Howdy, all! It's Monday evening (ish) and I'm still alive. *confetti and noise makers* I trust that you are too? If not I may never know, but I'll keep blogging just in case ...
I don't do many 'RANT' posts, because I'm a pretty laissez-faire kind of guy when it comes to the writing/blogging world. Do what you do, and I'll do what I do. Let the fates decide if any of it is worth the time we've invested. However, something has been eating at me lately, and it seems to keep coming up in other blogs so I thought I'd throw in my thoughts.
Do you read book reviews on blogs? Better still, do you do reviews (of any kind) on your blogs? Why do you read them, or why do you write them? I would think it would be to give/get an opinion, or to share impressions of an experience so that others can have an idea of your perspectives and perhaps relate it to their own. Is it to tell you how "awesome", "squee", or "frabjous" EVERY. SINGLE. BOOK. is? Didn't think so ...
Points of Claire-ification, one of the blogs I follow (you should too :), posted a book review last week. In the review, Claire (the bloggist) opted to change the format from the typical review in an attempt to bring a little flavor to a pretty standard blog feature. I can't even begin to say how much I appreciated her efforts. Why? Because it told me that she was aware of the fact that 99.9% of the reviews out there are saying the same things. What are they saying? It goes something like this:
"You have to read this awesome book! If a unicorn and a rainbow had a baby it would TOTALLY be THIS book! If that RainIcorn-book/baby had a bm it would TOTALLY be made of diamonds and butterflies!"
You get the idea. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating for people to go out and torch books they hate on their blogs. I'd just like to read something remotely balanced. Sure the book might have been good, but wasn't there anything that didn't work? Most of the followers of these 'writing' blogs are other writers and readers, so give us something to think about. Heck, even the Bible has its faults; Genesis isn't exactly an opening chapter that ZINGS! And don't get me started on Deuteronomy--talk about an info dump! :)
Here's the real reason I'm complaining. I think people don't review honestly out of fear. Fear of ticking off a would-be agent or editor. Fear of offending another writer or reader. Fear of simply saying what they think.
Is there merit behind such fear? Maybe.
Just today I read two different (both fairly prominent) lit agent blogs that basically told aspiring authors to not post negative statements about other books, agents, etc. on their blogs. To be clear, they weren't JUST talking about going postal; they were talking about simply being negative in tone or connotation.
I think that's fooey. If you're going to offer reviews on your blog, you should give an honest, balanced opinion. If that means saying you just didn't get or enjoy it, so be it. If an agent or editor can't appreciate an honest evaluation of one of their clients books then I'm not sure they'd make the best agent or editor in the first place.
What say you? Do you read the billions of reviews out there? Do you think blog content can negatively impact your search for representation? How much filter is too much? Convince me that I'm a David Downer who needs to mind what he says.
Agent-less in Seattle :)