There have been a number of discussions on Twitter and Facebook recently amongst the bookblogger community on the subject of tagging authors in reviews.
Recently Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give and On the Come Up, requested that she not be tagged in negative reviews of her work. Note that she didn’t ask people to stop writing bad reviews, only that they didn’t tag her if they did.
She’s faced a load of online abuse for this position, and there has been a ton of chatter about it online.
So, should you tag an author in a negative review of their book?
I’m firmly in the ‘no’ camp here.
Whilst I tend not to write up negative reviews in the first place – I’d rather spend my time shouting about books that I love – I completely reserve the right to write an honest review based on what I think of a book.
However, I wouldn’t go and shove that opinion under the author’s nose. Doing so wouldn’t achieve anything – the book is written and out in the world. The author can’t, and almost certainly wouldn’t change anything in that book. Also, it’s just rude. You wouldn’t walk up to someone in the street and go ‘hey, that shirt looks awful‘ to someone, would you?
This brings me to an interesting point. Would you tag an author in a positive, glowing review?
There are a few reasons why I would, and do.
If I’ve loved a book, I want to tell as many people as possible about it. I also want the author to know that I’ve loved it. It’s a little way of saying thanks for writing it.
I’m a firm believer in saying thanks. I had a spectacular bowl of ramen the other day and made a point of going back to the guys who made it to say how much I’d enjoyed it. They seemed genuinely thrilled that someone had taken a few moments to come and say hello.
But am I being presumptuous? Do the big-name authors really care what I think? I am but a humble book blogger. Why does my opinion matter to them? Chances are it doesn’t, but it might. And writing can be a lonely place, sharing your day with a keyboard and screen. I know that I’m thrilled when someone likes a blog post I’ve written, or retweets a review, or best of all, buys a book that I’ve raved about.
Or best of best of all, tells me when they’ve bought a book that I’ve raved about, then goes on to tell the author that they’ve loved their book.
That’s what it’s about, after all. The love of books, and the love of sharing our love of books.