A frequent admonition is circulated around Twitter: Don’t tag authors in Tweets linking to negative reviews. I have boosted the signal for that message myself, and on more than one occasion. But you know what? That’s bullshit. I’m through giving writers a vote whether I tag them in a “negative” review.
Why? Read on.
First things first: I do not write my reviews for writers. My blog does not exist to service them. I write for the benefit of readers (unlike writers, a scarce resource these days). Tagging writers points potential readers toward the writers themselves. Providing some service, however small, to readers is more important than maybe pissing off a writer.
There is a certain basic courtesy to not subtweeting someone. My review is out there. Any writer with google will easily be able to find it. I just saved them a step. They are still perfectly free to leave my review unread and ignored.
But most importantly of all, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT A WRITER IS GOING TO CONSIDER A NEGATIVE REVIEW. A 3-star review means the book was good. Not very good, certainly not great. But I didn’t waste my time reading it. It isn’t unpublishable rubbish. Tell that to the writers who bitch about 3-star reviews. (Don’t like it? GIT GUD.) I have had writers complain about a quibble in a very positive review. At length. At greater length than my actual review. I have had writers whine that I didn’t understand their book. Sorry I gave you the benefit of the doubt, bro. What you actually intended makes for a worse story. It is a good thing your powers of communication are limited.
So I’m through trying to divine what a writer will or will not think is a negative review. I don’t care what they think. And it isn’t worth the time it takes to consider the question. Nor do I feel compelled to.
I have to sit and watch writers spew forth their nonsense on Twitter all day (well, I don’t have to, but we are on Twitter: we’ve all made bad life choices). Fine, say what you want. (What’s that? You aren’t writing for me? Then you won’t care what I write, because, well.) It’s a free country. We have a transactional relationship. All I want from you is reading material. But you are the last people I am going to give any sort of veto to.
This isn’t feelingsball. If you are overly sensitive, you are in the wrong business mate.