talking to me and reaching out have done wonders for my anxiety. For years, I refused to talk about my scars because I didn’t see the point. But the past is a part of me. If I don’t acknowledge it, how can I move past it? So knowing people are there who are accepting is uplifting.

 

Even If It May Be Stressful, Blogging Releases My Built-Up Anxiety

Odd, right? How can something cause stress help relieve it? Somehow, it does the opposite of what I thought it would. Blogging shouldn’t demand all of your undivided attention. If it does, then perhaps you’re approaching it the wrong way. You call the shots. So if I don’t feel up to do a post, I don’t write one.

 

It Shows I’m Not Alone

When you feel isolated, your mental health typically takes a nosedive. We humans aren’t solitary beings. Even if we crave the wilderness and the quiet away from society, we usually find our way back. When I figured that knowledge out, this understanding is when I realized I can’t seclude myself from everyone. I can see that mental illness is shared through everyone. And I am not the only person who feels like drowning sometimes.

 

It Has Also Enabled Me to Give Support Others Who Are Struggling

I truly find one of my callings in helping people. I may be selfish, but when I offer to help another person who suffers from anything in life, I know I’ve accomplished something. I feel empowered. So the major reason why I started Beyond the Blurb was to offer support to new and seasoned bloggers who need that little nudge in the right direction.

How has blogging helped you as a person and a blogger? Has it helped or affected your mental health? Let’s chat!

Beyond the Blurb | Dealing with Authors Who’re Offended by Reviews

I think we bloggers all worry about this situation. Some don’t mind. Or others believe criticism from authors is a right of passage. I haven’t hit that mark yet. And I don’t know when it’ll occur or what I’ll do. But one incident I saw on Twitter simply hit a nerve with me.

Because of my journalism education, I’ve witnessed and read truly horrible things online. But I’ve mainly felt comfortable in the book community. Yes, I stay away from certain fandoms and readers who love to rip them apart. I don’t see the point. Nor do I involve myself in that kind of negativity or obsessiveness. But I never expected to see an author of colour attack two bloggers who gave a low-rating review. I won’t name names since I promised Satou and Santiago from Inkish Kingdoms. But the way the author handled the situation didn’t sit right with me.

So how do we confront authors who criticize our reviews and possibly even attack us directly or indirectly? Do we address the issue or the author? Or does ignoring the problem help? Perhaps, both choices are viable options, depending on the issue. But here are some tips if you run into an online spat:

Read More »

Beyond the Blurb | Should We Panic over or Be Ecstatic for Book Adaptations?

Calling all Grisha and stabby babies!

Who’s ready for another discussion post?! The day has come. GrishaVerse is hitting the small screen! And all the Grisha fans let out a collective scream around the world. I clearly heard it. And I couldn’t stop myself from doing the same. Having Nikolai and Kaz sharing the same screen is almost too hard to fathom.

Now, I could rave about this news. And a part of me would like someone, preferably one of my bestie bloggers, to sedate me until we see the cast. I don’t know how I can handle the wait. Can you? I doubt anyone can.

But one little negative thought wiggled in my giddiness: the dreaded “what if the Netflix screws this adaptation up?!” feeling. Yes, I’m stirring the pot. But I’m generally curious to see how people feel about movie adaptations, particularly this one. So should we freak out and be the happy book lovers who’ve been waiting years for this chance? Or are we setting ourselves up for possible disappointment?

Read More »

Beyond the Blurb | How to Survive a Stressful Holiday

Perfect timing, right? You may be heading to your in-laws’ house soon. Or you may be dragged to the compulsory holiday get together, but you want anything but. But mental health can take a nasty backseat when Christmas arrives. So how do you manage life with the holiday bustle? For my next Beyond the Blurb, a discussion series, I want to talk about some tips on how to survive the upcoming festivities.

Read More »

Beyond the Blurb | What Should Readers/Bloggers Do When Authors Are on the Attack?

It’s time for another Beyond the Blurb! For my next post in my discussion series, I may step on some toes. But when has that thought scared me?

Just when you thought the book community and industry were past the Faleena #CockyGate scandal, another one hits. This time, a relatively new author Tomi Adeyemi, who wrote the hotly anticipated Children of Blood and Bone, accused Nora Roberts—yes, that Nora Roberts—of stealing and profiting off of her book title. Mind you, you can’t copyright a book title. So there will be many variations of one. But nonetheless, the dreaded “react before you think” illness you all know as pre-tweeting struck the Internet by storm. And the YA community still has some learning to do.

How do we bloggers and readers handle this situation? Frankly, I thought common sense would prevail, but this is the Internet, where everyone is offended, everyone harasses other people, and everyone believes the mob mentality is simply fine to participate in. But even if you’re not influencers (hello, there, I welcome you to the club), you, and we all, have an obligation not to fuel an already inflamed situation. Again, how do we address this negativity? Here’s how:

 

Stop Believing That Attacking Other People Is Okay

Let me be clear: it isn’t. And it’s borderline harassment. Online bullying causes real harm to people. If they have a mental, intellectual, or physical illness, you will exacerbate said illness. And in the Internet age, we’re connected to the net 24/7. When you have a huge following, many readers will see your message. And they’ll react in a way that you may not anticipate. You’re responsible for the message you give them. Do not be the kindling wood to the fire. Do not ignite a problem you’ll have no control over.

 

If You See It, Stop and Address It

It’s 2018, and yet here I am, giving this kind of advice. I never knew I’d reach a new low, but the book community always amazes me. But am I surprised by this mob mentality? Not really. We people as a society feel empowered when the mob is on our side. But when the problem is reversed, we see society for what it truly is: cold, cunning, and cruel. Tomi had the responsibility of owning up to her mistake immediately and imploring her 53,000 Twitter followers to follow suit. But she didn’t. Instead, she allowed her readers and followers to attack Nora, who never deserved this negative treatment. There was no mention of stopping the attacks.

 

Support the Other Author (If Warranted)

As a journalism grad, I’ll always need to see every side of the story: Side A, Side B, and the truth. So do your research. Yes, Tomi made a rookie mistake, but she didn’t own up to it though. Some followers may beg to differ because of Tomi’s last tweet on the matter:

She didn’t admit that the onus was on her. It was her mistake. Nora, on the other hand, explains the issue differently though:

“This foolish and false statement has damaged my reputation. Vicious and ugly accusations and names have been tossed at me when I did nothing but write and title a book.”

And Nora also states that she wrote and delivered the manuscript to her publisher one year before Tomi published her own work. Sometimes, finding the truth is difficult and ugly. I didn’t want to believe it. But you need to find out who needs the protecting, not blindly follow your favourite author.

 

Think before You Tweet

Please, blogger friends and fam, don’t let me get away with foolish tweets or other posts. If you think I’ve done something wrong or inappropriate, let me know, discuss your issues, and enlighten me. Yes, I’m still learning as a blogger and a human. I’m still delving in complicated fandoms and series, so I may not realize or even know there are problematic topics at hand.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I can support an author who pulls off this stunt, which I find sad since her debut novel is one book I’ve been hoping to read.

 

So what are your thoughts on the Tomi and Nora spat? How do you think bloggers and readers should handle this situation? Do you think Tomi should have done more? Let’s chat!