BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Rant: I Am Not A Frustrated Author

So an author, Joanne Harris, tweeted her unhappiness with a blog review (she deleted many of her tweets so some of what you see may not make sense) of a YA book she wrote. Naturally, that attracted a lot of attention. Some people defended Harris's reaction and some argued against it. One person, Anne Hodgson, defended Harris with a tweet that had me seeing red. Now, there are much worse tweets floating around out there on any number of subjects but this one pissed me off. It's a very sweeping generalization, reflects an ignorance of book bloggers (in my opinion anyway), and is very arrogant. Ms. Hodgson states in her twitter bio "Writing itch unrelieved by dodgy blog" so perhaps she was really referring to herself and generalized to all bloggers. I don't know her so I can't say for sure. Her own blog appears to be a non-book blog but one that talks about her life.

The tweet in question:

These tweets are also relevant:

I started blogging because I wanted to talk about books: books I read, books I hear about, news in the book world, etc. Just a few years before I began this blog I had discovered several sites that allowed me to do just that and it was wonderful, especially as I had few people in my daily life who shared similar interests. Several of the people I met on those sites inspired me to start this blog. Over the past few years, I've worked to find my voice and fine tune what the blog is about. I'm not much of a debater, never have been, so I rarely post rants or discussions.

But the arrogance, the rudeness of that tweet got under my skin. Am I an author? No. Do I want to be an author? No. Am I writer? Well, that depends. I don't make a living at it nor am I compelled to write. I do write blog posts regularly and writing is a major component of my day job so in that sense, yes, I'm a writer. Do I have a burning need to write or a passion for it? Definitely not. I'm a reasonably good writer but it's not actually something I enjoy. It takes me ages to write the simplest piece; I struggle with organizing my thoughts, getting the tone just right and making sure my meaning is coming across accurately. I'll procrastinate writing until the last possible minute. But in order to keep the blog going, in order to discuss books, I need to write and so I do.  

There are bloggers that want to be authors, there are bloggers who are authors, there are bloggers (such as myself) who couldn't care less about being authors. There's room for all of us, without denigrating anyone. There will always be disagreement, whether it's about reviews, books, proper behavior, etc. I would just like to see people be civil, and if we could avoid sweeping generalizations, that would be good too.

And of course, all of this won't matter a year from now or even a few weeks from now. It's just not that important. But, this was something that I felt a burning need to write about, so I did.


  1. I feel an urge to fall over laughing like some animated smiley, with my butt falling off. (Oh, I so wish! Could get rid of 30lbs right there!)
    "Authors, however, have reached nirvana"? Does she EVER read the blogs of authors?
    I've had one teeny tiny story published in one teeny tiny collection, have I reached nirvana? HAH!

    Oh, wait, maybe that doesn't make me an author, so I'm not qualified to make that reply?
    Okay... let's see.
    How about reading some of the history from this blog by an author of over a quarter decade's professional experience?

    Or this Hugo winner?

    Or this professional married to another?

    Or another, who has just done the re-vamps of a series she started over a quarter of a century ago, well before Harry Potter showed up?

    Or this one?

    I know YOU know about these, Bea, but this twitter poster is seriously living in la-la land. Oy.

    1. Yeah, she must have a very different idea of Nirvana. Nor are authors inherently superior as her tweet implies. "living in la-la land" - she really is.

  2. I am not an author, I am not an aspiring author..i am a reader. A passionate reader, who loves to share that passion. That statement is flat out ridiculous.

  3. Okay, really? Now that just adds fuel to the fire for the authors behaving badly post I am formulating at some point in the future.

    I have a perhaps not so unique perspective as a blogger. I am a writer. But I am also an editor. I can only imagine what this woman would say about some of my reviews.

    But it really gets my hackles up to see stuff like this. I think it is reprehensibly insulting for an author to take offense to a review. Apparently they prefer we lie. I had something similar happen recently but it was in private, at least.

    Lisa @ Just Another Rabid Reader

    1. I'm an editor also, does that make me a frustrated author? GAH

      I get an author disliking a review or being upset by it, but I don't see the value in doing it publicly or bashing a reviewer. Who benefits from that? Find a trusted friend and vent in private. At least the author who was unhappy with your review kept it private.

    2. I absolutely agree. I had a trusted friend tell me the best thing I can do when I do publish something is to not even read reviews of my work because it will just upset me. People have a right to their opinion and it is none of my business what they think of me.

      I have had people tell me I must edit because I cannot write, and those who cannot do, teach. I think that is a crock of crap too, personally.

      I will never understand why they see value in publicly griping about a bad review. That will do more damage than a negative review ever would.

  4. Bea, she obviously has a chip on her shoulder, but a lot of people do about various things. So this was just unfortunate and a tiny bit pathetic unless she meant it as tongue-in-cheek thing. As a blogger I would not want to be an author. No way. There are so many average books coming out every year, it's scary. I don't want to be part of the statistics. :) Yes, we do harsh reviews sometimes, and they gotta hurt. But it happens with any product out there for sale. You'll have people who enjoy it and those who don't. To gripe about those who don't it's a waste of time and energy. :) Anyway, good post, I've enjoyed it!

  5. Her statement about authors having reached nirvana is so bizarre that I have to wonder if it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek!

    Seriously, there are all kinds of bloggers. Some are also authors, some are writers who haven't been published yet, but an awful lot of us are like you and me and Kimba and several of the other commentors: passionate about books and reading, and eager to share that passion. I'm not part of a book club. Few of my friends read the same things I do. So I, like you, blog to share my love of books.

  6. It in instance like this that make it bad for those of us who just want to tell people about the books we read. Not everyone is going to love every book. That's why there are so many different genres. This whole things saddens me that people act like this way. All over a 3 star review, when did a 3 star review become a bad review anyway?

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  7. I think this is just one of the many ways in which instant communication is a hinderance instead of a help. If the author had seen the review in another format and had to write a letter to the the reviewer, she probably would have calmed down about whatever got her upset. I try, (and admit to failing about half the time) to give myself 24 hours to respond to an issue that has upset me. If it still bothers me, then I take action. Let's face it, sometimes its better to give our brain a chance to catch up to our emotions.


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