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Thread: Authors should really stop telling readers how to give reviews

  1. #2626
    DenturePunk writer bearilou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowwalker View Post
    Sigh. All of this just convinces me more than ever that I will not, absolutely, pay any attention to sites that have reviews. It's all so grade school! Send me my sales figures and the rest of the world be damned...
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  2. #2627
    Quote Originally Posted by bearilou View Post
    I never said it was bullying. I simply made comment in the context that sometimes authors can't even get away from negative reviews if their name is going to be added to the hashtags only to find out when they click the link that it's negative.

    I'm ambivalent on the subject since I read about it on gail simone's tumblr. Is it asshole behavior? I don't know. Probably not if the person is using the hashtag for their own use. Some people do use it to draw the author's attention to their negativity.
    I didn't mean to insinuate that you said it was bullying. Merely in the context of my entire post I wanted to say I didn't think it was bullying since I was already talking about it.

    But I do think it's asshole behavior to tweet a link of your negative review to an author, or even expect someone not to click on a hashtag of their name if you're tweeting reviews. Twitter is not GR and I'm tempted to unlink my twitter account from my GR account. There's nothing private about Twitter.

  3. #2628
    DenturePunk writer bearilou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebloodfiend View Post
    I didn't mean to insinuate that you said it was bullying. Merely in the context of my entire post I wanted to say I didn't think it was bullying since I was already talking about it.

    But I do think it's asshole behavior to tweet a link of your negative review to an author, or even expect someone not to click on a hashtag of their name if you're tweeting reviews. Twitter is not GR and I'm tempted to unlink my twitter account from my GR account. There's nothing private about Twitter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phaeal View Post
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  4. #2629
    a demon for tea EMaree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearilou View Post
    I never said it was bullying. I simply made comment in the context that sometimes authors can't even get away from negative reviews if their name is going to be added to the hashtags only to find out when they click the link that it's negative.

    I'm ambivalent on the subject since I read about it on gail simone's tumblr. Is it asshole behavior? I don't know. Probably not if the person is using the hashtag for their own use. Some people do use it to draw the author's attention to their negativity.
    There's also an ongoing trend (for at least the last three years, but probably longer) or reviewers writing a negative review and then contacting the author directly with the link.

    Usually this is done by Twitter, authors get an @reply message with a link and if they click over to have a read that's their day ruined.

    It's a pretty horrible thing to do.
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  5. #2630
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebloodfiend View Post
    To call it bullying (and we really are misusing the words "bullying" and "victim" here), is to water down the true meaning of the word.

    People feel bullied all the damn time. It doesn't make it so. And to cater to the whims of every person who "feels" bullied would be detrimental to those who are actually bullied.
    This is exactly my feelings too. When authors claim they're being bullied by receiving negative reviews it's really hurtful to people who were actually bullied. That's why I have no sympathy for authors who cry 'bullying' when it's not. All it does is make me angry.

  6. #2631
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMaree View Post
    It's a pretty horrible thing to do.
    I used to notify all authors when I posted a review. Then I found that some authors considered it horrible to be notified ifd the review was what they deemed nasty, even when they sent me the review copy. So I stopped notifying authors at all. Path of least resistance response, I guess. But it stopped the hate mail.
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  7. #2632
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMaree View Post
    There's also an ongoing trend (for at least the last three years, but probably longer) or reviewers writing a negative review and then contacting the author directly with the link.

    Usually this is done by Twitter, authors get an @reply message with a link and if they click over to have a read that's their day ruined.

    It's a pretty horrible thing to do.

    I've never had someone @ me with a really negative review, but I've had a few do it with reviews that were just meh or bordering-on-negative, and I did wonder, "Why TF would you do that? What am I supposed to do with this?" It almost seems sometimes like a test to see if I'll respond (I won't).

    I generally assume if they're @ing me with it, it's a positive review they want to share, since I usually will RT those or quote them on my blog/site. So yeah, if you @ me with it I read it, because you want me to; you're basically directly asking me to.

    It's not bullying to do that, but it is rather rude, I think.

    If I go hunting for reviews and see a negative one that's my fault, but if you go out of your way to make me see a negative review...I just don't see the point, or what the motive there is.
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  8. #2633
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebloodfiend View Post

    People feel bullied all the damn time. It doesn't make it so. And to cater to the whims of every person who "feels" bullied would be detrimental to those who are actually bullied.
    This is also true. But then, who is judging what is bullying and what isn't? Where's the line?

    Thing is, we don't know who is behind that handle on the net. Maybe they were relentlessly bullied as a kid, and so are more sensitive to what they feel is bullying now. Maybe they were the bully. Maybe they're a complete frigging arsehole IRl but sweet as pie on the net, or the other way around. It's impossible to know. But...sometimes part of me sits there and thinks, so it's okay to be an arsehole just for the sake of it? Because someone did something you, personally, don't like? (People do stuff I don't agree with all the time. Does that mean I am allowed to be an arsehole to them?) Because it looks like that, quite often (both sides of the reviewer/author debate) and it looks...icky.


    I don't know. The whole thing just makes me feel oogy, you know?

    PS: I had a, shall we say, less than stellar review recently. The number of people who have added my book on GR went UP by 20% in two days.....so I'm counting that as a win!




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  9. #2634
    Avid reader and lover of fiction Lexxie's Avatar
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    I only ever @ an author with my review if it's 4 or 5 stars, and I even include how many stars it is with my @, so the author knows before clicking (if they decide to click) my link. I would never @ an author with even an OK review, and for me 3 stars is 'I liked it'.

    But I will continue to post my reviews - both positive and negative on Goodreads and on my blog. If an author comes by a negative one, I truly hope I was not mean - I try not to be. But I don't really think about the author when I review.

    Emotional reader - that's what I am. And I think about my own enjoyment of the book when I review it - that's it.
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  10. #2635
    Quote Originally Posted by Buffysquirrel View Post
    Wait...are you saying that if I write a negative review of a book by a Goodreads author (ie an author who is active on GR, and noted as such next to their name) I'm bullying? Seriously? What if the author becomes a GR author after I've written my review--do I become a bully at that point?
    No, I'm not, so I'm going to go and edit that post to make it clearer. I was trying to make the distinction between people saying they don't like something, and people reading a book and looking for things to go on the 1-star review they intended to write before they started. I may be over simplifying this because I don't know how GR works - do GR authors get automatically notified about reviews and what they say?

    If you write a deliberately negative review in the knowledge or desire that the author should see it in order and your intention is to distress or insult, that's bullying - or attempted bullying at least. Maybe that's closer to what I mean.

    Quote Originally Posted by thebloodfiend View Post
    Have you ever looked at this from the opposite POV?

    When an author, like Jim Hines, writes something awesome and people go to read his books and leave reviews precisely because they like him and want his books to succeed?
    I suppose (in extreme examples) that would be something like The Cult of Personality. I don't like that either.


    This is the origin of that little term "you reap what you sow." Whether or not you or I agree with it, every action has a reaction. If you're going to be an ass, someone will find out. In the case of mega-ass author like that dude who was creeping on the teen girl or big name assholes like Orson Scott Card, I would not blame people for not wanting them to succeed. If you legitimately did not like the book, and you're not a fan of others emulating their behavior, you can a) remain silent, which really does shit nothing, or b) air them out. And hopefully, one idiot getting aired out will show other potential idiots that being an idiot online is a bad idea.
    Ah, but that's assuming people know they are idiots. STGRB think they're right and there are people who agree. Airing out idiots doesn't stop idiots.

    Did trolling the Masculism hashtag on twitter help any of the people using it to understand the problem? Doubtful, but it was hilarious.





    As for taking the high road, I've seen reviewers do that on GR. It leads to the author continuing their shit fit and leaving even more comments—and authors can't be put on ignore, much like mods here. You know what taking the high road led to? The creation of STGRB. They got her banned from GR (all of them were pretty much sick of her and her ilk) and she created that site for the outlet of her rage.

    I don't think many of you understand that reviewers would simply like to be left alone. They don't look for drama. They just want to read and make snarky GIFs reviews to laugh at amongst themselves. I don't remember the last time reviewers, in mass, hunted down an author, spammed them with links for their review, and pulled a ridiculous stunt like this after other authors refused to participate in a blog tour. It typically starts with the author. If the author could just take the high road and not comment no matter what the reader says, GR would be better for it. There really is no excuse, unless the reviewer is threatening to kill, hurt, or rape you, to even think about leaving a comment.
    Yes, that is the key to it but, as I've said before, I'm very uncomfortable with the fact that the response to somebody like Eve Thomas is "Well, maybe you shouldn't have been commenting on the reviews then."

    As for negative hash-tagging—whenever you leave a review, if your twitter account is linked to your GR account, it will tweet that you finished the book along with some sort of hashtag, a link to your review, and the rating you left. I don't agree with purposefully seeking the author out and linking them to your negative review (though many will tweet authors positive reviews), but I don't think I'd call that bullying either. I'd also have to see the context of the tweet.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stacia Kane View Post
    I've never had someone @ me with a really negative review, but I've had a few do it with reviews that were just meh or bordering-on-negative, and I did wonder, "Why TF would you do that? What am I supposed to do with this?" It almost seems sometimes like a test to see if I'll respond (I won't).

    I generally assume if they're @ing me with it, it's a positive review they want to share, since I usually will RT those or quote them on my blog/site. So yeah, if you @ me with it I read it, because you want me to; you're basically directly asking me to.

    It's not bullying to do that, but it is rather rude, I think.

    If I go hunting for reviews and see a negative one that's my fault, but if you go out of your way to make me see a negative review...I just don't see the point, or what the motive there is.

    That's bizarre. "I wrote a review and made sure the author knows exactly what I think of them. I MATTER, DAMMIT!"

    Silly them. Direct them to this thread. Reviews aren't for authors. It took over a hundred pages but I think that's what we decided.
    Last edited by Theo81; 02-19-2013 at 09:48 PM. Reason: bit to add

  11. #2636
    practical experience, FTW CQuinlan's Avatar
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    About the shelving and @ing thing...aren't most people reviewing on goodreads YA section teenagers? It's a bit rich of an adult to make a fuss that children are 'bullying them'.

    Shelving against the author and not the book? Rude, yes. The idea that YOU are so important that the author has to know how you feel? Egotistical, yes.

    What do you expect from vocal teens on the interwebz?

  12. #2637
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CQuinlan View Post
    aren't most people reviewing on goodreads YA section teenagers?

    No.

  13. #2638
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theo81 View Post
    No, I'm not, so I'm going to go and edit that post to make it clearer. I was trying to make the distinction between people saying they don't like something, and people reading a book and looking for things to go on the 1-star review they intended to write before they started. I may be over simplifying this because I don't know how GR works - do GR authors get automatically notified about reviews and what they say?
    Ah, okay. Because I'd hate to think I was coming across as a bully, even though I know I can be a bit much at times....

    If you're a Goodreads author, you can get notifications when your book is reviewed. It depends on your settings. If tweeting my reviews automatically @s the author...well, I didn't know that, and if I had known it, I probably wouldn't have done it. I don't write my reviews for the authors. Although when I was reviewing officially for GUD, I did notify authors when their review was up, just as a courtesy. If we felt our review was going to be really negative, we didn't write one. But some authors were upset, despite our best intentions.

  14. #2639
    Avid reader and lover of fiction Lexxie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buffysquirrel View Post
    Ah, okay. Because I'd hate to think I was coming across as a bully, even though I know I can be a bit much at times....

    If you're a Goodreads author, you can get notifications when your book is reviewed. It depends on your settings. If tweeting my reviews automatically @s the author...well, I didn't know that, and if I had known it, I probably wouldn't have done it. I don't write my reviews for the authors. Although when I was reviewing officially for GUD, I did notify authors when their review was up, just as a courtesy. If we felt our review was going to be really negative, we didn't write one. But some authors were upset, despite our best intentions.
    I just checked my Goodreads to Twitter feed, and it doesn't @ the author, but it does mention the author's name. I don't think that shows up in the author's Twitter feed, though. If it does, I'm going to disable that function immediately.
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  15. #2640
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    It wouldn't show up in their feed without the @ -- as far as I understand Twitter, anyway -- but I suppose it would show up if they searched on themselves. Not that I know of anyone who does that, ahem ahem.

  16. #2641
    Just visiting Samsonet's Avatar
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    I've seen people who write nasty things about a person and let that person know in order to provoke a response. Luckily none of them are on goodreads, as far as I know, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were reviewers of the type out there.

    As for "it's the author's fault if they reply", I always thought of it like this:

    Somebody writes a bad review. "Bad" can mean a badly-written review or a snarky review or a bullying review -- an author who hasn't successfully separated themselves from the work might not be able to tell them apart. The point is, its badness is subjective.

    The author comes across it somehow. Maybe by accident, maybe they were looking for it, maybe someone linked them to it.

    If the review is badly-written, then nobody will bother with it and there's really no use replying to it anyway.

    If it's just snarky, but well-written and thoughtful, then most readers will either agree or disagree and discuss it more-or-less intelligently. If the reviewer got something wrong or went over the line somewhere, the other readers will let them know. There's really no need for the author to reply.

    If the review really is bullying, then the other readers will fight for you -- but only if you don't reply. Because there have been enough badly-behaving authors that, if you have a comment on the bad review, the assumption will be that you did something to deserve it. If you don't comment then they'll praise you for taking the high road and being classy. Then they'll report the abusive reviewer to heck.

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  17. #2642
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacia Kane View Post
    (Bolding mine)

    But when it comes to the point that you aren't visiting places you normally visit so as to avoid seeing the nastiness, and are avoiding blogging or tweeting because you know nasty comments will be made about anything you say...

    It's easy to say "But there's escapabaility," and to some extent I agree, but chasing people off the internet isn't a good thing.
    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post
    I guess I'm thinking of this and part of the problem is that it's easy to say "well, I can make comments about a person and they just shouldn't read them." This just seems ridiculous to me, especially in the face of people being able to easily google themselves.

    If a person sat in a room beside two people who were trash-talking them, yes, I'd recommend leaving the room and not listening to them, but that doesn't make their behavior any more okay. The internet is a public forum. You aren't talking on your private page that only two people can see.

    I understand that sometimes we might have opinions about authors as people. I can think of an author I consider a blatant misogynist, for example, but I wouldn't leave a review stating that. I might say that his female characters are all one-dimensional, or the attitudes in the book have issues, but I wouldn't call the author on it even if I think that's the case.

    That sort of thing is best left to a phone call or an email that remains private if it must be said at all. Otherwise, the assumption should be that the person you're talking about will be reading it. It's just basic human respect and decency. You don't sit in a room with a person you're making horrible comments about and say those things to their face, and that's the same thing going on with the internet.

    I feel the same when I see news articles with comments such as "look at that fat whore" attached to a picture. If that person clicks the article about themselves they're going to see that. And that's not acceptable.

    I think the problem is it's become almost a competition to out-snark and out-ugly others to be "cool." It was the same way when I was in school, and as the person who was on the receiving end of all that snarky ugly, I'm not ever going to be very accepting of it now just because the venue is different.

    ETA: I just wanted to add that I was someone who was bullied an awful lot all through school. For eighteen years, I was told to "just ignore it" or "don't listen to them" or "just don't let it get to you." I spent that time thinking it was somehow my fault, that I was doing something wrong and that something was wrong with me because I was mocked and because it upset me.

    To place all the responsibility for this sort of thing on the victim's shoulders is wrong. What those students did for years was wrong. Telling me to deal with it didn't make their behavior right, just as it doesn't make these people's behavior right now. And honestly, I have a really hard time understanding why someone would justify a person making rude, disrespectful, or mean-hearted statements about others period.

    Whatever happened to treating others as you'd like to be treated?
    My previous post was a reply to Kaitie's, in which she was talking specifically about readers shelving author's books on shelves with not-so-nice titles.

    I entirely agree that driving someone off the internet, or off any specific site, is very probably bullying. Sticking their book on a personal shelf labelled 'Author suckitude'? Nasty, yes. Bullying, no.

    I don't know if the 'victim-blaming' comment was meant for me or not - but if it was, it's not victim-blaming to point out that some forms of nastiness can be avoided with no effort or compromise, while others can't, and that there's a huge difference between the two.

    Also, I spelled it out in my previous post that, no, I definitely don't think nastiness is OK. But I don't think every instance of nastiness is automatically bullying. They're different things, and claiming that they're not devalues them both.

  18. #2643
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    I've been having a thing where about five people have contacted me through various avenues about a review having spoilers in the first sentence. I haven't replied or flagged it because at the end of the day, I feel it's not my call. I both appreciate them letting me know but also wish they'd not mention it to me, because there's not much I can or wish to do.

    And now there's another review or two that has the same "spoiler" in the first sentence, and I really don't mind. I don't think knowing it impacts the read. It's interesting to see how differently people react to spoilers, though.

    As far as I know GR doesn't notify you if you get a new review. There's the little dashboard to the right which I'm trying to train myself not to click even if I see the review numbers go up. *twitches*
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  19. #2644
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    Actually, I think you're right; I double-checked and none of the available notifications seem to be about when someone reviews your book. So my earlier statement should be taken out the back and shot, in lieu of me for not checking before posting...bad sqrl.

    I have a little issue with people insisting I should remove a spoiler from one of my reviews that I don't think is a spoiler....

  20. #2645
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    I used to notify all authors when I posted a review. Then I found that some authors considered it horrible to be notified ifd the review was what they deemed nasty, even when they sent me the review copy. So I stopped notifying authors at all. Path of least resistance response, I guess. But it stopped the hate mail.
    If it is a review copy, then I will notify the author through email (if its a personal request) or update through Netgalley (if I requested). I feel obligated to let them know that I did follow through and the book was read and reviewed.

    I usually ask the author if they are okay with 1 or 2 star reviews prior to reading the book. If they say no and I don't like the book, then I'll send them an email explaining one or two things I didn't like...and not publish the review. I've only had two authors specifically ask me not to write negative reviews and only one of those books was a flop (so no review). But, it does limit some of the hate.

    I thought the policy would protect me from an author flipping out over a review. Turns out...not so much. /sigh
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  21. #2646
    practical experience, FTW meowzbark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CQuinlan View Post
    About the shelving and @ing thing...aren't most people reviewing on goodreads YA section teenagers? It's a bit rich of an adult to make a fuss that children are 'bullying them'.

    Shelving against the author and not the book? Rude, yes. The idea that YOU are so important that the author has to know how you feel? Egotistical, yes.

    What do you expect from vocal teens on the interwebz?
    I'm friends with quite a few reviewers and the majority are adults. They like to read YA, but are way over 18. I'd say 17-29 for the average age, though some are much older.
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  22. #2647
    Quote Originally Posted by meowzbark View Post
    I'm friends with quite a few reviewers and the majority are adults. They like to read YA, but are way over 18. I'd say 17-29 for the average age, though some are much older.
    That is my experience as well. I'd weight it 40/60. 40% being teens.

  23. #2648
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    Every time I click on this thread, I am reminded of why i never go on GoodReads.

  24. #2649
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    Quote Originally Posted by lauralam View Post
    I've been having a thing where about five people have contacted me through various avenues about a review having spoilers in the first sentence...

    And now there's another review or two that has the same "spoiler" in the first sentence, and I really don't mind. I don't think knowing it impacts the read. It's interesting to see how differently people react to spoilers, though.
    I blame you for writing the world's hardest ever book to review...

    I don't think knowing the spoiler detracts from Pantomime, either. As I said in my review, I guessed really early on, and it was still one of my favourites of the last couple of years.

    Dragging things back on topic (sorry for wandering off!), I only ever tweet authors with reviews where I've given 4/5 or more. In fact, I generally don't even draw anyone's attention to reviews where I've given less than 4 stars - I try and concentrate on plugging the awesome books; I barely have enough time to do that without wasting it on publicising more negative reviews.
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  25. #2650
    Quote Originally Posted by CQuinlan View Post
    About the shelving and @ing thing...aren't most people reviewing on goodreads YA section teenagers? It's a bit rich of an adult to make a fuss that children are 'bullying them'.

    Shelving against the author and not the book? Rude, yes. The idea that YOU are so important that the author has to know how you feel? Egotistical, yes.

    What do you expect from vocal teens on the interwebz?
    I expect them to behave properly? If you're too young not to understand the difference between behaving like a tool and not behaving like a tool, you're probably too young to be allowed on the internets.


    Quote Originally Posted by lauralam View Post
    I've been having a thing where about five people have contacted me through various avenues about a review having spoilers in the first sentence. I haven't replied or flagged it because at the end of the day, I feel it's not my call. I both appreciate them letting me know but also wish they'd not mention it to me, because there's not much I can or wish to do.

    And now there's another review or two that has the same "spoiler" in the first sentence, and I really don't mind. I don't think knowing it impacts the read. It's interesting to see how differently people react to spoilers, though.

    As far as I know GR doesn't notify you if you get a new review. There's the little dashboard to the right which I'm trying to train myself not to click even if I see the review numbers go up. *twitches*
    FWIW, that "spoiler" made me DL the sample of your book, despite YA not being my sort of thing. Still haven't actually *looked* at it, mind.



    Quote Originally Posted by yayeahyeah View Post
    I blame you for writing the world's hardest ever book to review...

    I don't think knowing the spoiler detracts from Pantomime, either. As I said in my review, I guessed really early on, and it was still one of my favourites of the last couple of years.

    Dragging things back on topic (sorry for wandering off!), I only ever tweet authors with reviews where I've given 4/5 or more. In fact, I generally don't even draw anyone's attention to reviews where I've given less than 4 stars - I try and concentrate on plugging the awesome books; I barely have enough time to do that without wasting it on publicising more negative reviews.
    (Sorry if this sounds confrontational or anything, it's not intended to be) Why do you tweet the authors? What do you want from them?

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