Monday, August 30, 2010

Writer, Reader or Reviewer?

So, this blog has slowed down a bit from my usual frantic and random posting :) but maybe that's not necessarily a bad thing according to an excellent post by Anne R Allen. The message is quality over quantity. Alas, for me, it's the 'quality' part that may be problematic! Sure I'll slow down due to RL but whether my posts improve beyond what they are, well we'll see. . .

I've been pondering a few things. Often I've come across debates on issues related to themes in books (mostly YA Paranormal) and I've wanted to jump straight in and throw in my 2 cents. I've wanted to post my thoughts and opinions on issues such as censorship, feminism (or lack there of) and other 'isms' but I often stop myself from posting. Sometimes because I feel my opinion isn't going to contribute much to the debate, as many of the points have been well made, or that I feel I haven't grasped the complexity of it all and want to measure the opinions of the different sides before jumping in. . . but sometimes I don't post for a different reason. Rachel Gardner did a recent post highlighting tips for book reviewing - one tip advises only reviewing books that you like.

As a writer, I agree with what Rachel says - publishing is a business and there's no point shooting yourself in the foot before you get it through the door by criticising others' books. Maybe that's a cynical view of things but it's something I consider (or at least try to) before I post here or anywhere else. I may post funny things about certain books but I don't believe I've ever insulted a book or its author. Every comment I make on the internet I make as 'Emily Cross', maybe a never to-be-published writer or maybe future author . . .

As a reader, I want to read others' opinions on books - good or bad. I actually enjoy reading reviews which actually give an opinion (not insults mind) on the book they've read. And often I want to give my opinion on books. Now, as many of you know (and probably realise by now from this post) I'm a wimp. One of those people who works themselves into having an ulcer worrying about upsetting other people (not the best quality to have in a reviewer). When I do review, I sandwich my criticism in between positive comments - even if said comments are small, I do try and find some positive to mention but I also include criticism -respectfully but to the point (or at least I hope). As a reader I believe this is a good way to review, but if I consider Rachel Gardner's post, should omission be reflective of opinion?

I've been pondering this for a while as I've read a few books recently that are extremely popular in the genre I hope to write in, but haven't exactly warmed the cockles of my heart (actually they more boiled my blood). For the reader, reviewing is liberating and allows you to make your opinion and thoughts heard in a way that never before was possible but in the end for a writer what is the advantage of negatively (constructively) book reviewing in public? But then if you review only books you mostly like, is it being unfair to your readership? Or in the end will they care?

I guess I need to draw the line on this:

What am I?

Writer or reader or, should I say reviewer?

Image 1: source - by Cindianns
Image 2: source - by


Chanelley said...

I think I'm all three too. And it does make it difficult to have an honest opinion in all three in case you put your foot in it.
Do you give an honest review of a book you didn't like? And then an editor who pushed for that book and loved it, is considering you and finds out?
Or if you slate a writer, but then their publisher won't send you books for review.

It's very tough to draw the line and it just equals very careful attitudes when posting online!

Emily Cross said...

Thanks for your comment Chanelley, I think your right - we're being pulled into three different directions! Sometimes I feel I should stick up a disclaimer and say something like "I'm a writer and I wanna be published some day!!" Lol!

I'm glad though I'm not the only one that feels this way!

Anne R. Allen said...

Thanks for the shout-out and congrats on getting going with your writing. Slow blogging rules!

I like the idea of doing a book review blog, if you have the time to do that. It gives you such power...

Rachelle's post had some great points. Nasty reviews are usually about the reviewer, not the book, and it's so much easier to simply skip doing a review if you don't like the book.

Hey, I like this design. I know I said I don't like black backgrounds, but this one is easy to read and has a nice YA paranormal feel.

Emily Cross said...

Thanks Anne!

I decided to go and search and see if I could find something else. My two RL friends thought #1 and #5 were very me (but obviously somethings not quite right with them) so when I found this I thought it would do as temporary design. It even has purple :)

I have a book review blog - 'the book bundle' which I run with a few others. I don't think any review as been disrespectful. I've written one truly negative review but even then I looked for positives!

Thanks for dropping in :)

Scarlet-O said...

you should post whatever you want--- it's your blog!!! who cares what other people find relevant, your opinion is as good as anyone's. (and probably generally more informed.)

but as far as labeling yourself-- writer, writer, always writer.

all writers read. reviewers technically write, and clearly read, but they're limited in what they write, and most who do it for a living are bitter failed writers with agendas ;-)

if you're successful as a writer most people will ask you to review anyway.


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