At the beginning of this month Susan Dennard, author of Truthwitch, Windwitch, and other books posted this tweet:
Do. Not. Tag. Authors. In. Reviews. PLEASE. Reviews are intended for readers.
— Susan Dennard 🐙 (@stdennard) June 6, 2017
I’ve been meaning to write a post about this for a while, but I am the QUEEN of procrastination, so here it is a couple weeks later. I saw this and tweeted a thread, which starts with this tweet below:
What a disappointing tweet. I always tag authors in reviews, unless they’re negative (obviously). https://t.co/Z6mNCMq4HJ
— Leah ✨ Girl vs Books (@girlvsbooks_) June 6, 2017
I stand by everything I said, and I just wondered how everyone else feels. Right after I Tweeted my thread, I got a bunch of author replies, mostly positive that authors *love* hearing from readers! They love seeing reviews. Which cheered me up because Susan’s initial thread disappointed me greatly, for many reasons and it had my questioning whether I should stop tagging authors in reviews.
First, let’s talk about what benefits I get from sharing my review with an author:
- The author sees my review. That’s entirely vanity, and I’m fine with that. I want my review to be seen, and enjoyed, and I absolutely love when an author interacts with me afterwards.
- It helps me get more views. I said this in my Tweet thread, but if my tweet about my review gets RTed or Liked by the author, whoever follows the author gets to see my link and might take a look. I get more exposure, more clicks hopefully, a new reader maybe even. In a time when everyone seems to have a blog, it’s hard to stand out in a crowd and having authors RT you helps immensely.
- It could help me interact with more bloggers myself, when I see someone else’s review, and find someone else with similar tastes who has a blog I can start following.
- It starts a conversation. I still think of authors as this mythical thing you can’t touch or interact with, so to have an author actually reply to you, to get a conversation going, which can lead to interviewing them, one Tweet can be the ice-breaker you need. To remember authors are humans just like us, and like to hear our praise.
Now I also see Susan’s point and, apparently, the tweet that started all this debate was due to people tagging her in negative reviews on Instagram. Now this goes without saying but:
DO NOT TAG AUTHORS OR PUBLISHERS OR ANYBODY AT ALL, EVER, IN YOUR NEGATIVE REVIEW.
Write whatever you want about a book – I’ve written PLENTY or sarky reviews, or bad reviews, where I’ve just pointed out all kinds of flaws (which I am allowed to do – I know some don’t believe in negative reviews and I roll my eyes at that because not everyone loves everything and if I am going to pay £7.99 or more for a book and it offends me, I will say so) BUT DO NOT TAG THE AUTHOR. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? You do not do that. Ever. At all.
So I can understand Susan’s point completely and I understand, too, that even with the positive ones, even one tiny negative can probably give an author anxiety over what comes in further books. So I get it. And I respect Susan’s wishes and I will not tag her in any reviews, now or in the future.
I do, however, feel like Susan could have got her point across better than a passive-aggressive Tweet with full stops after every word. That is probably what I had issue with most of all because there’s no need. Write a blog post. Explain yourself. Don’t use 140 characters to alienate your readers. One blogger told me she wasn’t going to read Susan’s books, which isn’t the answer, but when you read Susan’s tweet, I could very easily have said that, too, because it makes you feel ignored. Like authors don’t actually care what readers think. Twitter is great for many things, but for getting a point like that across? It is not. Susan could have explained herself so much better in a blog post or a Facebook post or just anything other than the 140 characters Twitter allows because it can lead people to make the wrong conclusions.
I’m curious how other, “bigger” authors feel about being tagged. A lot of authors I heard from weren’t like Sophie Kinsella big (although they all made me feel better and they all made their ways up my TBR quick fast, because I like appreciative authors!). I’ve had authors I’ve tagged in reviews who merely give me a like. Which is nice, but honestly? I don’t like it. A like doesn’t always show up on the author’s Twitter feed, and it kinda feels like a brush off. So authors, if you’re reading this, a RT is always preferred. I tag you because a) I want you to see it and b) it helps me build my viewership. Even if you don’t read it, because you don’t have to read it, just give me a quick RT and I will be on my way. A thank you is also fangirled over… But if you don’t like all of that, I get it.
I do wonder how I would react if I were an author. I like to think I would read every single review, and I probably would, bad ones, good ones, ones that make no sense, or are complaints about price (why Amazon allows these reviews still baffles me) and in the bad ones, if the criticism was constructive, I would fix it for my next book. I like to think I would be a zen-author. But I’m not entirely sure if that’s not just a fantasy…
Now, one last thing before I go:
DO NOT TAG AUTHORS IN BAD REVIEWS. DO NOT TAG AUTHORS IN BAD REVIEWS. DO NOT TAG AUTHORS IN BAD REVIEWS. DO NOT TAG AUTHORS IN BAD REVIEWS. DO NOT TAG AUTHORS IN BAD REVIEWS.
(And if you do, I will give you 1,000,000 lines)
I’m intrigued how other bloggers feel – do you tag authors in your reviews? Was Susan right with her Tweet? Will it put you off tagging an author in the future? TALK TO ME.