Hey there Bookwyrms and non-Bookwyrms, maybe baby wyrms? Okay you get the point. Hello readers! For this month’s discussion I wanted to tap into a conversation/situation, that occurred around the end of June into the beginning of July. It seemed to take the book world by storm.
Around June 28th/29th, Angie Thomas posted a message to Instagram. Unfortunately, the original post has been taken down and I wasn’t able to grab any screenshots.
Stop tagging Authors in Reviews. Periodt.
(Again, these might not be her exact words since the post was taken down. However, she did end the post with Periodt.)
She’d turned off comments for this post and reiterated her point in her caption. Her post and message quickly erupted within the book community on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
In response to the feedback she tweeted:
Clarifying what she meant by her statement.
There were some in the community, (fellow authors, writers, reviewers etc.) who understood and agreed with Thomas’ sentiment. However, from what I saw, a majority found her statement off-putting and were deeply offended.
Prior to her post on Instagram, I’ve witnessed plenty of authors on Twitter, complain about being tagged in negative reviews of their books. Some were very distraught because they’d woken up to someone criticizing their work, with non-constructive comments about the author, author’s writing style etc. Others, simply asked readers and reviewers to refrain from tagging them and listed their reasons.
And for the most part, I agreed with them. Apart from partnerships, or receiving an ARC in exchange for a review, I normally do not tag authors in my reviews on social media. However, I have tagged authors on my blog post for SEO purposes (mostly to drive traffic to my post and the blog).
In my opinion, reviews are intended more for the consumer than the actual author. Also, being a writer and potential published author, (soon please sweet Jesus), I understand how much effort is put in to writing a story. And waking up to someone completely annihilating your work, can potentially ruin your day.
And so when she created this post, I saw nothing wrong with her statement.
However, I saw first-hand how some people in the community truly felt about it. As reviewers we help to bring, for the most part, free promotion and marketing to/for someone else’s work. Not to mention there are those instances, as aforementioned, where it is required to tag the publisher and the author. To make such a statement without clarification or allowing others to chime into the conversation isn’t entirely fair either.
In the end, I think this conversation should be had by way of a public forum outside of social media.
So with that, I’m posing it to you. What do you think and how did you feel about Angie Thomas’ statement. Let me know in the comments below.