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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Conversations With Myself (& Hopefully You): Are Certain Authors Sacrosanct?


This discussion is inspired by conversations I've had recently with a few of my favorite bloggers.  It seems like there are certain authors that aren't criticized honestly or given anything less than stellar reviews.  Without singling out any particular book or author, what I want to know is:

Are Certain Authors Sacrosanct?


What I mean by this question is: do you find that bloggers are hesitant to give certain authors honest (and possibly bad) reviews?  Also, are there certain authors for whom you couldn't stand to give a negative review?  That is, not that you would write up a dishonest review but that maybe you would skip reviewing a work of theirs formally if it wasn't going to be a good review . . . ? I have found the former to be true with a certain author -- not that maybe everyone doesn't love this author's works and/or is giving dishonest reviews but moreso that it seems like a lot of bloggers are giving this author more favorable reviews than they normally would.  I find both the former and latter to be stronger possibilities the closer a blogger is with the author.  I also think there can be sort of a mob mentality for certain enormously popular authors such that bloggers may be hesitant to give less than glowing reviews because they are worried about blow-back/retaliation from other bloggers. Maybe this is less common of an occurrence than I'm making it out to be but it's on my mind.

For me, personally, there are certain authors for whom I cringe when I have to give a less than stellar review.  I don't change my review but sometimes I perhaps don't post the review on my blog (only on NG or GR) and I certainly go out of my way to not publicize it.  It's not easy when you love an author but don't love something they've written and yet, at the same time, I owe my readership nothing less my most honest thoughts regarding what I've read.

As always, these are just my thoughts -- I'm sure someone somewhere has discussed something similar.  And if you know of such a post, please link it to me below!  What I do want to know if certain authors are sacred to you such that you couldn't bear to leave them a negative review or whether you believe that certain authors out there have such a following that other bloggers are scared or at least apprehensive to leave an honest review of their work.  Please remember, this is a judgment free zone -- I want to know what you think and please share your thoughts freely!

LET'S DISCUSS!  
WHAT DO YOU THINK and 
ARE ANY AUTHORS SACRED FOR YOU?

47 comments:

  1. I am sure there authors out there like that for a lot of people. I can imagine if you have a relationship with an author of any level it would be hard to give bad reviews. I don't have that problem but also hardly give out really bad reviews. I have to HATE it otherwise I find some redeeming values. There are certain authors I would be upset with that I had to give bad reviews to though since I love them and their work. I would still be honest though. At least I think I would!!

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    1. Thanks Grace! Bad reviews (even if honest) are definitely never easy!

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  2. I will admit that I won't ever say a bad word or post a bad review about Colleen Hoover. If one of her books didn't live up to my expectations (which hasn't happened yet, but I'm sure it will eventually), I wouldn't be able to say anything negative. But honestly, she's the only one. I have been disappointed in some of my favorite authors books and have nicely put out there that it wasn't my fav. I don't go as far as doing a big review for those.
    I see so many bloggers on Goodreads that ALWAYS give every book 5 star ratings and never say a negative thing about any book they read. I just don't see how every book you read is that amazing. It can't be. I think the relationships with the authors and wanting to be on blog tours and get advanced copies is what drives a lot of those 5 star ratings. I want to honestly know if a book is worth reading, because I don't want to waste my time or money. And unfortunately I can't trust a lot of those reviewers anymore.

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    1. Thank you Brandie and I totally agree re: seeing someone give every book 5 stars! 5 Stars is so rare for me that it's frustrating to not be able to trust some reviewers!

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  3. When I first started blogging, I hated giving bad reviews and softened my own considerably as a result. But then, I stopped and was more realistic in my reviews and ended up getting some really positive comments from authors anyway. So, yeah, there are authors I will still cringe for giving less than stellar reviews, but I still know there are some awesome authors there who will appreciate a review even if it isn't stellar.

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    1. That is awesome when you can provide a review that has constructive criticism that helps the author

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  4. I have definitely seen certain fan bases jump all over negative reviews on Twitter and Goodreads. It's sad. There are two sacrosanct authors that I can think of at the top of my head.

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    1. Yep, I think those are probably the two everyone is thinking about

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  5. I know a lot of authors can be put on a pedestal. For me personally, there are a lot of authors I love, like Lauren Layne, Micalea Smeltzer, Amber Hart, that if I don't like their book, I may die. The thing is, our readers deserve the honesty. I actually write my reviews on the blog. In this case, it happened with Micalea. I love her as a person and as a author. We are kind of friends and talk all the time, but when I need to review a book by her that I was just okay, I will point that out and say why I didn't like it. It's frustrating because she's a great person and her writing is great, but this isn't always the case. Does that mean I will give a glowing review even though I didn't like it? No. I'll be entirely honest just as I would expect others to be.
    Btw, I had never heard of that word so that's a new word for me haha
    Genesis | Latte Nights Reviews

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    1. Honesty is the most important -- not that you always have to review but if you are going to don't say things you don't think! Thank you so much for reading Gen!!

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  6. I think other people have authors like this, but I don't. For me, I'm here to review books and talk about books with other readers first. Not offending authors, or not hurting their feelings, or worrying about what they'll think about my review is literally last on my priority list. So, even if there is an author I love but I read a book that wasn't that great, I'll still write a negative review for it if those are my feelings. I feel like if I didn't, I would be putting that author before my readers and the friends I've made since blogging - which isn't why I started blogging. If that makes sense? I love this topic, though. I feel like there are a lot of people that give slanted reviews because of who the author is and other people who jump on those who give those author's books negative reviews. Great discussion!

    Molly @ Molly's Book Nook

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    1. Thank you so much for reading Molly and I definitely have noticed that as well!!

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  7. Oh yes. I have been in that position when I am doing a review for an author that I have worked closely with, and I found myself bumping up my rating. These days, I am all about reviewing and blogging for me. I rarely do guest posts and such so I don't get into this position. Great discussion topic.

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    1. Thanks Heidi! And I can totally understand being friends with an author and being in this dilemma but I love that you are now reviewing and blogging for yourself!

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  8. Well, I personally don't write/publish any reviews for a book with less than 2 stars. I'll send a few sentences to the author/publisher explaining why. It just seems like a waste of time to write a couple paragraphs about how much I dislike a book.

    I can think of two separate occasions where I was writing a review and I struggled to give either book a 3 or 4 star. Both books were dipping towards 3 but out of respect (or fear maybe?) for the author and book series I bumped it to 4.

    I always honestly write how I feel, but sometimes I struggle to match the rating.

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    1. I agree that it can be hard to match the actual rating with your feelings and thoughts about the book -- I totally struggle with that, too! Thank you for commenting

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  9. Why hello favorite posts of the week!
    The answer is a big fat YES! Maybe not for me or you and several other readers, but there are authors out there who are definitely like this. The two biggest ones I can think of are CoHo and Sarah J Maas. Not only do their hard core fans (not all) refuse to talk about or acknowledge anything negative in their books, but they will go after people that do acting as if they are personally attacking them or the author by not loving their story.

    After what happened with It Ends With Us and seeing some of her fans blame people with trigger issues and saying that people that have been abused are too sensitive or they shouldn't be reading, I honestly don't blame readers for being scared to share their honest opinions.

    You know I LOVE me some Rachel Gibson and Richelle Mead, I mean for me it doesn't get any better than those two. But even I have given a few of their books really low ratings (like 2 stars) because the book just sucked regardless of the fact that they are my all time favorite authors. It hurt me to give them a rating that low but not as much as it hurt reading a bad book by them :)

    Great post!

    Nereyda│ Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist

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    1. Thank you and YES you know who I'm talking about and the huge problem this can create. I just don't even want to read those authors that everyone loves anymore because 1) no way to live up to the hype; and 2) if it doesn't live up to hype, everyone will jump all over you!

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  10. This is a great post. When I first started blogging, I was scared to give bad reviews and even more scared of making my favorite authors mad by disliking their books but I got over that real quick when I read an author (I don't even remember who now) post in a blog that they wanted to know why a book didn't work for a reviewer so she can fix it on the next book and get better. So that's how I think when I'm writing a review. It's helped me a lot.

    And I try to stay away from being friends with authors. I like to hear what they're writing and what's coming up for them but I don't need to be besties with them. It's easier that way, at least for me.

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    1. That is such a great point re: being constructive so that an author can know what worked and what didn't -- unfortunately, there is sometimes too much focus on the underlying rating versus what is actually being reviewed! Thanks so much for reading!

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  11. I've seen it a lot. Personally I HATE when a favorite author doesn't live up to my expectations (happened with Colleen Hoover's latest book), but that doesn't stop me from sharing my feelings on Goodreads. I may not write a blog review, since I don't really do negative reviews anyway, but I still share on GR.

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    1. It is the worst to be disappointed by a favorite author, for sure -- even more than just picking up a new author and not liking their work.

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  12. I'm really glad you included a definition because I actually didn't know what sacrosanct meant and was going to have to go Google it lol.

    Honestly, I have no clue what other bloggers do or how they feel. But I personally don't review every book I read, so if I happen to dislike a book by an author I generally hold in high regard, I just won't post a review for it. I mean, not every book is for me, and I know the author can write a good book if I like their other ones, so I just assume the one I disliked was simply one of those not-for-me books. I guess the exception would be if the book is in the middle of a series that I've been loving and reviewing. In that case I'd just be honest, but, if I've already read the next book, I might mention if the next book does in fact get better again just so people won't be too scared to continue!

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    1. Great point re: series! I don't review every book I read either but I try to with ARCs -- I suppose I should be a bit more diplomatic with what I post. Thanks so much for reading and commenting -- love your discussions!!

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  13. I feel like that there are definitely authors like that. And sometimes I do notice that on Goodreads.
    I like to think I give fair reviews, though even I can tell that sometimes I'll be a little "nicer" to authors I usually like/enjoy (ie. I won't talk about the stuff I dislike as much and try to focus on the good aspect, though hopefully my rating still reflects my dislike, if that makes sense, haha). Because in the end, what's the point of reviewing if it doesn't reflect what you actually think about a book, love or hate

    Great discussion, Eva!

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    1. Thank you for reading and yes, I totally know what you mean by hoping a rating reflects what you don't say and vice versa!

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  14. Ohh I love this topic!

    And yes, the answer is yes; I have a few authors I simply adore because I happen to love all their books and when recently I read one that I didn't even enjoy I found myself not wanting to review, mostly because I had nothing to say and I kept thinking back to all my reviews of the same author and how much I highlighted all the amazing stuff and now I had no feelings - at all. Still, I think being polite and writing a review anyway is the way to go; if I can fangirl about the books I love then I have to give my honest opinion for those I didn't.

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    1. Great point! I have noticed that same feeling when reading something that I don't love as much as the author's other works!

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  15. I totally get what you mean with this, and I do think there are certain authors and certain books that are considered sacred, and beyond criticism, but I do try and not let it stop me posting negative reviews if that's how I feel. I think the trick is just keeping things low key, so not being all like 'I absolutely hated this book! It was the worst thing I've ever read!', and being more like 'I know a lot of other people loved this, but personally i felt...'.
    I do think that sometimes the authors considered 'sacred' do fall in and out of fashion a bit though. For example, until the fourth Throne of Glass book came out, I had never read a negative review of any of Sarah J. Maas' books as they are so widely loved within the blogosphere. Then all of a sudden with that book and the start of the ACOTAR series, I started to see quite a few less-than-glowing reviews, and suddenly it was considered fine to write quite negative reviews of her books (personally I've always loved them all, but that's just me!).
    Awesome post! :)

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I haven't read ACOTAR because I'm worried about that fandom and also I can't imagine anything could live up to that hype but I really should pick it up!

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  16. My answer is no. There are definitely certain authors I hold dear - a very spare handful of writers than never (or rarely) seem to disappoint me. But I don't consider them beyond reproach. No one is perfect (and a reader's opinion of an author's work is completely subjective, anyway). Colleen Hoover, for example (and I'm guessing that she may be one of the authors you didn't single out), is possibly my favorite author. I have loved everything of hers that I have read. But that doesn't mean every book I ever read by her will resonate with me. It doesn't even mean she wrote a bad book - maybe just one that I didn't connect with or didn't love. If that happens I'm not going to give a glowing review because it's COLLEEN HOOVER. What's the point in reviewing if you can't be honest? Why is it verboten to speak the truth (or your opinion) when it might go against the grain? As much as it might pain me, I'd have to be honest and say why I didn't love it as much as the others. I did this (to a certain extent) last year when I read Wicked by Jennifer Armentrout. I love JLA's books. But Wicked, while I enjoyed it, just wasn't up to par with her others I thought. So I said that. Doesn't say anything about Jennifer, just that Wicked wasn't my favorite.

    I definitely see examples of what of this, though, with certain authors/books. I didn't love Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas and that's a very unpopular opinion to have. LOL Her fan base is so rabid that it makes me wonder if they all truly LOVE every book she writes or... do these "superfans" just felt led to gush over every book because it's her? And I'm not picking on SJM or her fans - that was just one example. Great discussion post, Eva!

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    1. Thank you Tanya! Totally agree -- why can't we all just be honest with our reviews? And yes, I feel the same about certain authors -- some of their books I have loved so much but then one will pop up that's not my favorite. That's just the way it is, no author is perfect (except maybe Maggie Stiefvater, JUST KIDDING!)

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  17. Well you have me curious who you're talking about. lol If it's a book I took on for review I'll post regardless if I love the author dearly (or even am friendly with them). I hate when it happens but I'll do it. I'd rather be honest with my followers than sugar coat things. If it's one I read just for fun on my own...sometimes I'll hold back the review but will still likely mention it on the blog's social media. But that happens with positive reviews that were just for fun as well.

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    1. Thank you Anna! Yes, I'm the same, sometimes it's fun to just read and not worry about reviewing!

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  18. I definitely notice this phenomenon quite often. When I realized three years ago that I was part of it myself (I avoided posting negative reviews of authors I was friendly with and rather did not review at all) I decided to step out of all street teams / facebook groups / beta reading to take more objective approach while reviewing. It was very freeing not to feel about some authors as being sacrosanct :)

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    1. Definitely agree with you -- even though I love interacting (rarely) with authors on twitter, that is about as much as I want and still be able to review!

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  19. This is SO true, I have seen it for sure. For me personally, I will say... not quite. Like- for some authors I HATE giving negative reviews, yes, but I will still do it (I actually have one coming up soon that breaks my HEART to give, but alas). Now, I also won't publicize it as much- but I never publicize a negative review as much as a positive, really. Like, when I love a book, I want to shout from the rooftops, but I don't do that with books I hate, it just seems unnecessarily mean. So I will post the review and everything, but that's it.

    Do I think I have unconsciously been easier on beloved authors? Yes. Especially when it is my first foray into their work and EVERYONE else loves them. Because I think I kind of think "well, maybe it's me...". That isn't to say I am going to RATE the book better or anything, but I think I am maybe more likely to push the blame onto myself, like "well, it must just be a personal thing".

    I also HATE the mentality that a reviewer should be taking ANY kind of heat for a negative review. That is such crap, not everyone likes every book! That infuriates me, and frankly, it feels like these fandom members are straight up bullying. I kind of want to talk about this all day hahah. This is such an awesome post, Eva!

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    1. I am the same way -- when I love a book, I publicize it to everyone and almost too much. I did that recently with Every Exquisite Thing and even the author was like, please, slow your roll! But when it's a negative review, it x-posts to twitter and that is it. I won't bring any other attention to it. And TRUE STORY re: probably all of do this a bit subconsciously...

      Thank you as always for being a discussion inspiration Shannon! ♥

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  20. When it comes down to it, reviewing is subjective, and I hate to say it but there are SO many things that can affect a review, even when we're trying really hard not to be influenced by those outside factors. It can be such a struggle to get your thoughts and feelings together when you have what you know is going to be an unpopular opinion - or, even worse, when you have an opinion that you yourself don't like! This is a great post!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. Great point Nicole -- reviewing is definitely subjective and there is SO much that influences a review. Things you don't even think about, but that are part of your life and upbringing, may reflect more than anything whereas they have no bearing on someone else! Love discussing things for this very reason!

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  21. I don't post reviews below 3.5* on my blog anyway, but there aren't any authors whose books I would hesitant to honestly criticizing for my own reasons. I might skip the review entirely if I had heard that the particular fandom was prone to attacks on negative reviews though.

    I confess that I gave up on Harry Potter after absolutely despising #5 and never going back. I'm usually honest about it; but I think there is some recognition that it was a difficult book, so that may give me some excuse in people's minds.

    My most recent discussion: Tackling Twitter: Creating Community (Pt2)

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    1. It's always ok to give up on a book or series if it doesn't work for you but that's a shame that you don't feel like you can share that! I totally get it since I don't read a lot of the super popular books/series since I just don't really love fantasy, etc. Thanks for sharing!

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  22. Since I work as a VA, and read the books some of author's write, I can honestly say I don't have a problem writing an honest review. However I have always felt I am honest but fair.

    On the flip side there are some authors whose works I adore that my reviews are tainted but I will tell you straight up that I love them. Are all the reviews I give them 5 star..no. And honestly if they wrote something I didn't like I would say so..but would also say how much I love all their other books. An example would be Heather Graham and Robyn Carr..love their series but for some reason their standalones never work for me.

    I think if there was a true conflict that I wouldn't post, but if I did that then I would no longer review their books.

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  23. Oh thank goodness you added a definition! Thanks for the word of the day. :D Also, as far as the authors go I don't know about other people but I don't feel that way. I feel nervous when I don't like a SUPER popular book and I go to post my review, but I post it any way. I have to be honest in my reviews and no author is held above that standard. That being said I try not be mean or nasty, just give my opinion and I've never had anyone give me crap over a negative review. Great discussion post!

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  24. Oh, of course I think people do this! I think it's odd when I only see positive reviews for an author/book all the time. Which could be several different reasons for. Not sure WHY this is, but I do tend to stay away from those authors/books anyway AND, some people can be tainted by previous works, or their relationship with an author.

    As for myself, no, I have never been hesitant to review negatively or post those thoughts. My FAVORITE author wrote something in her books that made me SO made I saw red, but I had no issues saying that.

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  25. This is a really good question. I do think that some authors get a really enthusiastic following - but I have to admit it's usually deserved. Maybe not by the general quality of the books but by their personality, maybe by how they interact with fans online etc. In any case, it's a good thing - unless those enthusiastic fans then turn...slightly rabid and attack people who don't share their enthusiasm.

    I'm all for live and let live approach when it comes to this. I have several authors that are on my auto-buy list and I'm always predisposed to love their books even before I know what they're about, but I don't go to any specific lengths to make other people think the same way. I mean, it's literature - so it all comes down to personal taste.

    My "sacrosanct" authors are Victoria Schwab, Rainbow Rowell, and Scott Lynch, for example. :)

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  26. I'm so behind with reading blog posts, so I just read this.

    Great post, Eva! I don't shy away from talking about aspects of a book I don't know. If I don't like a book from an author whose previous works I've loved, it might hurt my heart but I don't change my review or just not post.

    I think reviews are meant to be more for readers to find out whether they would like a book, not for the author. Several people have mentioned being hesitant or altogether refusing to give a poor rating for certain authors. That's their choice, but that's not how I operate. I don't really see the point in withholding my opinion.

    I didn't enjoy giving 2 stars to Leigh Bardugo's Crooked Kingdom, just like I didn't like giving 2 stars to Tarryn Fisher's F-ck Love. But I didn't want to lie to the (few) people who read my reviews. :)

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