All writers derive pleasure from their work being read, appreciated and shared. Once published – whether on line or as hard copy – work goes out into the world where it is at the mercy of readers. Responses can be difficult to predict.
As a blogger I can check my stats to see how many people read, like and share my posts. With book reviews this is a long game. Search engines send traffic to my site long after a book’s publication.
I have noticed that some book bloggers complain if their work receives no feedback, especially if neither author nor publisher acknowledges or shares on social media. Whilst I readily admit to the warm, fuzzy feeling such a response generates, I do not consider it either a requirement or a given. When met by on line silence, despite tagging if the post is positive, I do sometimes wonder if my review has not been well received. Have my words not been read as intended? Has the post not been noticed amidst the noise of other activity? Was there better quality content to share on that day?
This got me thinking about why I share other’s writing.
Mostly it is because I happen to spot the piece on my feed, have time to read it and then want to share. This process can be more luck than judgement but the ‘want to share’ aspect is, perhaps, more reasoned.
A pithy or witty review can be a joy to read, whether positive or negative. I have shared reviews of books because I am impressed by the reviewer’s skill.
Certain reviews are better written than others (content, structure, grammar, punctuation). I have chosen not to share Guardian reviews of books I have enjoyed because the review is bland, lacking insight, or contains spoilers – a basic error.
I tend to avoid reviews written for blog tours as so much content created for one title can quickly become repetitive. I prefer social media where content is varied. I may wish to draw attention to the book at another time – a reminder that it still exists.
Everyone is entitled to run their social media accounts as they choose. Nobody is required to share any content – and that includes authors, publishers and publicists.
Reviews say as much about the reviewer as the book and most reviewers acquire a particular style over time. I sometimes share other’s review of a book I have read because the reaction is so different to mine.
Sometimes I spot a review for a book I loved and will share simply to draw attention to the fact that another reader loved it too.
Reading for pleasure does not require the literary deconstruction taught at educational establishments. Being informative in a review may be more broadly useful than admiration from the literati.
At events authors often comment that readers bring to the fore elements of their book that even the author hadn’t been aware of. If a reader doesn’t ‘get’ a book it may simply mean that an element important to the author didn’t resonate with that particular reader. This need not be regarded as a fault of either party.
Following on from this, I am conflicted when authors complain about bad reviews – not the plainly ridiculous such as:
“1* Didn’t receive my copy, may not have ordered it”
I understand the hurt felt when something that has taken a great deal of time and effort to create is dismissed with what appears lack of basic understanding. Even so, no book is going to be liked by everyone and a review remains a personal opinion.
I should point out that I am always grateful when my posts are liked and shared. There are individuals who I regard fondly as they are particularly supportive of the book blogging community.
I suspect all writers experience moments of doubt when they wonder if the time they devote to creating their words is worthwhile. If writers, and that includes book bloggers, wrote for the plaudits many would not persist.