I really don't do enough discussion-based posts on here, so I'm hereby trying to change that. There's a lot going on in the world of reading and writing and YA literature that gets me fired up to talk for hours. So here we go. (Only not for hours - don't wanna bore any of you!)
Recently, as in, six days ago, a post regarding a touchy subject was made by Urban Fantasy author Stacia Kane. That said post then sparked further debate, causing Kane to produce this post.
*Nothing here is directed personally at Stacia Kane. I'm merely responding to what she's said.
Now that you've got the background material, let's move on.
The touchy subject is that of the struggles of being an author and posting negative reviews - the benefits, consequences, etc.
You think, Sure, there are pros and cons. I don't want to diss a fellow writer's hard work and have them lash out at me. Yet, I want to be honest.
But what if your negative reviews prevented you from signing with a particular agent? Would you give up reviewing forever? Would you try to find a different agent?
In her initial post, Kane says she heard from two agents in a chat that they wouldn't want to sign on a writer that has dissed their work in the past.
What I don't understand is why that affects anything. There are always going to be people that dislike your work. That's how it goes. So why should you not give them their moment when you've had yours - just because they didn't give something you've written a stellar review? Isn't that mixing personal matters with business matters?
Writing is a very personal act - what you write maybe has a little part of you attached to it, or maybe a part of a friend, or a loved one. It's your feelings on paper. So of course rejection is going to hurt, to a degree. Especially something as publicly rejecting as a negative review. But every reviewer is entitled to their own opinions. So why should they be rejected just because they may not have enjoyed one of your ("your" being any author) works?
Kane says there's a difference between being a reviewer and a writer. You can't (or shouldn't?) be both. When you become a writer, as in, a published author, things change:
" The fact is, when you decide to become a writer you give up some of your personal freedoms. When you sell your first book you give up even more. There’s no getting around that, and there’s no changing it. You can no longer say exactly what you think exactly the way you think it at all times. You can no longer assume that only the people you’re familiar with are reading your blog or your tweets. You no longer have the luxury of an opinion, honestly, on a lot of things. "Admittedly, this perturbed me the most. What kind of sick irony is this - to strip an author of their freedom of speech? I understand there's a level of professionalism that should be maintained - no one wants to be trashy, classless or ignorant. But I believe authors should be allowed to write negative reviews - they're people, too. They don't like everything. So why shouldn't they say so (in a tasteful manner, of course)?
Kane has an answer for that in her follow-up:
**Profanity is used.
" Here’s a question. Why the fuck would you want to possibly alienate someone who could help your career? Just so you can tell the world what you think of their book? Do you really feel that strongly about being able to inform the world at large that you found Author A’s dialogue unrealistic? It’s really that important to you? "By "someone who could help your career," she means that, as an author writing a negative review, why would you want to alienate another author that could help you in some way?
I don't understand why writing a negative review has to be taken to such an extreme. It's one opinion. Why does that have to mean you're "alienating" the other author? And if that other author does perceive it to be alienation on your part and does not want to converse and/or help you in the future, so what? It's just one author. Isn't it better to be honest about your work and someone else's rather than play it safe on the off chance that they might later help you?
Maybe I've got it all wrong. Maybe I'm crazy. But if I ever become a published author, I will do what I can to not be silenced in such a way, and be stripped of freedoms.
***The reason I say all of this is because of the alarming amount of bloggers that are suddenly closing up shop, so to speak. Or going on haituses. All because of this controversy. They're afraid reviewing will impose on their futures as writers. And I hate to see that.
What about you guys? Agree? Disagree? Inbetween?