Throughout the month of April, there has been discourse about reviews and who they are for. I wanted to voice my opinion in an attempt to clarify what I think the consensus is. When I first discovered Goodreads [before Amazon owned it] I would go to this site to find out what readers opinions were. I wouldn’t necessarily base my opinion on what others were saying however, if there was something I’m already thinking, and a reviewer points that out in their review, I would be more compelled to go with my original opinion about the book.
I, personally, am not a big name reviewer. I also don’t review every book I read. I read for pleasure and not to influence anyone with my reader opinions. However, I do like to remember certain books, which is why I do review them on review sites. The thought of knowing someone can take offense to what I write about a book to the point that I have an author or their fanbase bully me online, is worrisome. To then know that the publisher may take no action against that author is even more troublesome.
More now than ever, authors are feeling it is okay to attack reviewers online who do not give their books a five-star rating. Not only have they crossed this line, but publishers seem to be encouraging this kind of bullying behavior with their silence without regard for the possible violence it could lead to if it progressed, which would then lead to lawsuits of authors and publishers who took part and therefore are complicit in the bad behavior.
With some reviewers and authors having a large following, the publishing industry does need to take a closer look at how they handle authors who don’t respond well to reviews. Especially considering the current climate, it is irresponsible to sit back and wait for authors to rant, rage and implode or explode. This puts everyone in danger.
I was compelled to respond to an issue that took place on Twitter, but I don’t want to give attention to that author because that would be rewarding bad behavior.
In conclusion, I want to say reading has always been a time to learn, reflect, enjoy, and empathize. As an avid reader, I will continue to read however, I find it more difficult to fall in love with books when they are associated with problematic authors who behave badly and show their true selves online. I leave you with a set of questions: should authors go back to the days when they were not as visible? Would we prefer knowing less about our authors so we can experience reading their works without the influence of their identity affecting our view of their literature?
Happy reading! And, be kind to one another.