Can’t We All Just Get Along?

So, this blog post will be quite different than most of our blog posts. And I will say that this is coming directly from Denise. And as I write this, I know I will have some people that will let me know, likely with very strong language, that they disagree with me and what I am saying. Then, I am sure there will be many that agree, possibly also with strong language, whole-heartedly with what I am about to address.

As I said, this is a different post, and I am hoping that with it, as you read this, you will open your mind, and possibly think about all this entails.

I have been reading m/m romance for about 18 months, and have had this blog up and running for over a year. I am very involved in my blog, in our presence on Facebook, both on our page, as well as in groups, and Twitter. I am also very good friends, with several authors. I’ve attended two author/reader conventions, and plan to hit Rainbow Con in July. So, although I am “new” to this genre, I think my experience comes from spending lots of time with everything from reviews, to events to beta reading. And although this is a review blog, I think of it as more of a recommendation blog. I really won’t post anything less than 3.5 stars.

On the whole this genre is just so awesome! I love the openness and acceptance, the willingness to help other authors. I love the joy the readers get when they find that special book that they read over and over again. Yes, you may find dissension between readers about this book or that book, but on the whole, most people are so very respectful. The sharing that goes on between authors and readers, both, is fantastic. Whether it is asking for a recommendation on a type of book, to seeing an author post about a new author’s upcoming release, you will see the number 1 best selling authors, pushing someone who has never made it past the top 50. Or you may see a reader mention their love of a book you have never heard of. With all of that, I have such a great respect for so many of the authors and readers that I have literally met, and virtually “met” who are willing to brave writing and reading what is basically a sub-genre of books. However, as always there are outliers, people that feel the need to rain on someone’s parade. That is where this blog post comes in.

Recently, I found out about a situation that in my eyes is unacceptable, and appalling. A book came out recently, and hit the top of the Amazon charts.  The reviews started coming in, and most were 5 star reviews, as would be expected by this popular author. However, out of those reviews, there was a couple that were not, a 2 and a 3 star, as you will see. In those reviews, the reviewer was honest and gave their opinions. And as you can see did not bash the author, merely said that they did not like some of the book, and gave their honest feedback. I loved that even though those reviewers clearly received an ARC, they gave their own feedback as to why the book did not work for them. (And let’s face it, a 3 star review is not bad! It’s not great, but it’s not bad.)

Then, and this is where I get really upset at this situation. Other people, and because I have no idea of their names, I will for lack of a better word call them “commenters”, responded to those reviews with scathing comments. These comments were bad enough that the reviewer felt the need to have to respond to those comments defending themselves and their position. The original comments made to the review have since been deleted by Amazon, likely because they were no appropriate at all.

One of the comments to the 2 star review by LC told him/her to “get a life”. While a comment to the 3 star said the reviewer gives “every book a bad review” and to “go find a different hobby”.

I am attaching print screens of these two reviews and the follow up comments.

 This is the 2 star review.
This is the 3 star review.

This is ridiculous! Why would someone attack these people? Again, I will call these commenters, however, I feel that it must be noted that some of the people that are fans of this particular author are, rather avid, to say the least. And I totally get that! I am a HUGE fan of certain authors. I speak to several of them on a daily basis, have beta read for them. But I will not degrade them or myself by attacking innocent people for having an opinion that does not agree with my own personal opinion.

In the past, I have seen some of these same commenters do similar things, degrading another author’s book to “honor” (that is the only word I could come up with for that kind of blind devotion) that author’s choice to denounce the other author’s book publicly.

Seriously people! Let’s get a grip here! These are romance novels!!! They are supposed to make you happy, they are supposed to make everyone happy!!! You should read one, and then want to spread that happiness elsewhere when you have gotten to your HEA. Treating other people, whether it is a reviewer giving their honest opinion or an author writing what was THEIR book to write, like they are in the wrong is not only selfish, but very self-serving, and all I can think of is what lemmings do. Do those people want to be a lemming? Because nothing good comes from being a lemming.

It’s okay to have an opposing opinion. And it’s okay for someone to express that opinion. What is not okay is people being treated like absolute shit for giving those opinions. Commenting on a review by giving negative, horrible comments is childish and they should be ashamed of themselves.

Not everyone is going to like every book, and that is okay too. I have read books that I have said “nope, won’t read that again” and sometimes I will leave a constructive review for the author. Other times, I have chosen not to leave a review at all, subscribing to the “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” theory. You can expect that a book you absolutely loved, will be absolutely hated by another person. Since we all have different tastes, that is fair.

Think of it this way. I cannot stand coffee. It has put me at odds with friends who don’t understand how I go through my life without it. And yet, I do, and I am fine with that. My friends may question me on how this could be, but they do not denigrate my choices. They respect those choices.

In the end, if you choose to disagree with someone, use that respect my friends have given me for not liking coffee. It may not be your choice, and you may say “how can you not like coffee?”, but there is no need to tell me that I need to “get a life”. Instead, why don’t you offer to buy me a cup of hot chocolate instead?

I’m all about positivity, so let’s all remember that this genre has enough going against it with so many people thinking it is not a viable genre, and friends or family asking “how can you read that trash”. Why can’t we just take the time to appreciate and love everyone’s choices and differences? After all, isn’t that really what this genre is REALLY about?

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  1. Well said my friend!

  2. I totally agree with this, sites that allow reviews are public forums, which you are entitled to give your honest opinion, to have someone berate a person for their opinion is wrong, I choose not to review a book if it is below a 4 star for me, but that is just me, everyone should be able to give their opinion of a book! I also agree that this Genre is the best, and the authors are the greatest, well said Denise 🙂

  3. I totally agree. My tastes are different than yours and different than some of my friends. I understand being friends with the author but I don't think they would want you to berate someone for their tastes. Opposing reviews are sometimes why I and others pick up a book.