I'm sure you all figured this out by now, but if you write a negative review of something I wrote, I will not descend upon your blog to insult you, sic my friends on you, vow to never work with you in the future, attempt to destroy your career, or otherwise try to penalize you.

I may be privately annoyed, but I will probably get over it. I may or may not even be hurt. I have written quite a bit, some of it work-for-hire which was doomed to badness from the get-go as I had to work off an incoherent original concept someone else came up with, some of it later rewritten by others, some of simply not that good, and all of which, I realize, may not be to everyone's taste. I once came across a review (of a doomed bit of work-for-hire) which said something like, The characters are barely even one-dimensional, and had to admit to myself that the critique was perfectly true.

So review honestly, should you feel like reviewing.

Context here. I would read the comments in addition to Janni's thoughtful post, as the comments go a long way toward explaining why people feel genuinely intimidated.

I've already written a post about why negative reviews are not unprofessional, evil, or mean, so I won't revisit that here. My opinions as stated there still stand. The last italicized argument, Since authors are all in the same field, it is unprofessional for a published author to write a negative review of another author’s work, is probably the most relevant to the current discussion.

From: [personal profile] octopedingenue

It was the catboy manga, wasn't it. I'm just sayin'.

Since authors are all in the same field, it is unprofessional for a published author to write a negative review of another author’s work

If publishing the Great American Fantasy Novel means that I can't snark on Stephenie Meyer and HOOKS FOR HANDS and Theodore Dreiser anymore, I would much rather be a dentist.

See also: raging authorhate from time immmemorial!

From: [identity profile] asakiyume.livejournal.com

You're one of the people I think of when I think of someone who is not afraid to write negative reviews in spite of the fact that you have aspirations in the YA field.

I think friendships really do complicate matters, but hey, life is complicated.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com

It is pretty sad that there's so much intimidation going on.

Which is worse for the publishing industry, a book-blogger reviewing a book they didn't like, but thereby giving it publicity and contributing to a thriving culture of book discussion, or everyone so worried that they'll be blacklisted, but uncomfortable with the command to not say anything at all if they have nothing nice to say, that they don't discuss books at all?

To me, it's clear that honest reviewing is better. I can see people buying books I review via my Amazon links - sometimes from negative reviews!

But according to some, I'm the problem. And no, I'm not thrilled that I'm presumably already on many "don't work with" lists, solely because I love to discuss books... honestly.

From: [identity profile] veejane.livejournal.com

On the one hand, clearly, it's necessary to say.

And on the other hand, it is absolutely absurd. Writers who act like assholes clearly don't realize that "I see what you did thar and I'll tell all my friends" is a two-way street. I see what those authors do thar. I see whom they associate with, whom they defend right or wrong, the conflicts they leap into and the wankiness quotient of their engagement.

Dudes, when you look into the internet, the internet looks back. And laughs at you when you deserve it.

From: [identity profile] tool-of-satan.livejournal.com

I have nothing useful to add to this, but - do you have a computer again? Can we expect to see you around more?

From: [identity profile] tool-of-satan.livejournal.com


Though maybe a bit less due to college on top of work.

Entirely understandable. I just miss your posts when you're not around at all.

From: [identity profile] faithhopetricks.livejournal.com

Me, too!

And yeah, Rache is one of the very few book bloggers I can think of who will negatively review something. Most of the other ones I've seen explicitly say they won't give bad reviews to books, especially ones by writers they know, which....sigh.

From: [identity profile] rmthunter.livejournal.com

I have to weigh in on this. As a reviewer. The only reason I don't call myself a "professional" is I don't get paid. (Much.)

"So review honestly. . . ."

Is there any other way? Unless, of course, you are a shill.

I've just run across this whole thing too often, in blog posts and essays and in my e-mail (although I have to say the authors and musicians who've contacted me generally say something to the effect of "you were right." It's the fans who are out for blood.)

And as a reviewer who appears exclusively on the Internet, I'm very well aware that it has teeth and am always at pains to support my comments. Besides, I have no patience with "reviews" that are about the reviewer and not about the work. It's not about me.

So, a note to the authors, in support of Rachel's comments: Give us some benefit of the doubt -- most of us are really trying to make a positive contribution to the field and we're pretty serious about it. (And I think it's pretty easy to spot the ones who aren't.) Take it as food for thought and not an ambush.

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