Today I read a blog post Penny Watson of Penny Romance wrote on Goodreads titled “Penelope’s Advice To Authors Who Don’t Like Beeyotchy Reviewers…“. The post basically reiterated what we’ve all been saying for years – If you don’t want your book to be criticized, don’t publish it. It was a well written post and I agreed.
In the comments, Val said:
I completely agree. You know what you were up for. Though I also think sometimes we are too harsh with new published authors, we should cut them some slack and then after they’ve written some books, we can be as bitchy as we want -or not! (emphasis mine)
I agree about cutting some slack to newbie authors. I save my super-snark for the big kahunas (Nora, JR, Nora, Stephanie, Nora…etc). :^)
Others weigh in, including TeddyPig, disagreeing that newbie authors should be cut extra slack. The argument is made that a book is not its author (a belief I firmly subscribe to) and should be treated the same no matter how many works the author has under his/her belt.
I agree. Whether this is the author’s 1st book or their 15th, that shouldn’t be a consideration in how we review it. A lot of the time I don’t even know until after I’ve read a book how many the author has published (if it’s a new-to-me author). Val goes on to say:
Of course, I’m not saying we should say the book’s good just because the author’s new, I’m saying that we often write reviews that attack authors -not their work- when books really sucked, and maybe we should tone that down if it comes to a newbie. Give it 1 star if you want even say if you thought it sucked, but we should try to show a little respect at least if it’s his first book! (emphasis mine)
First – I’ve seen very few reviews that personally attack an author. Commenting on the author’s writing style or the technical aspects of their writing isn’t a personal attack on them. Saying their characters were dumb, or their plot had holes, or their stories were unbelievable is not the same as saying “this author is a complete douche who should die a slow, painful death for writing this book”.
Second – No. Just no. We shouldn’t “tone down” a review simply because it’s an authors debut release. We shouldn’t “tone down” a review for any reason. A book is not its author. A book is a book. I guess if you’re the type of reviewer who personally attacks authors then yes, you might want to “tone down” your review – but I’d suggest doing that for all reviews, not just the ones where the author is a newb.
What say you? Should we “be nice” to newbie authors?