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Thread: Ask Jennifer Laughran! Tireless agent-in-residence!

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  1. #11
    knows what she's looking for when she finds it! Absolute Sage
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    New York
    Quote Originally Posted by Senora Verde View Post
    I know it's important for writers to have an online presence and I've read lots of advice warning against that presence being a negative one. I'm a writer, looking for an agent, but I also have a blog where I review books. If I write a negative review, could that potentially hurt my image/publicity/desirability-as-an-author later on down the road?

    As a purely hypothetical/over-exaggerated example: If I write a negative review of Twilight, will an agent frown on that because now I can never get Stephenie Meyer to blurb my book?
    I would suggest that you be as kind, thoughtful and generous in your online presence as you wish people to be with you. Though slams on a book can certainly be funny, I can't explain how hurtful you will find needlessly cruel, thoughtless reviews of of your own work when it is published -- and they will come. Why be "that guy", you know?

    And the online author world is already cliquish and can be gossipy - If I were a new author, I'd want to make friends but stay above the fray. Don't get involved in drama - keep your reputation golden and your attitude positive. Sounds Pollyanna-ish, but whatever. Those online friends you make can become some of your biggest supporters down the line.

    That is not to say you can't review books, but I personally prefer the idea of "recommending" books - reviewing books that you LIKE rather than ones that you hate, particularly in public posts.

    If you are going to go negative, consider making it criticism of an aspect of BOOKS IN GENERAL that you don't like without calling the book out specifically: "I was reading a book that shall remain nameless the other day that included something that drives me crazy - talking inanimate objects. I don't find this cute. My ashtray or coffeemug should never dance, people!"

    Or if you must name the book, make sure it is a thoughtful review and constructive rather than destructive. Mention things you like as well as what is less successful, rather than just going negative for laughs.

    It's just good karma.
    Last edited by Jennifer_Laughran; 01-03-2010 at 11:54 PM.
    The opinions expressed here are strictly my own and are not those of my employer, or possibly anyone else. Salt to taste.
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    twitter: @literaticat

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