7:00 AM

Keep it polite or keep your mouth shut

While we're on the topic of reviews, let's have a little discussion about being polite to others, shall we?

Luckily, I personally haven't had any issues, but I have heard several friends complain about other people who knock their reviews. For example, a friend was reviewing "classics" and she was being honest about what she liked and what she didn't like. People came by, read her reviews and basically told her she was full of crap and didn't know what she was talking about. Really? You people think you can judge someone's opinion? Guess what? NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO LIKE WHAT YOU LIKE. Sorry to have to yell that, but it's an important statement we all need to pay attention to.

I see nothing wrong in having a civil debate with someone, pointing out why you think a review is or isn't fair. Civil is the important word there folks. I'm all for debates, especially when it comes to classics that I don't think should be pushed anymore, but I would never out and out say "OMG you're wrong and stupid and XX is the best book ever, you stupid person!" That's just not necessary and quite frankly, it makes you come off as the stupid one.

In case you haven't noticed, this blog has some reoccurring themes: be honest, be nice and not everyone is going to like the same things. You'd think these things would be common sense kind of things, but I guess not.

Things on the internet are traceable and I have heard stories about people bad mouthing agents when they get rejected or publishing houses that put out books they don't like, etc. and it often comes back to bite them and being rude in forums and on sites like Goodreads and Amazon is not going to go unnoticed.

Better to be nice, be civil or keep your mouth shut.


Betsy Ashton said...

M.B., I agree with your position on being polite. It is true that if you write something on the Internet, it doesn't go away. It lives in cyberspace. Case in point. One of my writer friends wrote a scathing blog entry five years ago about an agent who rejected a manuscript. She posted her response to the rejection. Guess what? She's now self-publishing because she dissed an agent.

If I don't like a book, I don't review it. If I'm critical about a book I review that had flaws, I always state that this is my personal opinion. Only backfired on me once when the authro turned into a cyber stalker.

Can't we all just get along? If you think I'm wrong, let me know. I may change my mind, but be professional. I'm a writer. I can be swayed with a cogent disagreement of my position.

Thanks for such a great blog. Keep writing...

Patricia Lynne said...

That sort of stuff makes me wonder what part of "This is my opinion" that people don't get. Probably the my part. Or it could be the opinion part. Or maybe we're wrong and opinion really means 'You read the same thing I did and therefore must think the same about it.'

Anonymous said...

I think you are totally right on this - I hate people who make it personal. If you think someone doesn't know what they are talking about - there is a way to go about stating why you think that in a polite manner (i.e. evidence and lack of vulgar language in your statement to start off).

Unfortunately I think the blog-sphere has something in common with gaming, trolls (people who just comment in order to get under someones skin) who want to fan the flames.

Tamara Epps said...

I'm totally for being polite, honest and not expecting everyone to like exactly the same things (that would make for a very boring world).

I enjoy reviewing and always put my honest opinion but, even if it is 'negative' (ie, not glowing) I don't bash the writer as that doesn't actually have anything to do with it. I will state what I think works and doesn't work, but make sure everyone knows that's my opinion and hey, I don't claim to know everything about everything.

MBee said...

Opinions are just opinions and not everyone will share them :) It'd be a nice place if people could come to accept that a little more readily...but I suppose that's not reality.

So long as there are a few of us out there who know it, we'll get along OK :)

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