I have been a book blogger for almost 2 years (and quite crap at it) and with the start of my "career" it felt as though what I needed to do was really get in there and involve myself with bloggers and of course, the authors. You could say in the earliest stages, I was desperate for ARCs, contacting authors and some publishers and would really stay up till 4am to take care of my new baby. Now that I think about it, I made pretty awful decisions. LOL
And with all that hard "work", I ended up getting a few authors who sympathized with me, helped me along the way, asked if it's okay to review their books so forth and so forth. These authors, end up becoming good friends. But like what the title suggested, as much as you've established a really solid relationship with the author, it doesn't necessarily mean it's the same with their book/s.
This whole issue came into my radar when a bunch of bloggers ended up talking on my Twitter timeline about ARCs, which isn't really that new in the book blogging community. Anything new that comes with the discussion would usually be about "How to request ARCs from publishers", "Blogging is not just about the ARCs" and so forth and so forth. And then the issue about if you're being honest with a review when you receive ARCs came into the spotlight and I think every single book blogger I know has been there.
I got inspired to write this post when I read Aentee of Read at Midnight's The Integrity of Book Blogging. One thing that was key about her post was HONESTY.
We all have our Review Policy pages and when trying to attract publishers with what your blog is all about, #1 is that you always have to be HONEST. Yeah, you can fangirl all you want but you also need to be truthful in terms of what you liked or hated about the book or a certain element in the book. It's pretty easy in that context.
Well, not quite. It really is somewhat a challenge to be completely honest, especially when you've gained friends among authors. But what happens when you ended up not liking an author, who you've incidentally became soulmates already?
In our development class, we always play around conscience driven decisions, benefit driven and the decision that points to all the right directions yet will actually jeopardize your relationships with others. You see, there's always a solution for everything, but it pays to live up to the principle you have set from the start.
If you love the book then go ahead and fangirl/fanboy all you want and share your thoughts with the world. The author will appreciate this gesture. But on the instance that you didn't like the book, then be honest about it, say what you need to say. Get your opinion out there. Again, this might jeopardize one's relationship with the author but it's not something that you can't talk about.
Go ahead an open up a conversation about it with your author friend and tell them what you didn't like. Maybe apologize for not liking it? That's a good start. Though they don't necessarily make you feel like you're indebted to say only nice things about their work, in the back of your mind however, you're a little scared that you might lose your friendship with them but in truth it's nothing to be afraid of. More importantly, lay everything out there for your readers to read but also be tact and professional about it, rather than burning the author involved. This applies to both author friends and those who you're strictly reviewing for. I think that giving constructive criticism is a great way of strengthening one's friendship, especially on these terms.
Also, don't be afraid to risk being hated by the fandom for having the unpopular opinion. Being the misfit that I am, and possibly you guys too (if you don't mind), I may always have the not-so interesting opinion in the spectrum and that's okay.
It's okay to say that a book is bad. Not all books are as special as we want them to be. We all wish we can all love the books we read but then there are just some that we just won't like and so it pays at least, for your peace of mind to be honest about it.
Thanks again to Aentee of Read at Midnight for such an inspiring post. It's such a timely issue nowadays in the book blogging community and I think, for those who are starting out as book bloggers, be wise and be less, well, you know, desperate. The perks are great, but it's the friendships that you make out of blogging that is truly satisfying. Leave a comment below about what you think is the proper way to tell an author friend you didn't like their book? Or do you even tell them?
Thanks for stopping by, Misfit booknerds! P.S. Go follow Aentee's blog! It's super gorgeous and she's one of the kindest and sweetest bloggers out there!!! <3