Many of you have already probably heard of this controversy, but I'll catch you guys up just in case. One blogger asked on Twitter whether or not reviewing books would affect the chances of getting published, and the answers were surprising. Stacia Kane said that yes, it can lower your chances as well as several other agents and authors.
I'm a writer. I love writing; it's my escape into a fictional world of my own creation. But I love it more than just for artistic pleasure - I like publishing my work. Right now my credits are just a handful of poems and short stories in obscure magazines, but someday I do aspire to publish a novel. I know I'm pretty good for my age, but I also know my craft needs a lot of work (like, A LOT), and I'm not afraid to work at it as much as I can. My dream, like so many others, is to support myself with my writing.
But I'm also a reader. I loved reading before I loved writing, and honestly, I'm not sure which I love more. I read because I write; I write because I read. And in April of last year, I discovered agent blogs, then writer blogs, then book blogs. By the end of June, I had my own little book blog up and running.
That brought me to a third thing I love to do: review books. Not many of my friends like to read as much as I do, or read at the same quantity I do, so this blog, and the blogosphere in general, was such a wonderful place for me to express my thoughts and discuss and analyze books with others. And I've found that reading books with a more critical eye helps my writing. I learn about, for instance, pacing when I read books with great pacing, but also when I read books with poor pacing.
There are those who say that agents and editors might shy away from your book if they see that you have given books affiliated with them a negative review. Even if you say it politely and respectfully, even if it's a positive review with a few aspects you didn't like discussed, they say it can hurt your chances.
They might be right. I mean, it's a good point. And in general, I'm a relatively timid person. I avoid confrontation if it's not necessary. But when it comes to book blogging, when it comes to saying respectfully that I didn't enjoy a book or that I didn't like the pacing too much, I insist that I stand for my opinion.
I'm not going to censor myself. I'm not going to post only reviews of books that are absolutely perfect, because you know what? Then this would be an empty blog. There are no perfect books just as there are no perfect people. And I'm not going to lie and say that I liked everything about a book if I didn't.
I know what it's like when someone doesn't like your writing. Like I said, I write seriously so I get my work critiqued when I can. I ask people not to hold back even though every time I get a particularly negative or harsh critique, it's painful. So I understand, I think, what it's like when your book is criticized.
But I want to be honest. I'm going to continue book blogging and sharing my opinions. The one thing that does come of this, however, is that I'm going to be more careful with what I say. I'm going to be conscious of being gentler (i.e. "I didn't enjoy this book as much as I wanted" instead of "I didn't like this book"), and I'll be sure to include what I liked in a book as well as what I thought could have been better.
What are your thoughts? If you're a blogger, do you post only positive reviews? Did this controversy change how you feel? If you're not a blogger but you read blogs, how do you feel about this? If you're a writer, what do you think?