Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This Is A Hiatus

A good preface to this post (only if you're wanting more information and points of view) is a Twitter #querychat where I asked about aspiring authors posting book reviews online, and also this post.

I keep setting out to write this post as if I know what I'm going to say. I think I'm hoping that if I just start typing the answer will flow out of my fingertips without me actually having to give it any thought.

It doesn't work like that though, does it? And the thing is, I have been thinking about it. Almost nonstop for the past thirty or so hours and a handful of times before that. I've talked to those that I trust, made a pros vs. cons list, tried to go with my gut when all of that failed.

I've thought of the things I do want. An agent, an editor, a book deal. A writing career. Readers. I want to be a writer. I also want to be a reader though. I want to talk about the books I've read, have open discussions with fellow readers, write reviews. Run this blog. Mostly though, again, I want to be a writer.

And then I though of the things I don't want. For someone to look at my reviews, my opinions, and decide they don't want to work with me based on that. To sabotage the possibility of a future writing career by talking honestly and sometimes critically about the books I've read. I don't want to be the stubborn, stupid girl who doesn't listen and pays the price for it later on. I don't want to hurt the feelings of writers - people working at the very thing I hope to work at one day.

And I wonder if - with all the things I want and all the things I don't want - I can keep going with this blog. If I can continue to thoughtfully and critically review the books I read knowing that this might impact my professional life somewhere down the line.

I don't know. That's the answer I keep swinging back around to: I. Don't. Know. Because while it does seem silly to stop something I love so much (namely, reviewing YA books) for something that realistically may never happen (me having a writing career), it also seems foolish to keep going if it's going to negatively affect the writing career that I want so badly to have.

I just don't know. I'm trying to figure it out, weigh my options, make a decision. That decision may be to stop reviewing. It might be just to stop using a numbered rating system or only review books I know I can wholeheartedly recommend. It might be to take the blog down or take it in a different direction altogether.

I really don't know. For now - the next couple days or weeks - the blog is on hiatus.


  1. Here's my thoughts on this...Yes, I'm agented, but I'm facing it also from an editor standpoint It's hard for me to believe that if a book is that good, an agent or an editor will pass it up just bc of a 3 Star or 2 Star Review on a blog. I've seen many pubbed authors on Goodreads give low ratings to other books; I've seen negative reviews of books on major group YA writing blogs...

    I dunno....

    But I'm like you. ALthough most of my life, I've been a goody two shoes, never rebelled, always done what was asked of me, there's just something about this "big brother" mentality of squelching free speech that really bothers me.

    I've seen agents and editors talk negatively and blog negatively, so why should writers be held to a different creed?

    I, myself, haven't done a lot of blog reviews of books, but I did read 105 pubbed books this year and kept that list on Goodreads. Now should I feel like going back and deleting some of my ratings and reviews? It's disheartening.

  2. It makes me sad that that a wonderful blog such as yours would get in the way of your writing career, but I am not in that world so have no advice for you (sorry!). Know that we will miss your reviews and posts, but understand that you need to do what is the best for you. Good luck!

  3. Hi there. I wanted to weigh my two cents too. I run a YA book blog. www.ericahenry.com. I love it. I love writing my opinions and getting new books. I love that I have helped someone choose a book and they love it. I can't see me stopping. When I do have a book on the shelves on day, I will probably stop reviewing in my genre, but that is yet to be determined. I tend to only blog about books that I would recommend. The reason is because of the same ones that you are thinking about taking yours down. I don't want to offend anyone and burn bridges down the road. Not only that but reading is so subjective. I might really not like a book, but someone else might love it.

    I plan to continue my site, because if I put up a review it is normally to recommend the book. Might not love it and want to read it over and over, but if I liked it and enjoyed it, I'll post about it. I don't gush about a book, unless that is how I honestly feel.

    I don't think that average reviews of someone's work will hurt my chances of getting published. I might just be naive but that is my opinion.

    Point is, you can still run your site even if you just pick and choose what books to post about.

  4. I guess I don't really understand this- why would they not want to publish you because you have written articulate thoughts on other books? I think my reviews are honest and clearly written, and if someday I become a published writer, which is highly unlikely and not something I am concerned about at the moment since I just enjoy writing for the sake of writing, then I will still be proud of sharing my honest opinions of the books I read. I sometimes get annoyed by positive only blogs because it doesn't seem like you can really get what kind of reader they are. That said, I do not think a rating system is at all necessary to writing a good review. Also I have seen authors publish book reviews in newspapers like the New York Times so I don't really quite grasp the problem here I suppose. But at the same time you should obviously do what you think is best, I'd just hate to have to give up book blogging because I really love it. I mean you can always just blog under a pseudonym if you're worried about it can't you?

  5. After reading the post you linked to I certainly have a better understanding of why you are conflicted over having a review blog. I just enjoy reviewing so much I think in that case the best option would be a pseudonym maybe so you can still be open and honest with your thoughts. I still think the whole thing is a bit unfortunate, none of my reviews are personal attacks but rather literary analysis of what worked and didn't work for me as a reader, and often I recommend books for particular readers even if they weren't my cup of tea. It is the kind of review I would be happy to read if I was an author myself.

  6. I went to a conference where we were advised not to reveal too much about ourselves and to refrain from being snarky and unprofessional online....

    I haven't found your blog to have those qualities.

    I do hope you continue with this blog. Writers are readers, so if we blog books do come into play.

  7. Ack! I just wrote this huge long thing and then my internet stopped working momentarily, and there it goes!
    But the gist of what I wrote was that your blog is a way to get readers interested in what you will write, because it gives them an idea of how you write, what you think is good, and so on. Also, publishers always want authors to quote opinions on new books. It could be that your blog will make them think, 'hmm, let's give her THESE galleys instead of those because she'll probably like them better and will give them better quotes.' Or, they may not do anything at all. I'm not in that business, so er.
    BUT I do like your writing, and look forward to any potential books you write. :)

  8. I just found your blog over at Grab a Pen!! It's nice to meet you, even if you're having a little trouble with the positives and negatives of wriitng!!

    I hope you don't stay on hiatus for long! I loved this original and heart felt post about all us writer's go through at one point in our lives. A writers world is a messy place, we don't want to be judged, we look only to be loved. However the creative world doesn't allow for that.

    I'm working with a publisher right now who loves my stuff. That doesn't mean any other publisher would, or that people would. I'm just hoping they do.

    So far I'm loving your blog and hope to see more!!