Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Why I Don't Tag Authors in Negative Posts

An ongoing discussion in the blogging world is: when should you tag authors in your blog posts? Some people tag authors in negative reviews and think that's okay. I, along with many others, think that's wrong.

I tag authors when:

  • It's a positive review. It might have a couple of negative bits but, mostly, it's very positive.
  • I've been interviewed by someone else and have mentioned the author in a nice way.
  • I've written a post recommending lots of books, in which theirs is included.
  • Someone has written a guest post for me and mentioned the author in a positive light.
  • Basically, I tag them whenever something nice is written about them on this blog.

Here's why I don't tag authors in negative reviews:

  • If you tag an author in your negative review of their book, you're effectively saying, "Hey! Read my blog post, I ranted about your book in it. It was horrible. Never write again."
  • If you see a negative review someone else has written and they haven't tagged the author, going ahead and tagging the author yourself is just insensitive. They don't need to see the review, hence why the other blogger didn't tag them in the first place. You're making both the blogger and the author feel crap.
  • I don't write my reviews for authors. I write reviews for readers. I'll tag authors in positive reviews because it's always nice to compliment people but I'm not going to tell them what they could have done better in their book. That's someone's job, sure, but it's not mine.
  • By tagging authors in negative reviews, most likely all you're doing is making them feel bad. And then they might avoid reviews/mentions, no matter how nice. Or a blogger might let them know they've written something about them on their blog and they'll respond with, "Is it nice? Or do I need to hide from the Internet for a while?"

I had that response once and it made me so sad because, firstly, if I wrote anything negative about an author/their book, I would never shove it in their face. And I don't like to think that people might think I would just because I'm a blogger. We're not all bad. And, secondly, it made me sad because it brought home just how badly this kind of thing must have affected them before that they even have to ask at all.

When an author does something actually bad and word gets out - like, they write a racist comment somewhere or go on a homophobic rant - I don't have an opinion on whether you should tag them in your thoughts or not, so this isn't about that. You do you. But when you've simply not enjoyed an author's book and you're warning other people not to buy it, I don't think the author needs to see that.

My opinion? I'll happily write negative reviews - my blog is a place where I write about books I've read whether I've enjoyed them or not, after all - but I won't tag the author. The review is there online and if the author stumbles across it by searching for reviews then that's their problem but I'm never going to make them look at it by tweeting them the link and making them think it's something positive when it isn't. That's just rude and unnecessary.

What do you think? Do you tag authors in negative reviews?


  1. Oh I agree so much! I was guilty of doing this in my very early blogging days. I guess I just didn't think that authors would /actually/ see my tweets and click on the reviews and read them. It's just mean and unnecessary to tag an author in a negative review. I've actually become super cautious about this and only tag authors when I've written a four or (mostly) five star review. I just don't want to ruin someone's day with a bad review.

    - Jen from The Bookavid

  2. I completely agree - I would never tag an author in a negative review! It's just mean, and all of the authors ive spoken to are lovely people. We should stop spreading negativity! Great discussion post, Amber

  3. I agree with you 100% on this matter! I'm going to be more aware of when to tag authors in posts such as reviews. This is a really interesting discussion! Great post Amber :) xx

  4. What the hell! I can't imagine EVER tagging an author about something negative.

    If people are going to talk bad about me, I'd rather they do it to my back. Don't waltz up to me and say, "God your websites SUCK!" Just murmur behind my back to your friends or boyfriend or whatever, but don't involve me personally.

  5. I couldn't agree more on every point you have written. As a book reviewer, I believe in honest opinion - if I think that book didn't deliver in some way, I will write about it, no matter who the author is.

    On the other side, my first book got published recently and now I also get to myself an author - hence, I get another point of view to consider. My book is like my child, I don't even exaggerate - many artists could back me up on this. So much work went into it, so many lonely hours, so many anxious days. If I would see a bad review of my book, well it would hurt, but not everyone like the same stuff. It's OK. If someone would tag me in a bad review, I would get hurt. It would sting a little bit.

    So I make review as I would like someone to review my book. I say my honest opinion, no sugar coating, but I do it respectfully. There's no need to hurt someone's feeling with tagging. (Sorry for the novel of a comment :D)

  6. I had no idea people even do this. Wow, just wow. I wouldn't do it. I have a hard enough time writing negative reviews, and the last thing I'd want to do is make an author feel like I'm throwing it in her/his face. Authors work really hard to write and publish, even if I didn't like what they wrote. But drawing attention to negativity? That just isn't a nice thing to do.

  7. I didn't even know that this was a thing! There is no way that I could tag an author, or anyone for that matter, in something that is negative about them - it's just plain mean! If I don't like a book that I've read then I might write a review about it and post it on the blog, that's my prerogative as a blogger, but to draw attention to that and to throw it in the authors face is just not. cool.

  8. Apologies if this is a silly question (I'm new to blogging: but how do you actually tag an author? I've had a look but can't seem to see how! Thanks.

  9. Is 3.5 stars considered a good rating?