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Addressing The Book Blog(ger) Drama

Has the title caught your attention? Good. If you can spare me a couple minutes of your time, I would love to tell you a little story. And – as the title promises – my stance on all the “drama”. 

So let’s do a little time travel, shall we? Let’s go back to May of 2018. This was when my little corner of the world wide web, The Artsy Reader, was born. I started my blog as a means to share my love of books and reading, to find like-minded people from all the different parts of the world and connect with them over our mutual love for books. I did this after thinking about it for quite a while, and by while I mean YEARS. Trust me, I know this overthinking business. That’s why all the possible reactions to my bookish thoughts had crossed my mind more than once, and I had obviously come up with all the scenarios that I had thought possible at that point. Sure, I was hoping to get as much positive feedback as possible, or – which would also have been ok with me – no feedback all. There’s no harm in nothing, right? At first, I was reluctant and anxious – could I really write what I thought and post it on the internet and expect not to get negative feedback? Well, after a month or so of blogging, I decided to join Twitter, nowadays also known as the place I love spending most of my time 😀 . And my wishes were granted – I met the most amazing people from all over the world, came to know people I now consider as really good friends. We bonded over our mutual favorite pastime – reading – shared our favorite stories, recommended each other books to read and fangirled over our most beloved characters. It’s easy to say I loved it (and still do). 

Other than the occasional spam comment (which you can totally live with as it is usually not geared towards your content at all), I never experienced anything negative in these few months that I decided to join the bookish online world. Somehow I also thought it was all too good to be true. A few months ago then, I became aware of the first book blogger drama on Twitter. I don’t really remember what it was about, I think someone made a comment that book bloggers shouldn’t be taken seriously or SOMETHING. I remember how much of a wildfire it was though. This one person reached so many people and managed to make them angry, sad, or feel disheartened. A few weeks later there was the next drama, and a few days ago I came across people on Twitter defending their book blogs and some newbies stating that they didn’t like the negative feelings they were greeted with in this community.

Before I tell you what I think of all this, I have to tell you something about my personality first (in case, you know, it doesn’t come across on the Internet). 

If you knew me in real life, you’d know how much of a shy and reticent person I usually am. The blogging and Twitter world gave me the possibility to open up and share my opinion and helped my voice be heard, which I love. I don’t usually live for drama, I don’t like confrontations and try to avoid them whenever possible. Sometimes though, it is important to stand up – for yourself, but also for others – and say what you think, to voice your opinion. Coincidentally, I have just read this really great book called Ban This Book by Alan Gratz, in which the main character, a book lover like myself, finds that her favorite book has been banned from the school library because some parents thought it inappropriate for children (she’s still in primary school). Later, the list of banned books gets longer and longer, some of our favorite books – Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland and many more – are on it! The main character is very shy, she usually never speaks up, never defends herself or says what she really thinks, even if she is always in disadvantage because of that. Because her beloved books are at stake now though she takes matters into her own hands and succeeds in getting the books back to the library (you can read my full review here). 

Long story short, I still don’t want to partake in all the drama. I don’t want any negativity to taint my love for reading and sharing my thoughts on books and socialising on Twitter, BUT – since I feel very protective of what I love – I do feel like I have to say the things I’m going to say at least once to get them out there. 

So what am I going to do about all the the negativity and drama now? To be honest? Nothing. For my own peace of mind I have decided not to care, which can be harder than you’d think. Obviously, I, too, want to know what is happening, so I do like to snoop around a bit and have a little read when I see comments surfacing. But, just as in real life, I refuse to become part of the drama or even let it drag me down. And why should I? I have found something I love doing, and as long as I share my personal opinion in a constructive way without bashing authors or books or people in general, I’m not going to stop book blogging. I don’t know everything that’s been going on, but the following points have made it onto my list because they really bothered me when I saw comments on Twitter.

So here’s what I’ve seen book bloggers being accused of / told to do / not to do (in no particular order) – and what I think of it:

  • We are not reading the right kinds of books.
    So apparently, book shaming is a thing now. Who knew? Nowadays, everything draws a negative response, no matter what you do. You are reading happy-ending-books or love stories? Bad – you shouldn’t look at life through rose-tinted glasses. You’re reading YA or middle grade books or – Heaven forbid! – picture books? You’re being childish and you’re definitely not a real reader. You like to read fantasy and science fiction? Well, you really shouldn’t, because life isn’t a fairytale and you have to grow up.Really? That’s what has become of this world? Why do people even care what we read? No matter what kind of book blogger you are and what you read and share with your audience, I guarantee you WILL have an audience and you WILL find your niche (this oh so famous “niche” everyone’s concerned with). Because with millions of book lovers all over the world, there will surely be other people who like to read the same genre, and who enjoy the same books as you. So don’t feel embarrassed by what you read, ever! I think maybe we should ban the term “guilty pleasure” from our dictionaries. So you just read a book aimed at 13 year olds AND enjoyed it? So what? The result is that you enjoyed it, and that’s the only thing that matters. And if you like to read a little bit of everything? In my opinion that’s not bad either (and doesn’t, as some people claim, make you a bad book blogger because you don’t stick to one genre). On the contrary, it’s great! As you can see, there’s a negative counterpart to literally EVERYTHING you do, so my advice is to just do what YOU want to do.
  • We don’t have a significant reach and nobody cares what we think anyway.
    Well, for people who claim this, I have one question: Have you ever been on Twitter before? Because look at all the people who state that they have bought books simply because a book blogger has recommended it to them – there are so many! Also, consider it this way: Us book bloggers, we do this thing because it is dear to us. After years and years of reading, we have become experts in this field, but we’re not “professional experts”, we don’t earn money. See, we put a lot of time and effort into this, but we are doing it because we love doing it, not because we have to, which, in my opinion, makes this significantly more special and also more valid. We take our time reading a book, we take notes while doing so, maybe highlight a quote or important passage, and then spend another good while writing a review, carefully weighing the words, maybe doing some research, and edit it in the end. If you did that from 9 to 5 on a daily basis, it would be called work and you would get a nice sum of cash at the end of each month (or week, or whatever). So I don’t know about you guys, but I would call this passion, and I think this is something to admire.
  • We have to post regularly to call ourselves bloggers.
    This one doesn’t necessarily have to but might tie in with the previous point. We blog about books because we love it, but most of us go to school or have regular jobs, families, kids, spouses and pets and other hobbies and households to take care of (and probably much more than I could think of now), so I find it even more admirable how often some book bloggers manage to publish posts. I know that many have a schedule for their blogs, and I applaud them for it! I myself don’t stick to a schedule because it would stress me out and I’m not sure I would like to see it as more of a regular job – I have the feeling that it would take away from the joy for me. But I do still consider me a blogger (and, if I might say, I think so should you 😉
  • We should only post positive reviews.
    Why? If it’s not bashing books and authors, you’re being constructive and don’t insult anybody, I don’t see why it should be forbidden to say if you haven’t liked a book. I can see that some bloggers aren’t comfortable with that and if they decide against it it’s fine, but it should be totally valid to say if you didn’t like book so and so just as much as it is ok to say you didn’t like lipstick x because it wasn’t long lasting or film xy because it promised to be child-friendly but ended up being violent. And yes, I’ve seen people complain that some book bloggers tag the authors when posting their one or two star reviews, and don’t necessarily think that needs to be done, but this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t say when a book didn’t appeal to us.
  • You have to stick to one genre or You have to branch out more and broaden your (reading) horizon.
    We covered this point above a little bit already, but I feel like it deserves its own little passage. I see the point – you shouldn’t necessarily say you hate something without having tried it first, right? Maybe you remember something similar from your childhood: I used to refuse to eat fish just because without actually having tried it before, but now as an adult, I love it! Or, another example, I refused to eat mushrooms, tried them when I was older, and still don’t eat them now because I don’t like the taste and consistency. Both I could only find out by trying. So, the same could be true for books. Maybe you think you won’t like fantasy when in reality (pun intended) you’d love the genre! Or you don’t, but there’s only one way of finding out. So for the sake of not losing years and years of your life without the one thing that qould bring you great joy and happiness, I’d RECOMMEND you to try out other genres out of your bookish comfort zone at least once. However, I do also think that if you’ve tried it and didn’t like it, or have a valid reason not to read something, you shouldn’t force yourself to. In the end, you should enjoy your reading time! On the other hand, some people might like different genres and post reviews for books from horror as well as chic-lit. But why should that be a bad thing?
  • There’s only one right way to write a book review.
    Book reviews shouldn’t be too long because nobody reads them then, but they also shouldn’t be too short because then they don’t express anything, but also you shouldn’t spoiler and give too much away, but also if you don’t include anything about the content you probably haven’t read the book and shoudn’t voice your opinion anyway. Sounds crazy, right? Well, all these points have been stated by people who think that their way of writing a review is the only right one. But I’d say, if you write a review that YOU would like to read yourself, chances are that there will be other people out there who will enjoy your review!
  • And, the newest addition to the drama list: You’re only a book blogger, your opinion isn’t valid. 
    I don’t know what people who say this refer to – are we less of a blogger because it is books we’re talking about, and not films or make up or fashion? Did they do research and can present me tables and graphs and other significant proof? I’m not going to say more to this, because I feel like all my replies above can easily overpower this claim. Just know that I am silently shaking my head and rolling my eyes.

So what do we take from all this? No matter how carefully you plan everything, even for weeks and months or even years ahead, no matter how much you weigh all the options and possible outcomes, fact is: You can’t please everybody. That’s this way with reading, and book blogging, and cooking and singing and dancing and working. There will always be people who take offense, who find an error or will bash you simply because they don’t find one. But should that take away from the fact that you, too, should enjoy your life and do what you like to do? No. Noooooo. If you love books and reading, if you would like to share your opinion on the books you have read, do it. Don’t even think about who will or won’t read it, because it really doesn’t matter. The more we do, the more action area we are providing for the haters and doubters and critics and the more we let ourselves have arguments with them, the more their voices will be heard. So the less we care (or at least show that we care on the outside – don’t take me wrong, it’s making me furious, too) the better. 

Of course, you are allowed to disagree on everything I’ve just said, but the question is…will I c a r e..?

(Lol, who is this sassy new me? Don’t know her 😂 )

If you’ve reached this part of the post you have made it through all my ramblings, and I want to thank you for giving me a good portion of your precious time! You really deserve at least 100 artsy reader points for it, you know. I hope that you (despite all the seemingly cool “we shoudln’t care what anybody thinks” talk) did agree with at least some of the things I’ve said, but either way, let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your opinion on the matter! 

So dear fellow book bloggers and book lovers – one last thing before I let you return to your day: Let’s keep the good work up, shall we? Let us continue to do what we love and let’s all support each other, so that negativity doesn’t even have a choice to worm its way into our positive bookish lives!

Thanks for reading!

xoxo
Noly

40 thoughts on “Addressing The Book Blog(ger) Drama

  1. I deteste book shaming! If more children and teenagers read the books they wanted to then literacy levels would improve. As adults we are perfectly capable of choosing literature that works for us. I recently wrote a post on books as a safe space & I would hate to think where I would be now if I hadn’t been able to escape into those fantasy worlds. I really hope people aren’t put off blogging because of any drama. There are always going to be people who like to put others down & it is usually better to ignore them than to perpetuate their arguments. Great post!

    1. Thanks so much, I totally agree! I wrote this hoping that at least some people who were affected by the negativity will read it and maybe they’ll be able to find a way back to blogging and Twitter if they’ve liked it before. And I agree! It would help with literacy so much!! You would like the book I’ve mentioned in the post, I just finished it today and it was amazing! Review to follow shortly 😉

  2. I think you have a good attitude about this. I’ve been blogging for 6 years, and I’ve managed to avoid pretty much all of the drama because I just don’t engage in it. Have I ever had my feelings hurt by something I read on Twitter? Yes, but usually I just let it slide off my back and forget about it within a week. After all, like you stated, you can’t please everyone. There will always be people who say that bloggers are this or bloggers are that … but only I get to decide if I think those opinions affect me. If someone makes a good point then I might want to take it into consideration. But nine times out of ten it’s just noise and it all blows over fast.

    1. That’s so true Nicole! I’m definitely like that too – I see it but refuse to get involved. Just needed to let my thoughts out once and for all lol

  3. Luckily I haven’t seen most of this because I’m pretty new but as an English graduate & having worked in publishing, I’m completely against literary elitism. There are no rules. Who has the right to define quality? And bloggers are essential. Remove online discussion and you’d lose a huge section of the market!

    1. Hi Mel, thanks so much for reading my post and for commenting! I absolutely agree, I hate how some people just decide to make rules that don’t even exist! Let`s all just have fun reading the books we enjoy the most, right..?

  4. This is a wonderful post and I’m happy I read it until the end! I’ve been blogging for more than three years and all this drama has made me wary of logging in on Twitter or Facebook at times. When will everyone remember this is a hobby and not a place for drama?

    1. Hi Meggy, thanks so much for the comment! I totally agree, I have no idea why some people feel the need to unload their negativity where others just want to have fun… I hope this will fade! xxx

    1. Hi Carol! Omg yesss to solidarity!!! Let’s annoy the haters with our positivity until they leave lol 😀 MG reads have just caught my attention and I already love them! xoxo

  5. I absolutely LOVE all of this! You cut through the crap and get to the essence of this whole drama-stop hurting other people and just do your thing.Talk about and embrace books of all genres and reviews of all types ! If you don’t like a particular thing, do you really need to comment?
    I try and remember 3 things which someone once told me before speaking/tweeting etc-
    Is It true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? If not then walk away and no harm done.The minute people feel their opinion supercedes someone else and descends to name calling is the minute they lose credibility imho.Thank you for writing this 💙

    1. Omg Rachel, thanks so much for this comment!! This really means a lot! And I totally agree – why do some people feel the need to comment and make others feel bad just because they feel superior somehow? I don’t get it… Anyway, let’s just read what we enjoy and support each other, right?! xxx

  6. In my opinion, book bloggers are some of the bloggers I admire the most, because there’s the extra step in the process. I know you love reading so it’s part of the pleasure of it, but to read through something then put together a review on it, it must take some time and dedication. I remember once I was sent a book to review on my blog (because it was about mental health/wellbeing) and there was more than one occasion where I thought “seriously, how do book bloggers manage this?” 😉 Of all the niches, it’s the most logical to me that you wouldn’t post all the time. You’re busy reading – duh! Haha.

    Also, I’ve definitely picked up a few books since I started blogging based on the opinions of some book bloggers I know and trust. So, your opinion definitely matters and has the potential to influence others! No one should post a positive review, just for the sake of it. It’s important to be honest.

    I always thought the book blogging community was one of the safer ones in terms of drama, so I’m slightly saddened by the fact some of this stuff goes on. I’ve never really understood why people feel the need to comment or stick their nose up about what others do in any case. Just let people do what makes them happy.

    Anyway, I’ve rambled a little, but I just wanted to comment as someone not in the blogging community to say that I value you and I’m sorry if other bloggers don’t.

    1. Aaaah Ruth that’s so sweet!! Thanks so much for reading my post and taking the time to comment!! It’s so nice to hear that bloggers of other niches have some nice thoughts about “us” book bloggers! Anyway, we should totally all support each other, right?? xox

  7. Wow. You’re on fire. I totally agree with you though. I don’t see why people have to say that bloggers’s reviews and opinions are invalid. Lots of book bloggers have degrees in literature, surely they know what they are doing. As for me, I write mostly for myself. I want reading to be a productive hobby. That’s why I also started posting my reviews online. Great post! I’m now following your blog as well.

    1. Aww thanks Lexie!!! Lol yeah, this was really important to me… I’ve been quiet all this time you know and still don’t want to be caught up in the drama, but I needed to say this… I’m glad so many people agree with me – together we can fight the negativity!! xxx

  8. Excellent post. I really needed to read this.
    With all the blogging drama, us bloggers beings accused that we sell ARCs (when I as an international blogger am happy whenever I receive them in the first place), and then one book publicist on Twitter stated that bloggers don’t usually reach large audience but only bookish community, so therefore our promotions and reviews are not that valuable, I came to the point where I asked myself why do I even do this.
    Why put so much of your free time to something that is not even appreciated by people who work in book industry.
    Not to mention that many people from my real life think I just waste time doing this…
    But after some pause I started missing it so here I am, not even 10 days after I took a break, posting again.

    1. Awww Irena, I’m glad you decided to come back!! In the end, we have to stick to this because we love it, and if you still do, you should keep going!! I’m glad you liked my post and can’t wait to read your next one!! xoxo

  9. I’ve seen all the drama… to be honest, I don’t pay it much attention. I do my blog and write my reviews for the same reasons I always have, because I love talking about books, I have fun doing it, and I love being part of the bookish community. Anything else is somewhat irrelevant. I think people invent all kinds of rules, you should do this, you shouldn’t do that – and you’re so right, it just comes down their opinions and everyone just has to do what’s right for them at the end of the day. The whole “bloggers don’t have reach” thing is probably true in most cases, but, collectively, we do. We influence each other, and there’s thousands of us! And that translates outwards, I think. We can help generate buzz, we can help influence opinion, a little at a time. And some bloggers with thousands of followers probably do have the kind of reach these people are talking about anyway. And, if someone doesn’t think so, just don’t use us! Don’t give us ARCs. But a lot of publishers clearly like book bloggers because they keep spreading those ARCs!

    1. You’re so right!! We shouldn’t really pay attention to those drama queens (or kings) but sometimes it gets hard to stay quiet… I’m so glad so many of you guys agree with me, this means we all feel the same way! xxx

  10. I’m like you and don’t care for drama. I can’t stand confrontation but I also can’t stand for it. I’ve seen bits and pieces of the drama within and aimed at the book blogging community, which is honestly full of some of the most genuine, incredible people (like you) and I feel so sad knowing that such things are happening. What is wrong with people? I agree with every point you’ve made here. Who cares what anyone else is doing? Read whatever books you want. Post whenever you want on your blog. People are still valid readers if they read one genre or twelve, if they post once a month or twenty times. Books are supposed to be enjoyed. They’re supposed to be read because we’re passionate about what we love, because we want to tell everyone who will listen what we loved or didn’t love about a book, because we want to start conversations about the things that ignite our passions. I’m honestly disappointed that people still hold the negative views that have been aimed at book bloggers. Your post was so informative and very well put!

    1. Awwww Kelly!!! You’re so sweet, thank you so much!! I’ve met so many amazing people (like you) and it honestly pained me to hear some of the newbies say they feel put off by the negativity they encountered! We’re all so supportive of each other, we should fight against the haters!! Love you lots, thanks for the kind comment!! xxx

  11. Thank you so much for sharing this! I haven’t gotten any negatives about my book blog yet, but I have seen some crazy comments. I believe that as long as you are happy with what you do and you love it than it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. There are people out there who want to destroy someone’s happiness because they are not happy. Tha k you for sharing this post!

    1. Thank you for sharing your comment Odette!! I absolutely agree, let’s keep on doing what we do because we enjoy it so much!! xoxo

  12. This is a brilliant post. Many of the books I’ve added to my TBR or read these days have come from book bloggers and their reviews. It’s a weird way to alienate book readers and therefore decrease sales, so it’s strange, considering marketing tactics, that they should do so. It would be like manufacturing kitchen appliances and then stating that people who read reviews of blenders are online shouldn’t be taken seriously. You just don’t do that, they are your customers and other customers will read their reviews and especially considering that we live in the digital age, people will most likely read those reviews. Similarly, if an author should say that, you lose some customers. Keep your bitterness if you want to make sales lol.

    I do feel nervous knowing that I read and review across several genres, and sometimes I think should I bother reviewing them, and then I remember I have to read and review what I want otherwise I’ll look back with regret.

    I have to disagree with negative reviews especially if the author endorsed violent unjustified actions and I have no qualms criticising the reader. My little cousin sister, who’s 10 now, impressionable as she is, read/watched (the film adaptation) and believed that the violent action was acceptable because the character gets away with it and the author endorsed it, so no. If they (author/fans) are knowingly endorsing violence, I will post a negative review slating said violence and the character and author. People and children can be susceptible and it is up to me, as a citizen and a person of faith, to share my opinion and I wouldn’t consider it a negative action as the violent action IS the negative action, not mine.

    1. Hi Sophia, thanks so much for your comment! I agree!! We do hear back from many people saying that they bought a book because of reviews they’ve read or from authors (especially indie) being grateful for the reviews, so I don’t think it’s for nothing! Also, we love to write them, so win – win!! 🙂 And yeah, you have all the rights to review a book (or film, or whatever) negatively if there is a reason!

  13. Generally most of the book drama just passes me on by on Twitter, which is totally fine by me!!! but it seems like the past couple of months have been full of a lot of negativity, so I am glad to see this post because you are really level headed about it. At the end of the day I tend to just shake my head, block/mute if I need to, and move on. I just wish people would mind their own business, because there is no right or wrong way to do something. It’s shitty for people to be policing the community or gatekeep what kinds of voicing matter here.

    1. You’re so right Kaleena, thanks for your comment!! I wish people would mind their own business too, especially when all they want to achieve with their negative comments is to bring other people down!! Like, WHY??

  14. I think the point that many of those who say negative things about book bloggers miss, is that that there are as many different kinds of readers as there are bloggers, and there exponentially many more readers than bloggers, who appreciate being informed, bloggers have made it easier for publishers to understand niches better and that’s being proved now as people are starting to use technology to try and match bloggers better with presses who are publishing the kind of books they read.

    Being yourself and reading what you feel like, whether it’s for the love of books or for intellectual pursuit or any reason is a great thing to do and share, the universe responds, it’s a little bit of magic and you’ve found it. Looking in from the outside and not understanding it and witnessing the joy and enthusiasm bloggers share, clearly is painful for some, so they sling a bit of dirt. I hope they find the thing that makes their heart sing and share that, or not, but focusing on what makes one feel good is so much better use of one’s time than criticizing people who share their joy.

    Bonne Continuation!

  15. I have bits and pieces of everything on my blog. I am both a writer and a reader and am so sick of the drama from all sides that it sours most things these days. I always say, read what you want to read – write what you want to write! There is a market for everyone and everything. I enjoy reading a variety of book reviews and stop paying attention when they all sound the same.

  16. Oh the drama has been terrible recently but I keep out of it – don’t need it in my life. I figure I’m 41, have a good career and a family so if peolpe need to make issues regarding my blog they can get on with it. It’s my blog and I’ll do what I like – as should everybody else. xx Great post.

  17. Noly this is such a lovely post! Very eloquently spoken and kind, but with concern. To be honest? Since becoming active in the book blogger community, I’ve tiptoed out of Twitter because for whatever reason, the angry voices seem the loudest there. And I miss it sometimes, because when it’s not a fiery ball of hate… there are such COOL people in the Twitterverse. I became aware of the controversy that sparked this post in the loveliest way, though, and it really gave me some hope – I was tagged as an influential blogger in a thread where people who were listing book bloggers who inspired them to pick up books. My heart grew two sizes to see that. 🙂 For myself, I’m trying to focus on those sorts of things – the old adage “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. 🙂

    I hope no drama comes your way personally, and to quote Margaret Atwood: “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum”!

    1. Hi Amber, thank you so much, how very sweet of you!! I can totally understand where you’re coming from, Twitter has been feeling more and more weird lately… I love the positive community though!! And you’re absolutely right, one should totally focus on the good! xox

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