Over the four years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve seen a lot of posts going up about the drama in the book blogging world. About people being attacked for their viewpoints, stalked for their negative reviews, outraged over others’ bad behaviors at book conferences … it seems that there is no short supply of negativity on the internet. But still, each and every time I see a post about how painful and draining the book community can be I think, “Really?” Because that just hasn’t been my experience. I’ve found the book blogging community to be a friendly and welcoming place.
I tried to figure out why. Do I just stay away from controversial topics on my blog? I don’t think so. I’ve posted about many topics that have brought about debate in the community:
- The Irresistible Pull of ARCs
- Number of Followers and Following Back (though some of my thoughts and habits have changed since I wrote it)
- Authors that Complain (and why I eventually gave up on that complaining author)
- The Fine Line Between Inspired By and Copycat
- And a post entitled I Wasn’t Stressed About Blogging Until I Found Out I Was Doing it Wrong.
And I’ve written about some even more controversial topics:
- Reading and Writing Diversity (a HUGE hot-button right now)
- Faith in Blogging
- Is it Ever Okay to Judge?
- And my personal views on Cheating in books
So, if it’s not that I’m staying completely away from controversial subjects, could it be that I’m just too disconnected from the book blogging community as a whole to fully experience the negativity? Sometimes I think that might be partially true. I have my own little niche here at FYFA—I didn’t purposely carve it out, but I tend to interact most with the bloggers from the Book Blog Discussion Challenge because I know those bloggers best (it’s the nature of the challenge and why I really love it!). I’m on Twitter, but I don’t live there like some people seem to. I treat it more like visiting a semi-distant relative—I go in, I say hello, have some surface conversations and then leave with a polite goodbye. Occasionally I see a dramatic thread and I even sometimes comment on it, but it’s usually just to agree with someone whose viewpoint matches my own. I almost never express disapproval on Twitter and I’m always very careful of the way I phrase things.
And, honestly, I think that’s where the difference comes in. I tend to be a rose-colored glasses sort of person, and this extends to the book blogging community. I honestly feel like I see the good in people and situations much more quickly than I see the bad, and I tend to assign good intentions to people—probably sometimes even naively so. I can read a negative comment and think, “Hmmm… well, I can see where this person is coming from. I’m glad they made me think about that.”
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not thrilled when people are just plain rude (which definitely happens), but when I see this somewhere I just choose not to engage. And then I forget about it. It doesn’t leave a lasting bad taste on my tongue. I don’t have overarching negative feelings about the book blogging community as a whole because of it. I just think, “Well, that person’s a jerk,” and I move on.
Of course, it’s much easier to do this when I’m not directly affected. I can pop in or out of a conversation at will and ignore a thread that gets too nasty. I can even read said thread, think about it for a few minutes and then walk away. That’s a whole lot harder to do when someone’s attacking you or someone you’re close to.
Still, if you’re feeling a lot of negativity in the book blogging community, I’d say the best thing you can do is not engage in those sorts of discussions with strangers. I’m not saying don’t have opinions—or even don’t express them. But I will say that your blog is a much safer place to share your opinions than social media. And when you do post controversial opinions on your blog, try to have an open mind and phrase things in a non-confrontational tone (as much as you can). And also try to remember when you have a negative experience that the encounter doesn’t define the book blogging community as a whole. I’d say that our little world is, in general, a pretty positive and uplifting place. Are there a few bad apples? Sure. Don’t let them ruin it for you.
(In fact, if you’re looking for a group of friendly bloggers, go check out the Discussion Challenge link-up. I guarantee there isn’t a bad apple in the bunch!)
Have you had any negative experiences within the book blogging community? Has it shaped your opinion of the community as a whole? How did you get past that? I want to know!
I’ve had a really good experience in the bookish community as well! I started off just having my blog and now I have a Tumblr blog and I tweet about books via Twitter. I watch booktubers and have my own instagram account dedicated to books. I’ve been able to interact with many different people who share a passion for books with me and have never had any problems, but I get what you’re saying…maybe it’s also a matter of your own attitude towards that. Some people are more prone to drama, and some don’t even notice it because it doesn’t concern them.
I’m glad you’ve felt so welcome in this community!
Yes. I mean, I’m certainly not trying to say that anyone who’s frustrated with some of the situations that have been cropping up are wrong—obviously, there have been some bad experiences, and who am I to say anyone’s feelings about them are invalid? I’m just always surprised when I see a post about the “negativity of the book blogging community” or something else that implies that the book blogging community as a whole is unfriendly or full of controversy, because I just don’t see that except in a few very isolated incidents.
I haven’t personally had a bad experience, but I’m kind of like you. I see more good than bad, and I’m not going to let a few people ruin the experience for me and I know that the majority of book bloggers – and bloggers in general – are good people. They are doing this because they love it, even if we don’t always have the same opinion on things. I tend to not read a lot of the negative stuff – not that I even notice it most of the time, but I like to keep most of my opinions to myself because people really can take a thought and twist it or get mad just because you disagree. That’s everyone though. I do think social media makes things a bit “worse” though. People post without thinking sometimes and that’s a slippery slope.
Yeah, I think it’s just so much easier to be misunderstood on social media. With only 140 characters, there isn’t a lot of room for things like disclaimers (I’m the queen of those!).
I have not come across a bad experience in the book blogging community. I have come across several ‘reviews’, mostly on Amazon, where it was obvious the ‘reviewer’ was more interested in trashing the author than giving an honest opinion about that particular effort. One time, the person claimed that the series title was the ‘publisher’, that the author had misled people by not stating the book was independently published, and admitted that s/he had not even read the book!
And I kind of take back something I said at the beginning of the first paragraph there. There was a virtual tour organizer (whom I respect) who was trolled by someone saying all sorts of just plain nasty things, so much so that she was questioning whether or not she should continue running tours. The people who really knew her rushed to assure her that she was fabulous (she was and is). I even reached out to a couple of authors I had worked with on her tours and asked if they thought they would be able to send her an email of encouragement, on account of this troll. They both agreed.
I’ve definitely seen some nastiness with reviews, that’s true. It really frustrates me when people review books they haven’t read. It doesn’t make any sense to me at all! And I’m sorry about the ordeal that the tour organizer went through, but I’m glad that many bloggers rallied around her so that the experience didn’t turn her off to doing tours completely.
I have never had a bad experience, though I’ve heard of some nasty things going on. I just don’t seem to visit those blogs or encounter those people on Twitter. I know I only deal with a small fraction of the book bloggers out there, but what I have experienced is AMAZINGLY positive and supportive, and I think it must far outweigh the darkness.
I’ve definitely seen some nasty threads on Twitter, but I tend to avoid them. It’s just safer that way.
I think I’m a bit under the rose-colored glasses myself. For the most part I haven’t seen a lot of the drama. Although I’ve dealt with people selling ARCs that they got extras of at BEA. I’ve had times that I felt like I wasn’t part of a “clique” of bloggers because when I tried to talk to someone on Twitter, etc., I’ve been kind of ignored. But for the most part, the bloggers I’ve actually had the chance to meet in person and most of the ones I talk to online even, well they’ve all been pretty nice! Great post, especially in this time when so many people are upset and fighting about things.
The people selling ARCs bothered me too—I remember being frustrated about it, and I think I even posted something about it on Twitter—but the fact that it blew up into something HUGE and that bloggers in general started to get a bad reputation because of it just goes to show how social media can make a situation worse. I find it’s better to stay away from the big debates on Twitter or to read them with a sense of detachment if at all possible.
I was seeing a lot of negativity on Twitter, so I stepped away from that. I pretty much stick to the blogs I follow and Instagram.
Sometimes that’s the best thing you can do. Just remove yourself from the situation.
I’ve had a hard time with Facebook and Twitter recently. They’ve been extremely nasty for the past year or so. I actually deleted them off my phone so I wouldn’t be tempted to engage in anything negative!
As for bloggers, I’ve only found a few that have been really negative and I just unfollowed them. Most bloggers seem very warm and welcoming. I’ve had really great experiences with the majority of bloggers and authors. I haven’t experienced any major drama.
Now I will say that the political climate has lent itself to more frustrations on Twitter and Facebook, and I wasn’t 100% successful in ignoring all of that. (I actually really stressed myself out about it for a long time—but it kind of felt big enough that I felt a little more justified in getting worked up.) I can definitely see why you might want to just get rid of Twitter and FB completely (or at least make it harder to access) just to get rid of the temptation to engage!
I thought from the title that this post was going to be about how the book blogging community has bad things in it and that anyone who doesn’t notice the bad things is just seeing through rose colored glasses, and I was all, “Well then I guess I’m one of those people seeing it through rose colored glasses,” but then your post turned out to be about how you haven’t had any negative experiences lol. I completely agree though! I’m just like you in that I haven’t had any negative experiences yet, but I also tend to just avoid and brush off drama. I don’t engage people on social media when I disagree because I don’t feel the need to get into arguments over the internet. (If someone comments on my blog with a disagreement about some topic and we have a respectful conversation, obviously that’s a different story entirely.) But honestly, I never even know what drama people are even talking about most of the time? But that’s always how I’ve been. Even in high school where there’s always drama galore lol I just stayed away from it.
Oh, funny—I didn’t even think about that take on the title, but I can totally see how you might have thought that. Hmmm …. maybe I should have called it “I Like Seeing the Blogging World Through Rose-Colored Glasses” or something. LOL!
I really loved this post Nicole! I’ve seen a lot of heat in the bookish community lately, especially on twitter and I’ve seen a lot of people afraid of voicing their opinion because they’re afraid of being attacked. Which is reasonable considering all the arguments that happened lately. But just like you, I never personally engage in those discussion! I’m a very opinionated person in real life and if it’s a real life argument, I’ll happily engage. But if it’s on twitter… not so much. 140 characters aren’t enough and even if you make a thread, people are so quick to response and that leaves a lot of room for misunderstanding.
I agree that voicing opinion on the blog is so much better for many reasons. You have the chance to *really* explain your point without being interrupted, without being limited by 140 characters. You could also re-read your post and make sure you get all your points across and not come off as offensive. Sometimes I do respond or make my own thread on twitter but I do that after careful consideration, not just a spur of the moment decision to tweet 🙂
I think Twitter can be a scary place if you spend too much time there. It’s so easy to get caught up in a negative thread and stew in it, but I think we can generate a lot of misunderstandings that way. The fact is that expressing ourselves online (without the help of body language and tone of voice) is hard enough—doing it in 140 characters is nearly impossible!
I haven’t had many bad experiences. The people who comment on my blog are usually upbeat, open-minded, and don’t take themselves too seriously. Life is fairly awesome over there.
I do see a lot of drama and negativity on Twitter. I stay out of most Twitter conversations. It’s hard to express yourself well in 140 characters, and things can blow up in seconds over there. Internet culture might be part of the problem. People seem to have the idea that “if you don’t agree with me 100%, then you’re my enemy.” Then relentless trolling and dogpiling occurs. That’s always seemed silly to me. When has arguing on the internet ever changed someone’s opinion? It just makes everyone louder and angrier. I roll my eyes and stay away from it.
You’re so right about not being able to change people’s opinions on the internet—at least not in 140 characters! I have read well-thought-out discussions that made me rethink things, but never a tweet!
I agree that the side of the book blogging community I see is very nice and I think you may be right. A lot of the drama and controversy which seems to happen with the community seems to happen on Twitter and social media in general. I know people have had bad experiences on Goodreads and with plagiarism, but the main point of contention is social media and twitter. Maybe it’s because you have a limited amount of space to voice your opinions anyway and it’s so easy to tweet things out that it’s easy to be misinterpreted. I don’t know, but it’s one of the reasons why I stick with interacting with those I know and in twitter chats occasionally but will often not speak to someone I don’t know. I prefer to interact on people’s blogs and on mine simply because it means I can say all the words I want to and I am forced to spend a bit more time thinking about what I want to say as I have to form full sentences.
I think Twitter and social media in general (in ALL communities, whether they have to do with books or not) can get nasty, and I agree that it’s probably because of the short format. And the anonymity. People will say things online they’d never say to someone in person!
I just posted a discussion last week about a negative comment I received on one of my posts. Other than that…hmm…I remember when I first started blogging, an author got really mad about a bad review I gave his book. He even had a friend come on and “yell” at me about it.
I find that the book blogging community is generally positive though. People are typically kind and understanding of differing opinions in this community, I think!
That’s right—I remember reading your post! I do think that it sounds like you had a strangely negative experience, BUT I don’t think you generalized it to the blogging community as a whole. You recognized that the commenter was one “bad apple,” put the question out there about how others would have handled it (which, I think you handled it perfectly) and talked about it in a constructive way on your blog. It doesn’t seem like you feel that one rude commenter is representative of bloggers in general. Same goes with that one bad author experience. Unfortunately, there will always be unpleasant people in this world—in every arena—the best we can do is ignore them! 🙂
I probably hear more about these dust-ups because I come from the author side of things. When people are behaving badly (authors, readers, or bloggers) the news tends to move swiftly through my circles. Some times, I’m lucky enough to avoid it by being in the writing cave, but other times not so much. This is why I stick with my small blog circle and don’t venture out much further. I also don’t engage on Twitter, like ever, and keep my Facebook friends to people I know. It’s easier that way!
Sometimes your writing cave is the safest place to be. I’m not naive enough to think that bad situations don’t ever occur, but I try to keep a positive outlook on the blogger/author community as a whole!
Thanks for this! I just started a blog about a year ago and I am still learning…a lot! I am not looking to get rich mostly just free books. 🙂 I appreciate your candidness and advice.
Glad the post could help you! New bloggers are in the most danger of getting scared away because you might see people talking about the negative stuff and not have enough experience with the positive to know that it’s really not all bad! In fact, in my four years of blogging, I don’t think I’ve had a single truly negative comment. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen—but you should know that the good far outweighs the bad.
I’ve never had a negative comment but I only have six followers! 🙂 I’m glad you haven’t had in really bad experiences. Thanks again
Make that seven! 🙂 Well, at least you have six (now seven) nice followers. 😉
You might want to add a Bloglovin’ widget to your blog. Lots of people follow more closely via Bloglovin’.
I will look into that…thanks for the advice!
You’re very welcome!
What a great post, Nicole. I feel so similarly to you. I sometimes see mentions of “book blogger drama” on Twitter or “the recent drama concerning *fill in the blank*” and, to be honest, I never see it. I guess I don’t follow the “right” people (although in my mind, if they’re surrounded by drama maybe they’re the “wrong” people!) or, granted, I’m not on social media as much as many others. All of which is just fine with me. I only started my blog 2 years ago and from the start I managed to find such friendly people to interact with. Whether it was GoodReads, other bloggers, Instagram, etc, I just found it to be a friendly, welcoming community of other readers and book lovers. When I hear of whatever the latest drama is I never try to look into it or figure out what it is or even ask questions. That’s not why I’m here and I really want no part of it. I’ll stick with my happy little group of nice and friendly people, thank you very much. 🙂
You make a good point—it can be tempting to investigate when you hear about some drama or other. I have to confess that I have read a thread or two to find out what all the fuss is about, but for the most part I just try to stay out of it.
I totally get what you mean with this! My blogging experience has been great so far, and pretty much everyone has been friendly. The worst I’ve had is a couple of slightly snide comments (and maybe I’ve just been too sensitive?) and one weird, rambling comment. That’s why I’m always confused when I see posts about ‘the latest book blogging drama’ and I feel totally out of the loop because I didn’t even know about it!
I definitely feel like I’m slightly removed though to an extent, as I’m not on Twitter that much either which is where everything seems to happen!
Yeah, sometimes I feel like I should join in on Twitter more, but then I see the drama and I think maybe I’m just fine the way I am.
I wear kinda the same glasses as you. 🙂 Which is why my blogging buddies gave me my Goodreads nickname. I can find something positive in almost everything out there, and I love to stay in my happy bubble lol. So I personally haven’t had to deal with any negativity, thank goodness. But in the past two weeks we have had a few people come on our blog and write horrible things about one of my co-bloggers. It was on a post where she gave a book a 1 Star Review. She didn’t attack the author, she just wrote out why she didn’t like the book. But those few people called her some horrible names, and that was all they wrote. I was shocked. It’s the first time I have ever deleted comments, because they weren’t constructive and it was just mean name calling. Me being me googled the author and I found a lot of people talking about how this author’s fan base goes and attacks people who write 1 Star Reviews of their book. SO shocking! So crazy! But anywho….sorry got sidetracked there lol….so I’m definitely with you on the rose-colored glasses. And cheers to both of us keeping them on!
That’s so sad! I think that you did the right thing by just deleting those comments. There’s a difference between constructive debate and just flat-out name-calling. Ugh!
I guess I am also wearing those rose colored glasses, either that or I’m just oblivious. I maybe a little new to this, but I haven’t really seen this negativity in the book blogging world. Why can’t we all just be friends.
Ha! Yes, sometimes I think that oblivious might be a better word for me. 🙂
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This is really interesting. I don’t know if there’s maybe a kind of… not a divide, exactly, between US and UK bloggers, but from what I’ve seen and heard, most of the negativity seems to be on the US side of things? Perhaps that’s wrong and I just simply don’t see it among the UK bloggers. But I don’t see much of it anyway. I end up hearing about things after the fact – or I don’t hear about them at all, just that there has been, but I never really know what it’s about. So I guess I’m like you, I just don’t feel disheartened about the community. I’ve never been trolled, and it’s been years since I had nasty comments on my blog. I just don’t see it, I’m absent for it all, it seems.
Interesting theory—I haven’t noticed a specific difference between US and UK bloggers, but most of the issues I’ve heard about have been on Twitter, and I haven’t really paid attention to where the people were located. It would be interesting to look at this.
I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced any real negativity blogging. I also don’t spend terribly much time on twitter, which is where I think most of the drama happens? The closest thing to a negative experience I think I’ve had was really when someone commented on a TTT post where I listed a bunch of characters I just didn’t really like, and someone told me that if I didn’t like those characters I should just not read fantasy because they were representative of the genre (I read a LOT of fantasy; and just because one or two characters are somewhat iconic in a certain subset of fans, that does not make them representative of the WHOLE genre). I was moderately offended, but I just didn’t respond instead of escalating it.
Sounds like you did a good job avoiding drama—see, I think some people might have gotten that comment, been really offended and then decided to “fight” for their right to read fantasy and like or dislike a particular character. Instead, you saw the comment for what it was—a random person being mildly ignorant and only worthy of being ignored. 🙂
I haven’t directly been affected by negativity in the blogging community, but I have seen a few once in a while. And this is when bloggers, bookstagrammers, youtubers, etc just misbehave. In a few cases, I have ignored them and, like you, did not engage. The worst case is me unfollowing them. I see this usually with more popular personalities in the community.
Other than that, everything has been absolutely fine. I have “met” a few awesome people that I interact with regularly. 🙂
I think some people thrive on drama, to be honest. I just … don’t. Glad you’ve had mostly great experiences!
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I’m not really book blogger since I post other things besides books, so I haven’t seen the negativity. I do think it’s horrible if it’s happening out there.
I think you can avoid it if you try, but you can definitely get sucked in—especially if you engage in Twitter arguments.