Armchair BEA 2012 – Day 5 – Ask the Experts

Today is day 5 at Book Expo America, and I’m still participating virtually via Armchair BEA (fancy that).  Today’s topic is one that I’m really excited about, because I’ve discovered that the world of book blogging is considerably more vast than I had realized and that there is so much I don’t know.  “In your post, ask the visitors to your blog for blogging advice. What did you always want to know about blogging but were afraid to ask? Now is the time!”

I’ve narrowed it down to a few questions:

1.  How big a deal is it, really, if I read a book that’s terrible, and I write about how terrible it is?  There seems to be a sense of nervousness within the community about how honest one can really be, and the difference between honest and offensive seems uncertain.  So what I want to know is how much tiptoeing around the truth is really necessary in order not to be grossly offensive?  What’s the etiquette here?

2.  What does SQUEE mean?

3.  How do you find the time not only to read books but also to post reviews of those books on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. in addition to your own blog?  Are there any time-saving methods you can recommend?

I’ve had an absolute blast visiting blogs and learning about this thriving community over the past week.  Many thanks to the coordinators of this virtual event and to everyone who has visited my blog in the past week and left kind and helpful comments.


15 thoughts on “Armchair BEA 2012 – Day 5 – Ask the Experts

  1. 1. Of course you can say it was horrible! I think as long as you aren’t flinging insults around, then it’s ok.

    2. squee is a term of excitement! 🙂 As in, ” I just got my hands on a book I’ve been waiting to read for over a year! Squee!!!”

    3. I do reviews on my blog, and then copy and paste them into goodreads. I don’t write a new review each time or anything. Finding the time to review at all has been hard though.

    • Thanks for the answers! I was a bit confused about “squee” because I’ve seen it in two contexts: an exclamation that denotes some sort of delighted excitement (this seems to be the most common usage) and a noun denoting (pejoratively, I might add) a person who uses the term “squee” and/or is delightedly excited about something. I’m hoping that last usage is uncommon… it seemed a bit mean to me. 🙂 Cheers–

  2. Great questions!! I’m personally tentative to write a “bad” review because I’m intending to publish work myself (hopefully!) and I know how hard it would be to see a review that slammed my work. What I do support are reviews that say “this didn’t work for me” or “I expected x and was disappointed because …” What turns me off are the increasingly hyper mean Goodreads reviews with animated gifs (images) you know, clips from a tv show of someone making an ugly face, and a really dramatic review about how the book was so atrocious it questioned the reviewers desire to live, etc. That’s just rude. It’s like gossip – fun to dish but not so much when you consider the writer’s feelings.

    If I cross post my blog review to goodreads I copy+paste it but I may change a bit of the wording or shorten it from the blog. I try to keep all my reviews to only a few paragraphs.


    • I can’t imagine what compels folks to bash/trash a book or author… even if it doesn’t turn out very well, someone put a lot of love into it. I don’t think it’s right to gloss over a book’s flaws and pretend that it was great (if it wasn’t), but one can mention them without being catty, right? Good luck on the writing! Are you getting close?

  3. Here’s the deal about “negative” reviews – the reason so many book bloggers get all nervous about them is because so many book bloggers are reviewing ARC’s and know that the author and publisher are likely to read it and they’re worried that if they say anything deemed too harsh then they won’t get anymore free books.

    Personally, I’m all about reviewing a book you didn’t like. Share why! If a book frustrated you, vent! If you’re censoring yourself, you’re probably not being completely honest, and with me honesty is best.

    Happy ABEA!

    • You make a great point about honesty here… besides, I sometimes go out of my way to read books that other folks have disliked because the review mentioned some quirk that they can’t stand but that I really dig. Reading is all a matter of taste, right? Thanks for the reassuring words! Cheers–

  4. With negative reviews, I think as long as you’re honest about your feelings and can back them up (not just ranting about how trashy the book was or something, but actually stating why it didn’t fit with you), you’re totally fine with a negative review. I have yet to meet an author or publisher who doesn’t appreciate honesty. Sure, they may not *like* the review, but if it’s not disrespectful or bashing, they’re generally okay with it.

    I’ve had the ‘I won’t get ARCs anymore’ feelings before (mentioned above). I found out that it’s actually not true. I had a publisher once mention a negative review I’d written as a reason that I *got* the ARC in question. They felt like I’d been respectful, hadn’t trashed the book or the author, and was completely honest. They said that even if it was negative feedback, it was still helpful and they appreciated the way I handled it. I think it depends totally on the publisher.

    As far as reviews being posted, I usually only post to my blog and Goodreads. I have things set up so that Twitter & Facebook get links posted automatically. If I remember, I’ll post other places, but I don’t stress about those.

    Great questions!


  5. On writing negative reviews, as long as you write it down good I think it’s ok. I always take a few days after reading a book before writing a review so as to not be “emotional” when writing. I try to point out redeeming things as well that others might appreciate despite its flaws. I know of books I really didn’t like but others enjoyed.

    Dropping by from Armchair BEA,

    -Len of Musings of a Reader Happy

    • Thanks for the comment (and suggestion)! That’s the blogger’s version of counting to ten before responding, right? Isn’t it funny how reasonable we seem to ourselves when in the heat of an emotional response and how crazy and irrational we seem to ourselves once we’ve calmed down some? Anyway, I’ll definitely be taking this advice. Thanks!

  6. I’m a relatively new blogger, but one thing i would suggest is using the “Drafts” feature. I recently started using it and it really helps because you can add notes or reminders and really work on a post over the course of a few days rather than just hammering it out in 30 minutes.

    • YES, that drafts feature really comes in handy. I also enjoy the future publish feature, but I learned that you’ve got to be careful about it. I totally freaked my mom out by setting up a strange little thought fragment about confrontation to post while I was on vacation, prompting her to worry that I was having a terrible time. Whoops…

      • Awww haha. I haven’t used the future post yet, though I have seen that some people’s posts tend to post earlier than scheduled.

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