For What It's Worth

For What It's Worth

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

tell me something tuesday

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Tell Me Something Tuesday is hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings and discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging.

Question: Do you think bloggers and authors can really be friends?

Yes, because I am friends with a few authors and friendly online with several more. But I do think it requires you to be transparent if you do promotion for those authors or stay away from their work all together on your blog if you aren’t willing to be honest if you don’t like it. For example – giving a rave review to a book you didn’t like just so you don’t hurt the author's feelings.

I beta read for a few authors that I met through blogging and I’m also friends with them in real life. I think it’s important to enter that arrangement with caution. If you are friends first, will criticism of their work hurt that? I’ve been super lucky on that front. They are seriously looking for honest input and I understand that this is their book and may not follow my suggestions. It’s more of a professional transaction and we’re able to keep it separate from the friendship.

I will give a RT or shout out if I really loved it and I always state if I beta read when posting reviews on Goodreads or here. I tend not to give ratings or full reviews for those books.

I think it’s actually more difficult when you’re “internet” friends.

This usually starts when you’ve loved and gave a rave review for a book & then naturally reach out to each other – either the author thanking you for the review or you letting them know how much you love their writing. You start chatting then one day you don’t like a book they’ve written and….awkward.

Do you review it and be honest? Or do you avoid talking about it to save hurt feelings?

This has happened to me, several times, and I’ve chosen the honest review. That’s slippery slope if you start holding back on your honest thoughts about a book or you could end up with nothing to review if you’re a real social butterfly on line. lol

In a few cases, I lost the author friend. They didn’t say anything me but unfollowed me on Twitter etc and stopped offering their books for review. And that’s ok. I get it.

In one instance, the author was somewhat new to publishing and I met her and had loved her first 5-6 books but disliked the 7th (gave it a 3.5 star rating, which I didn’t consider bad btw). She stopped interacting with me (& that’s fine!!!) After a few years we touched base again and she had grown a thicker skin and understood the review/blogger process a bit more and now we’re friendly again.

I think it’s a delicate balance on both sides and it’s not necasarily for the faint of heart.. Especially from the author’s side. They feel blindsided by a negative review from someone they consider a friend and fan – but bloggers can get offended too when they say what they think and it’s just part of blogging and then get blackballed by the author.

So…sure, but proceed at your own risk lol

23 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Quote:
    "I think it’s actually more difficult when you’re “internet” friends."

    I thought it was the other way around, but I get what you're saying.
    You may remember I wrote a post about the bloggers-authors relationship a while ago. Here's the condensed version: I try and stay close to them, but not too close. With the handful I'm closer to, we only talk about their work, with the occasional wink at stuff like shows we both like or small things we post or tweet about which result in us being aware that we have/share an interest in them. We don't talk about our home lives or things like that - unless it's a "congrats on becoming a father" or something along those lines. Sometimes it's not easy, because you feel drawn to that particular person, or you can feel that they're drawn to you, and I have to admit I have an author I'm closer to than I am to everybody else because I can see that she likes me as a person, and if we could meet IRL we would probably end up being friends (of course she's far younger than me, but not TOO young). But here's the thing - I want to go on promoting their books without being biased. On the other hand, I do hope I'll never have to say that I don't care for one of those books, not out of fear, but because it would hurt me to do so. They seem to be cool about the possibility, and from their interactions with other people on the net (that is, the way they never question reviews with non-stellar ratings etc.) I'm sure it would be safe for me to speak my mind. My relationships with three of those authors did indeed start with 3/3.5 reviews, but they realised that I did like their books, only "I could see how they could be better", in the words of one of them. They even trust me with their drafts now - I've beta-read some of their new projects, and even a TV-series pilot for a contest. (None of them are famous authors to date, so it's not like I'm parading LOL). So I probably just lucked out with them. But I can say that even those writers I never got close to have always been nice when I rated their books around the 3-stars mark, or at least haven't unfollowed me or said bad things to me for that. It's true that one of them never replied to the email where I linked to my review (she had sent me the PDFs personally) and explained why I coudn't bear myself to rate her books higher, but I also underlined the fact that my review was aimed at matching the right reader with her books, only that reader wasn't me. Then again, she didn't unfollow me or anything. Maybe she honestly didn't know what to say LOL.

    ...And this was the CONDENSED version ;D;D;D.

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    1. I guess because my IRL friends *get it* about reviews and blogging. They wouldn't dream of interfering in that. Yes, I do think they're hurt if I don't love a book they write but they keep that separate from the friendship. I've heard about other situations that didn't work out as well.

      I mostly had problems with authors who hadn't published anything when we became friends so I didn't know I was going to be crossing a line lol Then I did love their first few books so of course it's not a problem but when I mostly loved - but pointed out a few issues in subsequent books, it hurt their feelings. I think they were blindsided.
      But they did learn to separate those things later.
      The other thing I forgot to mention is that I never accept their books for review anymore. I buy them myself. I feel like I'm freer to give my honest opinion and there's no - but I gave you a free book thing going on.

      It all depends on the author and what they can handle/feel comfortable with.

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    2. Quote:
      "The other thing I forgot to mention is that I never accept their books for review anymore. I buy them myself. I feel like I'm freer to give my honest opinion and there's no - but I gave you a free book thing going on."

      Yep. I do feel a little guilty when someone volunteers to send me a copy - because I mentioned that I was looking forward to that particular book - and then I have to rate it less than 3 stars. I feel like I tricked the author into sending me their book. But I was sure that I was going to LOVE that story! And it only happened to me with authors I'm not talking to on a (semi)regular basis so far.

      I guess that when you say "real life" you mean you have actually met those authors in person? as in, hung out with them sometimes?

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    3. I don't like when that happens but in those cases I try not to accept the book directly from the author. I look to Netgalley or the publisher.

      You can never really know if you'll love a book and of course you are requesting/accepting it because you're interested but it happens.

      I have an author that I've been friendly with for years and LOVED all her books but seriously disliked the last few and had to give negative reviews. I have no idea how she felt about that but I won't accept any arc's directly from her anymore because there's a high probability I might not like it. I'll but it )because I hold out hope! lol) but there's no obligation.

      And yeah, by real life I mean friends -as in met hung out with, text, email. That's a whole different thing than chatting online.

      I've also started sending them my policy before I accept so they understand that it will be an honest review and have agreed to that.

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  3. And that is how I lost touch with someone too. I gave her a 3, she gave me the cold shoulder and a year later I saw her on twitter dissing reviewers and saying things like if you do not have something nice to say, then do not say anything at all...srsl?

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    1. That's...fifty shades of bad. Especially since one can review a book and be honest without being rude, or even being actually constructive - like most of us are, I seem to notice.

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    2. But that's not a review. I really don't understand that line of thinking. And it only seems to apply to books.

      If you/they were buying a product they look for honest reviews to help them purchase, say a vacuum cleaner. Sure, it's less personal but someone still put a lot of time into designing the best vacuum cleaner. If everyone only said how wonderful it was without noting the downsides - they would buy it and be like - no one told me about all these problems! I wouldn't have bought it because it wasn't what I needed for my type of floor.

      Oh well, I think that's an argument that will never be resolved.

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  4. I'm not friends with any author at this moment. I do have friendly relationships with most of them though. Oh yeah, you know me. I'm very honest in my reviews. So, I love an author. I enjoyed one of her books but the second one, not so much. She then refused to send me her next book. I got it. Books for authors are like their own babies. I understand they feel betrayed and hurt when their books get bad reviews. But my integrity as a blogger is at risk if I compromise. So, nowadays I choose to not having a very close relationship with any author. It's hard though. As book bloggers, authors are our rock stars. But yeah, to avoid awkward moments, I do that even if it's hard. :(

    Awesome discussion!! Love this topic. :)

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    1. Yeah, I understand their side of it so I'm not offended in any way if the unfriend me or whatever. As long as it's not an attack.

      I think when you rave about an author's work, they kind of get blindsided when you don't.

      I have to be honest about my opinions though so I understand if they can't do both.

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  5. I've had authors I considered friends of a sort in the past, and I work with different authors, but I don't always review their work. If I do, then it's because i loved it and I'm honest that I'm working with them, etc. I think it's possible but there is more "work" on the author's part - which just means they can't get upset if you don't like a book of theirs. Chances are you liked other work by them, so it's really not personal. I know some authors that just never read their reviews and I feel like if I was an author, I would probably do the same - or have someone else vet them for me so I'm not reading the really awful ones. I know it happens, but that doesn't mean you have to read them. Reviews aren't for the authors anyway.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. I think it's something that can be done but that both sides need to respect what the other does and be able to draw a line between the friendship and the blogging. It's not for everyone and that's ok.

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  6. This is sooo hard, because I am friendly with some authors but I'm afraid that I'll be forced to love everything that they put out. It's awkward since we both gain something from our interactions.

    I've also been trying to be nicer in my negative reviews because I know I wouldn't want to read those words from the other side. There is definitely a way to respectfully submit your opinions without tearing it apart of being overly apologetic. Good topic!

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  7. I'm friends with some authors and have no issue leaving an honest review. I think the main thing is leaving a fair review, list what you enjoyed list and what made the book ehhh but don't be like this book is a piece of **** etc etc.

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  8. Yikes, she stopped contact because of a 3.5 star review? I consider 3.5 good! But yeah, I do think authors and reviewers can be friends. I'm sure it would be awkward and a tough situation if you ended up not liking one of their books, but I guess it's a risk worth taking? I only have one author I really consider an online friend (and no real life author friends), we became friends after I started reviewing his books, but luckily I have so far really liked all of them. I guess if I didn't like a book by an author I were friends with, it would depend on the exact situation as to whether I'd give my honest review or whether I'd choose to just not post at all. I'd probably just post it as long it wasn't, like, completely awful, and if any author couldn't handle that or understand that not every book is for every person, it would be disappointing to lose the friend, but that's the nature of writing and reviewing books.

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    1. I have never outright hated a book by an author I'm friendly with but I think after you give all 5 star reviews and then there's a 3-3.5 they're a little hurt? In my case this was a newer author. Like I said we've talked since and she gets it now.
      I understand if it just can't work but I can't worry about every author I talk to online. There would be nothing left to review.

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  9. I do agree it is a fine line with reviewing books from authors. I actually reviewed a book by an author that I knew from MOPS. I gave a spoiler in my review and she asked for me to change my review. I did that , but I wasn't too keen on changing my review. But then I made a call to be her friend in the end. Granted our conversation happened all online too.
    Yes there have been times that I have loved books by authors and then also another book by the same author. I didn't love it. While I might be friends with them online or in real life. There is a fine line. Heck I even rated my dad's book down low on amazon , because I get that not every book is perfect. Also its tough to review books by friends or family at times. There is a fine line . Curious on author that unfriended you ?

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    1. I would consider changing my review in the case of a spoiler but I wouldn't change star ratings or the actual content of my review.

      If they can't be friends with me after that then that's ok but they have to accept how it is from my side too.

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  10. Personally I really don't think so. The vast majority will either fudge reviews a bit or the author side will bail if a blogger dislikes a book. I think friendly acquaintances are definitely possible, though. I think that's what most author-blogger relationships I have fall into and that's okay.

    For me almost 100% of the time if I move from acquaintance to actual friend that's when I stop reviewing their books. I have a TON of popular romance authors locally. I'll usually tell them flat out if we're friendly first that I won't be reviewing their books because of it. All of them have been okay with that. I think I only review one of their books still and I read her for quite a long time before actually meeting her. some of them I'll read on my own but taking them on for review request where I have to review? Nope!

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    1. Once I'm friendly online - and by that I mean we actually talk about things, maybe DM occasionally, I don't take their books for review but I will buy and review.

      I've been very lucky (with just a few exceptions) that they understand and respect my role.

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  11. Hummmmm yes, I think this is a very fine line to walk! Curiously, all my "friendships" with author have ended. I this it's the way it's meant to be if the "friendship" is one directional based only in my willingness to read and review which has always seemed to be my case! Once there were no more books to review or feedback to be then the "friend" seemed to have lost interest in our friendship :(

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  12. Personally, it's not the sort of thing I encourage because 1) I'm not a social butterfly on twitter, which seems to be where a lot of these friendships develop and 2) it seems like a bit of a headache. Of course there are some authors with thick skin who won't/don't take it personally when someone doesn't love all their work, but I'm pretty wary of any online drama...which I'm sure happens when you're friends with an author whose books you review from time to time. I think you've got a really solid approach to it Karen, and I'm glad to hear that most of the authors you've become buds with have respected you and the integrity of your reviews. :)

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  13. A delicate balance is definitely true and transparency is key. If both sides aren't open and honest about things then it'll never work.

    I think blogger/author friendships are possible but it's a difficult balance for both. I think you've covered all the reasons so I won't bother going over them but great post.

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