Sunday, October 1

The Mean Girl Thing...

Yesterday I didn't have time to comment on or about RTB's Mean Girls column.

This gets under my craw each and every time I see it anymore. I've come to hate the "if you have nothing good to say..." mentality, that I used to live by. Wallbangers simply don't exist and we should never voice an opinion that isn't glowing. I'd rather live in Mrs. Giggles world than the every glowing one of Harriet Klausner. I'm sure Ms. Klausner is a very nice person, but it's impossible to love everything you read, at least Mrs. Giggles is honest.

I hate the condescending attitudes that tell us if we write something critical we are being mean. Criticizing a book is not the same as criticizing the author.

Okay, I'm taking a deep breath and moving on. Hopefully everyone is having a great weekend and reading something fabulous.

28 comments:

Bookwormom said...

Amen sister. Tell it like it is!

I didn't dare comment when I read it since steam was coming out of my ears.

nath said...

Okay, most of us have blogs and the reason why we have blogs is to basically share our opinions about the books we've read. I mean, I read reviews because I want to know if the book is worth buying or no, if the story is enjoyable or not. I actually enjoy reading Ms Giggles reviews because if anything, they're honest. What I don't like tho is ppl who are intentionally rude, ppl who will go out of their way to sound "smart and saavy" by bashing a book or an author. You didn't like the book, then fine, just say so and give your reasons.

My two cents...

Kristie (J) said...

Having lived by the "if you can't say anything nice - don't say anything at all" philosophy most of my life - I am so over it now. While never being deliberatly mean, I want to say what I feel from here on in!! And if that means I don't like such and such a book, then so be it.

Tara Marie said...

Amanda, Good description "steam..." I was relieved I didn't have time to comment when I first read the column, it left me feeling somewhat ranty.

Nath, voice your opinion, but there are a whole host of people who don't want you to voice a negative opinion, snarky or otherwise and that drives me crazy.

Kristie, exactly.

Jane said...

Ridiculous. That's all I can say. It makes for great blogging fodder though. My favorite comment was by Kara Lennox:

My philosophy is, when one person trashes another or her work, it’s a sign of deep-seated insecurity. A mean girl tears someone down to make herself feel superior. Secure people don’t have to do that.

Readers want honesty. I don't want to come to TM's blog and read only about the books she likes. I value my dollar and if someone can help me spend it or save it, I want to know about it. I really, really don't understand these authors.

If they don't want criticism, don't sell your books to the public. You know these same authors trash a particular movie to their friends but because it isn't done online, it's okay. That's more a trait of a mean girl than anything else. Why is that more acceptable?

Anonymous said...

I'm with you, Tara. The whining and complaining are getting ridiculous. Granted, there are some reviews I have read that made me go "ouch!" and if I were the author it might hurt my feelings. But there is no way around that. Most negative reviews I have read don't mince words, but they don't attack the author's person either. Bad book does not equal bad person.

I guess some authors just can't separate themselves.

And, honestly, if I hear the phrase "authors are readers too", I won't be responsible for my actions! I'm sorry, in my world, authors are authors first and foremost. I do not want to get chummy with them, I don't care about their personal opinions (although I am sure they are nice people). Just write me a good book and I'll let you know I like you with my dollars.

Sadly for me, it seems there are not many reader blogs and boards left that authors have not infiltrated. And it is pushing this reader out. Which is a shame, because I have gotten so many great recommendations. And a substantial TBR pile besides.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, that anonymous up there is me....tafka.

Kate D. said...

I did a LONG post on this back in June, when everyone was freaking out over the Changeling Press author-attack on Karen S:

http://dscribwomen.blogspot.com/2006/06/snarkilepsy-long-rant.html

I just reread my post and I still believe everything I said. I love reading honest reviews and/or snark that are clearly rooted in love for the genre. After all, as readers we have a right to critique what we've consumed!

I get annoyed, however, when a blogger spends all of her band width trashing published authors, i.e., "I hate MJD. Ooh, she has a new book out--better go buy it so I can trash it on my site." Makes me wonder if there's a little case of sour grapes there.

I'm an English teacher; I know all about tough love, and I believe it's best to be honest about someone's writing. But ff I can't sense some love and honest intentions behind a critiquer's site, then I just won't go to it anymore.

Gotta love the First Amendment, huh?

Rosie said...

Wow, you all read that post at Romancing the Blog differently than I did. I didn't get the impression it was about reader blogs and people sharing an honest opinion on whether or not they liked a book.

My impression it was about blood baths and shark feeding on one author's book AND doing it for the sake of being witty, funny and snarky and not giving a real opinion.

That said...I believe we do have the right and should have the good conscience to be honest when we do give an opinion. Who likes a "yes" woman all the time? No one can like every book just like an author doesn't write a good/great book every time. Besides, I think I've purchased more books than not from reader reviews if my TBR is anything to judge by.

sybil said...

hmmmm

to read or not to read that is the question...

oh who am I kidding... off to rtb ;)

Tara Marie said...

Jane, the more the author commented the more I realized she was meaning negative reviews in general. Red flag time--LOL.

Tafka, I understand it's hard to separate oneself from ones work, but not everything negative is a personal attack.

Kate, I guess some authors don't see honest reviews and/or snark that are clearly rooted in love for the genre. Honestly, I don't come across that many blogs that waste money on books in order to trash the writer.

Rosie, I knew what the author was getting at, but she's on of those authors who think if he write something particularly negative about her book your insulting her because she wrote it. That's not the case.

There are blogs that are particularly snarky, but rarely do I see them attacking the author, it's much more likely that their attacking the work. Could they do nicer, probably, but that's not there thing.

Sybil, you probably shouldn't read it. It's too annoying to logical thinking readers.

CindyS said...

It's a good thing you keep me up to date on things going on in blogland. I went and gave my two cents worth.

I mentioned how someone who isn't a conspiracy theorist had a weird view of readers blog/sites. We're not all sitting around waiting to clap each other on the back for being hysterical in our negative review of such and such.

I felt like she was lumping readers into a category and I didn't like it so yeah, I made a comment but I'm sure everyone has moved on.

I didn't get to her point about people at a party making fun of someone's dress. I don't see the parallel so maybe someone can explain it to me over here where the comments are so unruly.

CindyS

Sam said...

Most authors will say 'it's all publicity' and shrug. I remember when I published my first book and a good friend of mine who is a terrific author told me 'whatever you do, don't read reviews.'
I read them when they get sent to my inbox by my publisher, (because it's polite to say thank you for a reviewer's time and effort) but I don't go around googling myself and looking for reviews unless I need some promotional fodder. I use them professionally, in other words. Maybe the problem is maybe when the authors feel attacked personally? Actually, I sort of go into hiding when I see posts like this, lol.

Tara Marie said...

Cindy, conspiracy theory, I like that. As if we want to read bad books. Like we don't want every read to be a keeper.

Sam, I know most authors understand the difference between criticisms, but when some start with the "Mean Girl" thing it bugs the heck out of me.

Jane said...

I think that Lori Devoti can rest easily about being "Mean Girl"ed on some blog. I don't know of anyone who has actually read her.

Tara Marie said...

Jane, I don't know of anyone who has actually read her. I had to snicker at that--I've never read her and have no idea what type of romances she writes.

Zeek said...

Although I got the point about some review sites being all about trying to hand the best putdown in the snarkiest fashion (and I do roll my eyes when that's ALL they do)... I want an honest review too.

So I'd rather have the snark then flowery "I love this book" ... especially when they seem to love EVERY book!

Tara Marie said...

Zeek--exactly

Jane said...

One thing I don't think authors get is that online readers are pretty savvy. If one site is devoted to putting down authors, readers aren't going to give the recommendations much weight. It's just insulting, if you think about it, that authors think that the online readership are so sheeplike and unable to make up their minds regarding purchases of a book.

Tara Marie said...

Jane, it's the "they're stupid cows" mentality that drives me crazy. I know what I like and can voice an opinion and read other's thoughts and actually decipher whether or not a book will work for me. We're somehow incapable of understanding the negative reviews can hurt.

Sometimes books suck, should we as readers ignore these books and never express our thoughts, because saying you threw the book at the wall might hurt the author's feelings.

Maybe I'm missing something but I've rarely come across review sites that simply want to rip apart an author.

I've probably over reacted, but what can I say it's a pet peeve.

Rosie said...

One thing I don't think authors get is that on line readers are pretty savvy.

Amen, Jane. The reason most of us are on line is to get better informed and be up to date on what's out there.

Anonymous said...

I happened to run across SquawkRadio today and they must have read the recent "mean girl" blog. Now, I usually avoid author blogs and have not read many of those authors' books (1 Kleypas, 1 Medeiros, 2 Brockways) so I'm not a fangirl, but...if more authors could take the negative in stride and find some humor in it, I could go for that! I always appreciate a good laugh.

tafka

Tara Marie said...

Rosie, we are savvy and they should appreciate having smart readers--LOL

Tafka, a sense of humor serves us well all through life, it seems some authors need to lighten up a smidge.

Bev (BB) said...

Okay, how did I miss this post? No, really, somehow Bloglines missed it. I think.

Er, anyway, you'll all notice that I sooooo managed to stay out of it this time. Not. 'Course I felt like I was banging my head on a wall for no good reason but there it is.

Anonymous said...

(Quote):One thing I don't think authors get is that on line readers are pretty savvy.

Amen, Jane. The reason most of us are on line is to get better informed and be up to date on what's out there.(End-quote)

And yet I can recall reading posts over the years on various boards, wherein a reader writes about wondering if she should read a particular book that sounded interesting to her - or claims outright that she won't waste her time/money when there are so many other books available, simply because she read a negative review of that title. I belong to a writers' group, and I know a few authors (the midlist ones, not those who don't have to worry about that next contract) who have a hard time with this, because *every* sale counts to them.

I think that's why the snarky reviews sting so much. These authors never know how many lurking readers will read that review and decide not to go through the effort to find that book (and let's face it, with many midlist titles you do have to search, as they're not right in your face on every bookstore endcap).

I don't think it's that anyone expects every reader or blogger to like every book. It's that these authors are struggling to gain a readership to begin with, and someone who decides to be snarky-for-the-sake-of-being-snarky turn off potential readers before they've ever given the author's work a chance.

I haven't read the RTB piece yet, but my reaction to these things is usually that I can see both sides of the issue. Bloggers shouldn't have to be positive all the time, but not all on-line readers are as saavy as you might think, either.

Oh, and as far as I know, the reason Harriet Klausner only posts positive reviews is that she only writes reviews for those books she likes. She simply sets aside those she doesn't, and doesn't waste her time writing a review of them.

Caroline

Tara Marie said...

Bev, it is one of my few bug-a-boos.

Caroline,

I think for the most bloggers are savvy, we can see a synopsis and review and know whether or not a book works for us. But of course there are blog fangirls that follow particular blogger the same way author fan girls do, blindly going with whatever is posted.

Believe it or not negative/snarky reviews can backfire and will stimulate many of us to "see for ourselves." I've been known to do this fairly often.

For me reader reviews are for other readers, I'm honest in my assessments and expect most other bloggers are too. Harriet Klausner's reviews drive me crazy because 1. no one loves everything they read and 2. I wonder how many books she actually reads. I read a review today that she has the hero's name wrong through the entire review.

Caroline, thanks for coming by please come back.

Tara

Anonymous said...

I agree that most bloggers are savvy. I'm not as convinced that most blog *readers* are as much - and many, many lurk without every writing a comment.

And yes to the Harriet Klausner mention, too. She's supposed to be a speed reader, but I'm sorry, I don't think speed reading is the best kind to do for review purposes. Especially for the kinds of books that require a little more thought and aren't paint-by-the-numbers romances.

Mrs. Giggles was guilty of the same in her heyday, I think, when she was reviewing and posting four or so reviews a day. I saw a few times where she got character names wrong, once when she got the title of the book itself wrong, and a few times where she questioned aspects of a story that were very clear, had she actually read the story with some attention. I heard years ago through some on-line gossip that she used to be employed as a reader or something like that by Avon - and that when it went sour, she decided to launch her snarkfest site. Who knows? It would be an interesting backstory, though, wouldn't it. ;)

I find her reviews interesting, when they are, from a pure snark perspective. I have a difficult time taking them seriously.

I do enjoy your blog, Tara Marie. And your son sounds like he's a loveable little rascal!

Caroline

Tara Marie said...

Caroline, I agree that most bloggers are savvy. I'm not as convinced that most blog *readers* are as much - and many, many lurk without every writing a comment.

I have to agree with this, we have no idea how involved in the genre lurkers on blogs and message boards are.

I hadn't heard the gossip as to how Mrs. G got started, and I've found a handful of her reviews having mistakes. And her more snarky reviews--pure entertainment, though I have to say, there are a handful of books that I've had to agree with her, sometimes bad books end up published.

My kid is a skutch, I love him to death!!