Beware of the "Unprofessional Book Reviewer"

Friday, February 11, 2011

Everybody has the right to voice out their opinions. However, to me, there's always a fine line between being honest and being rude. To me, her post was the latter. I found it to be inappropriate, insensitive, offensive, and just plain hurtful. If you are not aware of what I'm talking about yet, it's about a post written by an author, Sylvia Massara. (read it here; original unedited post here)

I think if she removed the name calling, and finger pointing, I could have probably tried to understand where she is coming from. But I can't get past the fact that she called book bloggers "smart asses who don't know how to do anything else." To be honest, I wasn't so much angry or upset about this and her post. It just really offended me and made me sad how anybody -- especially somebody who calls herself a "professional" -- could think that it's acceptable to say this publicly.

While there's not really much to say -- because I think her post speaks for itself -- I do have a message for Sylvia Massara herself. So if she happens to randomly read this, then this would be for you:

Please bear in mind that book bloggers are writers too. Professional or not. Like authors who work so hard at their craft, we also work very hard talking about your work. We don't get paid. Do we care? Do we complain? No. So I think we can write subjective reviews and comments all we want as long as we are not personally attacking you or bashing you. (Aren't all reviews and opinions subjective anyway?)

Also please realize that the so-called unprofessional book reviewers are your avid readers. We are the bookworms that spend so much time in the library borrowing or in the bookstore buying your work. We are the ones that talk endlessly about your stories and your characters. We are the ones that recommend them non-stop to others. We are the ones that get our family and friends to get your book. We are your audience. We all do this for NO. PAY. $0. Basically, for free. Why? Because we love it! We're passionate about this, and we do care about authors and other writers. We don't write reviews to ruin your careers. However, if you still think we shouldn't be writing reviews because we're not professionals, then I'm just sorry you think that way. But to be honest, the most fair thing you can do is to show a little bit more respect for others. Whether they are professional writers or not.

P.S. I'm a pretty damn good grocery list writer.

Just saying.


  1. Hear! hear!

    Why not post your last two paragraphs as a comment to her post? I am sure it might make her stop and think.

  2. Awesome post as always, Jillian. You should @ this on her Twitter account.

  3. Amen! I'm totally with you in this one.

  4. Amen!
    We do this to share our reviews and ideas with other bookworms.
    We promise each other to be truthful.

    Great post.
    Thanks for posting the link.
    That realllly helped me understand the entire picture.

  5. Actually, the author has deleted all comments from her post, which is interesting! She likes to give criticism, but can't take it apparently.

  6. It's so odd that a writer would be trying to silence people...that's like a professional dancer telling others they shouldn't dance because they aren't fully trained or paid to do so.

  7. That article is so damn random - do any book bloggers claim to be professional reviewers? That's kind of the point - just the average reader's opinion.

    Would she like Amazon, B&N, and Borders websites to all take down their comments sections too? I mean just any old "joe" can leave a comment bashing a book there - maybe we should have to show our credentials to even buy books. I mean heaven forbid anyone have an opinion on anything.

    There are so many horrible assumptions in that article. Some book bloggers are professional writers (I'm not a fiction author, but I've been paid as a freelance and technical writer plenty) and even those that aren't can have plenty of experience and really do great things

    It's so stupid that I can't even be indignant.

  8. Well said Jillian: "the so-called unprofessional book reviewers are your avid readers"-You hit the nail on the head here :)

    It just sounds like she mad because she got a bad review...heaven forbid.

  9. Bibliophile - I was going to leave a comment, but apparently she deleted all of them?

    May - Thanks :) I did.

    Pepca - Thank you for reading.

    Juju - "Grrr" was exactly what I thought when I first read her post.

    Carin - Writers, or any kind of artist, should have a tough backbone. Clearly it seems like she doesn't have it.

    Krista - So true! I will never get Sylvia Massara's accusations and points now that I think of it.

    Megan - So true what you said about the Amazon, B&N, etc! People should delete their reviews and stop writing them. After all, they're not professional.

    Naida - I always think, if you're going to be a writer -- or an artist out for the public to see -- you need to have a tougher backbone. Bad reviews are going to keep coming. You just have to suck it up and move on.

  10. Awwww you said exactly what was on my mind, but in a much nicer way LOL. :)

  11. Aly - I actually decided to calm myself down for a day before I wrote this post. If I wrote it as soon as I read hers, I would have been saying not so good things.. haha.