I’ll admit it. I speak my mind. Almost ALL of the time.
I tell bosses what I think. I’m straight-up with my husband. We fight constantly. (It’s a healthy thing in marriage – trust me. J )
I’ve disagreed with a Deputy Secretary of State. To her face.
And I lived to tell the tale. People at work respect me for my opinions.
But most of the time, I’m scared to death to talk about how I really feel about publishing and books on the market.
A lot of book bloggers and reviewers have admitted that they won’t post negative reviews of books.
Why? They don’t want to ruin their reputation.
This year, a book came out that I didn’t really like, but everyone else adored it.
Of course, I didn’t say anything about the book until I was at the American Library Association Conference, where two trusted friends and I talked about how we didn’t think the book was all that much to call home about.
But we whispered about it. And then we swore we’d never say anything in public. Several months later, I saw one book blogger write about how she didn’t understand what the big deal was about the book.
It was the first time I’d seen this book publicly questioned.
Did I agree with her and say so in the comments section of her blog? Hell no. I didn’t want anyone to know my thoughts on the book. What if I said something about the book and then it damaged my relationship with the author? The publisher? The readers who adore the book?
As an author who’s about to have her debut novel published, I can’t risk that.
Recently, my friend found out that her erotica book had been flagged by Amazon as being not appropriate for kids or something, so readers couldn’t find it using a standard search. Readers had to have a link to find it.
A bunch of worse erotica/porno books are out there, and they’re searchable on Amazon. That’s not fair.
My friend’s book did not deserve this, so she’s going to battle to get it on the search bar.
I’m all for this, of course. I said, “Where do I light my torch and sharpen my pitchfork?”
But other people told her, “Don’t worry about it! Don’t say anything. Don’t rant about Amazon!”
My first thought was, “Well why the hell not? She wants to sell books. She should be fighting this, not ignoring it.”
Going further, sometimes famous authors/editors/agents act a bit mean online. I’ll admit I’ve stopped following a few of these people after watching them humiliate wannabe writers online. Okay, so maybe the author doesn’t know all the “rules” of querying, but do you have to call them out personally in front of your thousands of followers?
I know someone who deleted their Twitter account after being humiliated by some agents.
And instead of authors standing up and saying, “Whoa. Was that really called for?” everyone either 1) Ignores it, or 2) Laughs along with the agent.
Me? I ignored it. And that makes me ashamed. But I can’t really risk it, you know?
And then a month ago, a Twitter friend, who is represented by a great agent at a different agency from mine, and I were chatting about how now that we have agents, we rarely get good honest critiques of our work. Before I got an agent, readers and friends and critique partners ripped my work to SHREDS.
Now, it’s either that 1) People think everything’s perfect because we have agents, or 2) They are scared to question us because we have agents, and they don’t want to upset us and hurt our relationships.
I think this is total bullshit. If I critique a book/pages by someone, I tell them the God’s honest truth about how I feel, because if I lie and coddle them, what’s going to happen when they finally send the book to an agent and editor, and the agent/editor comes back and says exactly what I said? (This has happened before.) You’d be pissed, right?
You can take my advice or leave it, I don’t care, but I feel like I owe you an honest opinion.
I feel like people owe me an honest opinion.
Sure, I might hate you for five minutes, but then I’ll probably learn from whatever you said. And then I’ll thank you.
If everyone is too scared to say what they think, how will we ever weed out the good from the bad?
I feel like society is already on information overload, information coming from all different sources and angles, and it completely confuses people and makes it harder to think.
Is publishing like the Stalin era? We’re so afraid to say anything wrong because we’ll be sent to the PUBLISHING GULAG?!
What say you guys?
Have I gone too far?
Does everyone hate me now? J