In early July, Daisy Buchanan was enjoying a sunny Saturday morning making pottery for her house; then he picked up the phone. He opened Instagram and saw the words “review,” “mediocre,” and “irritating”; he immediately felt hot. “My body started processing it before my brain did,” Buchanan says. Tears welled up in his eyes. Buchanan, a 37-year-old author based in Kent, England, was reading a negative review of one of her books. But she had not sought him out by an unadvised name or title; the reader, in effect, had sent it to him directly. They had tagged it in their post.
At the same time, a few miles away in London, Lex Croucher was already having a bad day when his phone rang. It was a two-paragraph review and a star of one of a 30-year-old’s books, and it basically said there was “nothing to like” about Croucher’s work. In the past, both Buchanan and Croucher have done so placed pleas on social media: say what you like about my work, but please, please don’t @m me when you do.
Readers and reviewers have never been so able to make their voices heard. The rise of Bookstagram and, more recently, BookTok have allowed bibliophiles to share recommendations, point out plot holes, and discuss fan theories on an unprecedented scale. However writers to want you a to know that it’s one thing to tell the world you don’t like a book, and quite another to tell its author.
Or is it? Isn’t this, after all, our brave new world? Shouldn’t authors adopt it and accept that labeling is part of the job, and in fact, isn’t it really helpful to read constructive reviews? Sometimes writers need to listen to reviews of their work, especially if readers find it problematic. In this sense, it is not labeling almost a kind what to do Buchanan, author of romantic novels Insatiable i Racehe says absolutely no.
“I’m more than aware that there are valid criticisms of my work,” he says, “but at the moment I’m trying to write one book a year. I’m in the middle of a pretty painful third draft, so when I read an angry review of the book I finished two years ago, it makes me very creative. ”While she says she’s“ embarrassed ”to admit it, Buchanan has now used various security and privacy settings to minimize the way tagging is on Instagram.
Anna James, 35, author of the London-based children’s series Pages & Co, says tagged reviews can also be bad for readers. “If a review is positive or negative, it really closes any conversation if an author is tagged,” he says, arguing that tagging distracts readers and puts him in the author. “An online conversation about a book may not be open and useful to readers if an author observes it all,” he says. (She clarifies what it means when readers talk about reviews and scores, not when they try to chat with an author about their work.)