Oh-my-gosh, this is awful!!

08 July 2010

So have you heard the "rumors" that if you're an aspiring novelist and you have a book blog, then you're less likely to get an agent?
You may have seen posts about it, but what's the honest answer? I don't know. Here's some of the rumours:
  • Agents don't like bad reviews of books
  • You should only write positive reviews
And on my blog, I write an honest review of the books I read. But I try not to be mean, yet sometimes my fiery passion peeks through and it sounds awful.
If I read a book that I don't like, should I review it? I asked author Elana Johnson:

Hi Elana!
I'm a book blogger and an aspiring novelist, and there's been news on several blogs that being a book blogger would hurt your chances of getting published because agents don't like it! There's one post here and a few others that I don't have the link to, but I'm freaking out! Could you help me? You probably already wrote a post about this...so I may be blind ^_^

Hi Kirthi,

I have no idea why an agent wouldn't like this. I think agents are really only interested in one thing: finding a book they can sell to an editor. If you have one of those, and the blog is an issue, I think it would come up at that time. I agree that if you want to be a writer, you have to support other writers. I just started a group of book-reviewing writers today on my blog. We're only doing positive things. I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

Now, as a book blogger, it's sort of your job to give the good, bad, and ugly. I suppose that's something you'll just have to weigh. If you want to continue doing that, you might consider doing it anonymously. And then open a personal blog under your real name that is all about supporting writers. Just a thought.

Hope this helps!

:) E (Elana)

Do you think I should go anonymous on Pages, or make this a "good book review site" and make another blog about the "bad reviews"? Or should I make a site that supports authors and their quests to get published?

23 thoughts:

  1. This is a tough question and I don't have a perfect answer just my two cents. I'm only a blogger and reader, I'm not a writer.

    I have to admit that it looks weird for me when I see new authors giving bad ( really bad ) reviews.
    I give an easy example why: imagine a new author gave me his/her book for review and I don't like it at all.

    Since this author needs promotion and publicity I refuse to review his/her book. It's better for him/her than if I'd write a bad review and since I appreciate all the afford going into writing and publishing I wouldn't feel good giving a bad review at an early point of his/her career. Does that makes sense?

    Then, I read that same author give bad reviews about other books and I might feel like " Well Ok,why should I hold me review back?"

    I hope this makes sense and this is only my personal opinion. I appreciate honesty, but sometimes business needs you to look at it from a different angle.

  2. Hi Kirthi,
    I just wanted to say that I also have a book blog, but I'm going to keep doing everything I've already done before... including book reviews, etc. Although, I have to say that most reviews I do are only about books I truly recommend and are great reads.

    Also, in reply to your last question in your post - I think you should keep your blog exactly like you already have done.

  3. Hey again, are you on Swagbucks? I saw their logo in your sidebar. Have you heard of the website iRazoo? It’s pretty similar to Swagbucks. I've been saving up for a Kindle, so that's why I'm on these sites... to earn some Amazon gift cards!

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    Well, gotta go. I do hope you’ll join in the fun!
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  4. Wow, that's a good question. If it were me (and it's not) I would probably make WORD only for good reviews and I would state that in my review policy. If you review a book that you don't care for, then it doesn't get a review on the blog.

  5. This is a slightly terrifying thought. It really surprises me that agents wouldn't like an aspiring author having an honest review blog. I actually thought the opposite would me true.

    Well, I'm not changing anything about my blog. I really can't give you any advice on the subject but I really do appreciate your honesty in reviews. Whatever you decide, I'm sure you'll be fine. (:

  6. I write and hope to get published too, and I have also written a few negative reviews, but I believe that you should tell the truth of your opinion. If your objections are real and the book could be better, then I don't see why you shouldn't say what you think.

  7. Wow! That is a shocker. I am only a book blogger and reader, I don't write myself, but I appreciate that you feel you are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    You want your blog to be informative, and you want your reviews to be honest, but you don't want to sacrifice your potential career as an author. Your options are to either not post any of your poor reviews, or to create a blog where you post your reviews anonymously. Staying anonymous can be tricky, I personally like bloggers who reveal a little bit about where they are coming from when they blog, and if you are trying to remain anonymous that will be difficult to do.

    I have seen blogs where they state that they don't post poor reviews. I don't think less of them for that, and I do respect that they are being considerate of the authors out there when the choose not to post something that might not be good. I do prefer it when they tell me upfront, so that I know they aren't inflating their reviews, they are just reviewing what they think are the best books.

    You have quite a dilemma. I wish you luck, but I will follow your reviews regardless.

    Thank you!

  8. Kirthi,

    I think that sense you also keep a list of the books you read in 2010 that by only posting good reviews you are letting the list speak for itself. Readers will see what you have read and if they know that you only post good reviews a book that doesn't have a review was obviously not well liked and you don't really need to state anything negative about it.

  9. I don't think you have to worry. Writing honest reviews is part of your "duty," I guess, as as book blogger, and honestly, if I was an agent, I would be less impressed if you wrote fake good reviews for everything. I know a couple of really popular book bloggers (who are teens) who are being published, and I think that having a blog actually helped them. You can do so much with networking and promotion on a blog.

  10. That's crazy! Any agent who wouldn't take you because of your "negative" reviews doesn't deserve you, in my opinion.

    Now, obviously don't be too harsh and mean with your reviews, but you aren't. As long as you're being honest and fair in your posts, I don't see anything to worry about.

  11. Wow! One more thing to worry about. LOL. I never heard that rumor before. I guess I thought that if I started a book blog and built a community of fans for the genre I read(and write) that perhaps when my own book came out, I'd have some people interested in reading it.

    The agent aspect never crossed my mind.

    One thing I'm careful about is treating other authors the way that I'd want to be treated. I haven't been blogging that long and haven't been asked to review a book I hated.

    But when I have to cross that bridge, I'll email the author first, let them read the review and ask them if they prefer I not post it.

    Sometimes any publicity is good publicity. But I'll let the author make that decision.

  12. I think you should write reviews honestly. There is usually good things in any bad books.Just because you don't like it doesn't mean someone else won't.

  13. Good food for thought.

    I just believe in being honest. If the authors/publishers/agents don't like it...tough cookies. Then I wouldn't want to work with them in the first place. It is IMPOSSIBLE to get all positive reviews. SOMEONE will always be ticked off about the book. And hello?! Creative freedom anybody?

    Just hang in there, chica. If someone gives you crap about bad reviews, don't sweat it and just keeping on walking. :) And don't forget that you have the support of your fans here. You can totally call on us.



  14. I don't see why your book blog would have anything to do with you being an author. Surely authors do read books they end up not liking as well, don't they?

  15. I think that honesty is the best policy. Corny, yes. But it's true. Publishers are looking for solid manuscripts. Solid writers are born from being honest and truthful about their worlds. Look at Truman Capote and Mark Twain and Langston Hughes. These authors all talked some serious smack about their contemporaries and they're super famous! Be yourself and the rest will follow.

  16. Don't worry about it. The one thing you owe your readers is complete honesty, and if that means giving a book a horrific review, then go ahead and write the review and post it.

    Don't split it into the 'good reviews blog' and the 'bad reviews blog,' because that will end up being too much to handle (plus, you also have "Dreaming in the Rain"; you don't want too many blogs because it gets pretty tough, trust me) and it just makes your readers have to take two trips to find all your reviews. You don't want to do that; it'll make it impossible for readers to see ALL your reviews in one place.

    Don't go anonymous, either, unless you absolutely want to. I don't actually believe that agents would immediately turn a blind eye to aspiring authors simply because of their review blogs; if anything, a blog would show the depth and breadth of that potential author's knowledge of the bookish world. It should be totally fine to keep your name on here, because as long as you're not slashing and destroying other authors' reputations on your blog, you should be fine. Just make sure you keep your bad reviews still nice and polite, which you already do consistently. :)

    You don't need to make a site that supports authors and their quests to get published, really, but again, these are just my personal opinions, and you should go for it if you truly want to. There are lots of aspiring authors out there, and all book bloggers kind of automatically support them, since they (and non-book bloggers, too) want to read more wonderful books! :) I would say that right now you're already showing plenty of support for authors' quests to get published, so there's not a great need for you to do much more.

    Hope that helped! Ultimately, all of this is your decision, but I hope my thoughts were of some use to you. :)

  17. Okie dokie hun let's just relax for a minute.

    1 you're a young teen, no offence but you are no where near submitting a manuscript at the moment - correct?

    2 being honest, and being nasty are two different things - publicly attacking authors is an absolute no-no for anyone, it's not nice and it's not necessary. Saying that you thought the character could use a little more depth or that the style was a little hard to understand is called Constructive Criticism.

    3 at the moment you are a book blogger first and a writer second, have fun with your blog and who knows, by the time you get published you may not even be running this blog any more.

    Just relax for a minute. You are really nice to authors in the fact that you don't trash their work. That's all you can do hun.

  18. I'd agree with Elana about agents looking at a work first and foremost and then coaching you on publicity (for your work AND you) afterward. From what I've been reading from the agents and editors' blogs I follow, that seems to consistently be the case.

    As far as what happens to your review blog after you 'become an author', I'd probably go the anonymous route. It's like if you were to start openly bad-mouthing some of your co-workers or their work. So, as far as publicizing yourself it'd be best to go anonymous OR only post reviews of books you liked.

    Now, though, I don't see a huge problem with it. Until your agent says otherwise, keep doing what you're doing.

  19. This is really interesting. I have never heard about this before, but as an aspring novelist myself, it makes me nervous. I have not written any bad reviews yet and if I don't like a book I usually don't finish reading it, but I will at least post a review saying I couldn't finish it. All three of the ideas have pros and cons. I think maintaining two blogs would be kind of hectic, but that's just me. Maybe you can use a pen name to publish your novel? Thats kind of a win-win situation.

  20. Thats a good post and interesting too! Thanks ;)

  21. A good book will have no hinder.

    Having a review site gives you another perspective on the happenings of the book industry.

    Plus you get to meet so many people along the way. Don't forget tons of authors write reviews.

  22. Hey Kirthi!
    I think that you should keep up what you are doing and not cahnge a thing. Maybe you could make the bad reviews more open to other people's opinions, such as lightly suggesting that this book might not please you, or that this book was not as satisfying as I'd hoped. But, honestly, if an agent doesn't like this blog, then I wouldn't want them as an agent. Pages is amazing and you should definitely NOT go anonymous because you deserve credit for all the amazing things you do. If I were an agent and I saw this, I would definitley contact you and set up a meeting to discuss your book. I think you have a lot of potential and your book blog can only help, not hurt.

  23. I'll have to agree with everyone else here. Here's my two cents; with book blogging, I think that honesty is paramount. When an author writes a book and puts it out there, the line between polite and rude as far as feedback and reviews go is removed. What you think can never hurt.


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