Holly Black [userpic]

YA Mafia and the Ruination of Careers

March 2nd, 2011 (10:12 pm)

So, as someone writing a mobster fantasy series, I was curious about the term "YA Mafia" when I saw it show up in the comments of a few blogs lately. I asked around and finally someone explained: supposedly, there is a YA Mafia out there, a cabal of writers who give one other blurbs, do events with one another, and like each other's books. (Am I in it? I have no idea.)

They also, apparently, can ruin your career.

I have heard this before in some of the classes I teach -- the fear that making the wrong person mad will result in one's name being added to some list of sinners that editors and agents automatically reject.

I promise you: this won't happen.

First of all, really, there's no cabal. Many, many YA writers are friendly acquaintances with one another -- we're colleagues, after all, and it's a small field. We may have done a signing near one another at a trade show. We may have the same editor or the same agent. We may have been trapped in the same airport while our flights were delayed (this actually happened to me and Suzanne Collins). A lot of times I meet other writers because I love their books so much that I make crazy eyes at them until they relent and talk to me (this is pretty much how I met Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman). But I think it would be impossible to tell, from the outside, who among us are actually friends, as opposed to just friendly colleagues. If you don't believe me, please see Scalzi's great essay on being fictional.

But even if there was a YA Mafia, I very much doubt that they'd be able to ruin your career because writers are basically lazy and impractical people. We live in our heads a lot and we can barely get it together to do anything. Seriously, it took me until after 3pm yesterday to get myself a sandwich.

But even if a bunch of writers got together and actually managed to fit scheming into their day, they still couldn't ruin your career because no one can ruin anyone else's career. Just like sometimes there is a really great book that doesn't get the attention that it deserves or a book that you hate that everyone else loves, a lot of being a professional writer is luck. You find the agent that's looking for the book like yours. Or you don't. You find the editor who loves what you love. Or you don't. You get a great cover. Or not. Your book is picked up by people who love it, who then tell their friends. Or it's remaindered in piles.

There have been a few posts around the internet recently that talk about the value of being positive -- and I do not in any way disagree. Of course someone isn't going to blurb you if they know you hate their book. Of course an agent is not going to be thrilled if you negatively reviewed a book they represent. But that isn't the ruination of anyone's career.

What we do and say on the internet, like what we say in real life, has consequences. It's a scary moment to realize that everything we do, every choice we make, every post and interview and review (not to mention our actual fiction) counts. It may make someone not like us. It may make a lot of someones not like us. It may make a bunch of other people like us very much.

But I swear to you, there is no group of people out there, planning any of our dooms. And even if there were, it wouldn't work.

Comments

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(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Holly Black (blackholly)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 04:24 am (UTC)

I live to crush a dream.

Posted by: jackyboy72 (jackyboy72)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Pamela Van Hylckama Vlieg (Pamela Van Hylckama Vlieg)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 04:13 am (UTC)

I have seen several blog posts from YA authors who say if you don't give them a good review or if you hurt feelings then they won't blurb you and they will ask their editor not to take you. I am not a writer but dang all that sounded petty. I started to distrust all blurbing from other authors. Glad to see an alternate PoV.

Posted by: Holly Black (blackholly)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 04:23 am (UTC)

Well, I think those two things are not even in the same world. Asking an editor not to look at a book sounds pretty extreme, but not blurbing...well, whatever. No book can withstand a hostile reading.

Posted by: micolz (micolz)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Matthew Brown (dr_raven)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Stacia Kane (stacia_kane)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Kate Rothwell (summerdevon)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 04:16 am (UTC)

Oh. Ah. When Kristi Cook mentioned this article at twitter, I thought it was a bunch of 18 year olds who were forming a YA mafia, but I guess that would be a gang.

There are a bunch of people out there ignoring our existence. That's almost worse than being hounded.

Posted by: Tiffany Trent (tltrent)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 04:20 am (UTC)

If there isn't a YA Mafia, then why do I keep finding unicorn heads in my bed every morning? ;)

Posted by: Holly Black (blackholly)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 04:24 am (UTC)

Zombie Mafia.

Posted by: carrie_ryan (carrie_ryan)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Tiffany Trent (tltrent)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: carrie_ryan (carrie_ryan)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: An Incident We'd Rather Not Discuss (anywherebeyond)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Holly Black (blackholly)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: ellen_kushner (ellen_kushner)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Tiffany Trent (tltrent)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Lish McBride (TeamDamnation)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 04:26 am (UTC)

It's good to know that I'm not the only writer that A) doesn't remember to eat, or is too lazy to get food, until 3 in the afternoon and B) makes crazy eyes at other writers at their readings. Thank you for sharing some positive info...even though I'm a little sad that I can't join a mafia. I think I'm going to start a YA ninja attack force, but instead of ninja stars, we give people flowers and hugs. And possibly, pie.

Posted by: Holly Black (blackholly)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 04:34 am (UTC)

The best thing about pie is having it for lazy, lazy breakfast.

Posted by: Amazon (amazon_syren)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: cindy_pon (cindy_pon)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Miriam Forster (ext_448679)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 04:28 am (UTC)

As a basically lazy and impractical person, I don't have the TIME to worry about people scheming against me. Now zombies? Those I worry about.

Posted by: Holly Black (blackholly)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 04:32 am (UTC)

I worry about zombies all the time.

Posted by: kathleenpeacock (kathleenpeacock)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 04:30 am (UTC)

Okay. No mafia. Can I still pretend that you, Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, and John Green are secretly Jem and the Holograms?

Posted by: Holly Black (blackholly)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 04:33 am (UTC)

Do we get to wear the costumes? And have the pink hair?

Posted by: kathleenpeacock (kathleenpeacock)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Lish McBride (TeamDamnation)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 04:43 am (UTC)

truly, truly, truly outrageous. Great, now all of this has become jumbled in my head and I'm picturing a zombie version of Jem and the Holograms, which is kind of putting me off my pie.

Posted by: sarah_ockler (sarah_ockler)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 04:45 am (UTC)

Hmm. Libba gets both elbows broken in a mysterious tumble on the mean streets of NYC, and the next day, this article appears, denying a YA Mafia.

*Dubious*

;-)

Posted by: Holly Black (blackholly)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 04:46 am (UTC)

The first rule of the YA Mafia is not to talk about the YA Mafia...

Posted by: sarah_ockler (sarah_ockler)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Phoebe North (phoebenorth)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 04:46 am (UTC)

Hey Holly, I wanted to thank you for the even-handedness of this post.

I'm a reviewer (yes, I know the possible repercussions of reviewing; I also know that reviewing has been good to me, and my career, so far, in many ways) and an aspiring author and oh my god have things been uncomfortable lately. Really, really uncomfortable.

I can tell you a little bit about what it looks like from the reviewing side of it: I've seen authors link consumer reviews on places like the blue boards (assuming they're private--which, I mean, they're not . . .) to talk about how horrible their reviews are and how unqualified people are to talk about their books. I've seen countless blog posts that purport to be talking up positivity, but also include veiled threats (one post said that an author would ask her agent not to sign a writer who has negatively reviewed her friends books, even if they were fair reviews). I've seen authors post comments on negative goodreads reviews (and I don't think I've ever seen this go well). I saw someone who had been book blogging for three years--and had hundreds of followers and who genuinely loved book blogging--shut down her blog because an agent said that she'd never sign a book blogger as an author. And this woman wasn't Cleolinda-style snarkbaiting, I promise. She wrote great, thoughtful, and generally kind reviews.

What it boils down to, right now, is a lot of reviewers feel threatened. It's uncomfortable, because they're readers, too, and they love books, even if they don't like particular books. But all of this feels silencing, even for reviewers who never want to be authors. There's this air of intangible hostility around the whole scene. It feels like many authors generally don't like reviewers or bloggers generally.

I can also say that I see the author perspective. How bad reviews can hurt. How they want to support one another and be positive. And I've seen behavior from reviewers in response to this that really has been ugly, too. I've seen spite reviewing, some of it really nasty. I've seen people act hostile and defensive toward authors who really are just being friendly.

I can tell you that when most bloggers/reviewers talk about the YA mafia, they're being tongue-in-cheek. But there's a general feeling of animosity and fear and a whole ton of terrible feelings right now. It's upsetting.

Amidst all of this, there are people like me--people who really just want to talk about books!

I don't know. I wish we could all hash this out somehow in a healthy, direct way. I guess I really wish book bloggers and reviewers and authors could all sit down and share beer or coffee and remind each other that there are people behind the text on the screen.

Posted by: Holly Black (blackholly)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 05:04 am (UTC)

It's really hard to put oneself out there. I know that I get nervous about it (I'm a nervous person by nature) and the best thing I can do is try not to think about it (and also not google myself).

The first time I realized that people were READING my blog was when I posted about drinking someone's homemade absinthe and my agent called me up and yelled that I was going to go blind. And I was so surprised that he knew, even though it was right there where everyone could see! I just didn't think anyone was looking.

Posted by: Phoebe North (phoebenorth)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Holly Black (blackholly)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Stacia Kane (stacia_kane)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Phoebe North (phoebenorth)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Stacia Kane (stacia_kane)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Phoebe North (phoebenorth)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Stacia Kane (stacia_kane)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: UrsulaV (ursulav)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Holly Black (blackholly)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Sal (citrusy_fun)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 04:57 am (UTC)
nooooooooo

This sounds just like something that the mother of the entire YA Mafia WOULD say! *points*

Posted by: Holly Black (blackholly)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 05:05 am (UTC)

You'll be swimming with the fishes!

Posted by: Sal (citrusy_fun)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Sarah Rees Brennan (sarahtales)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 05:27 am (UTC)
writing1

This is a post of great truth. (Especially the part about sandwiches. Gosh it would be nice to be a reasonable adult who could summon up the ability to feed myself on some sort of schedule.)

I agree few writers would ever want to destroy anyone's career, and a writer who did try to destroy someone else's career would receive a whole lot of weeeeird looks, and end up making themselves look bad. And nobody's career would ever be destroyed.

Reviews are tricky things. I've read reviews that were negative and that I thought were fantastic. I've read reviews that went 'This author is a bad horrible terrible no-good person' and had to realise the fact that hey, strangers can call you names on the internet. When you're a published writer, nobody takes away your internet connection, and you remain a person, but there's a different way of seeing you that happens and is freaky for you and reviewers. (Ilona Andrews wrote a great blog post about this here: http://www.ilona-andrews.com/2011/01/05/yet-more-about-reviews/).

Possibly the only conclusion that can be reached is that authors and reviewers are people, and dealing with people will always be complicated. Some authors are going to behave badly and some reviewers are going to behave badly - but them's the breaks, and at least nobody's career can be destroyed.

Sometimes the thought that someone could 'make or break' my career, or that a good book would guarantee success, sounds like an alluring one as compared to the terrifying reality that everything is kind of a crapshoot. But on the whole I'm happy there's no mafia.

(Note to any possible mafia: if I am totally wrong, and can become successful or get awesome covers, through kneecapping or other acts of skulduggery, call me, mafia.)

(Note: I'm kidding.)

(Note: Probably. Call me!)

Posted by: chocolate in the fruit bowl (karenhealey)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 05:48 am (UTC)

I, also, am willing to do Terrible Things to make a living at this! I could swap salt for sugar, hand out dirty looks and even THINK MEAN THINGS.

Why have my many YA mafia connections left me out of the loop?

Posted by: ken (ambrmerlinus)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Sarah Rees Brennan (sarahtales)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: ellen_kushner (ellen_kushner)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: coppervale (coppervale)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: ellen_kushner (ellen_kushner)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: JJ (thegreatmissjj)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Dia (tracidee)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 05:41 am (UTC)

"But I swear to you, there is no group of people out there, planning any of our dooms."

By "our" do you mean including you? Because if you were part of the mafia, well they wouldn't be planning your doom, would they? Check and mate.

"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn't exist."

Posted by: Holly Black (blackholly)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 05:51 am (UTC)

Somebody better sleep with one eye open. I'm not saying you, but somebody.

Posted by: Dorothy (labellerose)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: greygirlbeast (greygirlbeast)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 06:03 am (UTC)

Hey, I was accused of being in the "gay mafia" for years. The stories got so bizarre that it was even suggested I'd only been published because I was supposedly having an affair with Clive Barker. Which, if you think it, not only brands them ignorant, but more than blows their "gay mafia" idea out of the water.

Now, had I been having a torrid affair with Anne Rice...

Edited at 2011-03-03 06:07 am (UTC)

Posted by: Holly Black (blackholly)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 06:16 am (UTC)

Countdown to that being the new rumor in three...two...one...

:D

Posted by: greygirlbeast (greygirlbeast)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Stephanie Kuehnert (writerstephanie)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 08:31 am (UTC)

A. Holly I love you. B. I think we were signing at an Anderson's thing when I was making those crazy eyes at you and you were very kind to me so thank you. C. I do think there is some kind of YA Holly Mafia where you find incredible dresses because both you and Holly Cupala are always the best dressed ladies in the room and D. yeah on the sandwiches/not feeding yourself things. however I do manage to feed my cats on time because they are like little meowing timers. If they weren't, we'd have major problems.

Posted by: Jo Knowles (jbknowles)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 12:31 pm (UTC)

I thought you were going to discuss the mafia in ya books! :)

Wow, I've never heard of this but I'm glad that the first time is from you, putting it into comforting perspective.

Thanks! Next time I see you I'll make you a sandwich. And force you to drink some water.

xo

Posted by: thunderchikin (thunderchikin)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 01:15 pm (UTC)

If there's no YA Mafia, I want my membership dues refunded. Also? I'm keeping the cookies.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 01:20 pm (UTC)
Author Posts on Reviews

I'm glad this was addressed and brought to light by a influential YA author, but the thoughts that sparked it aren't really a new trend. Author comments and threats on reviews are happening with increased frequency. Sometimes it's just someone who claims to be a friend of an author, but sometimes the author himself appears and makes thinly veiled comments -- things that might have felt like genuine advice if they posted it on a negative review of someone else's book rather than their own.

Point in case: http://ceilidh-ann.livejournal.com/71585.html?thread=611489#t611489

I also wanted to add that I enjoyed White Cat very much, Ms. Black, and I'm looking forward to Red Glove this spring. I'm sorry the first time I'm commenting on your blog under these conditions.

Posted by: Holly Black (blackholly)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 05:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Author Posts on Reviews

I'm glad you liked WHITE CAT.

I'm not saying that there are no *consequences* for anything we say or do - I'm just saying that, really, truly, honestly, no one can ruin your career and probably no one is even trying. I certainly don't think the author who commented was promising to reign down fire and dish out retribution personally - I think that would be a misread of what she said.

Posted by: R.J. Anderson (rj_anderson)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: Author Posts on Reviews

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: Author Posts on Reviews

Posted by: R.J. Anderson (rj_anderson)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: Author Posts on Reviews

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: Author Posts on Reviews

Posted by: thebloodfiend (thebloodfiend)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: Author Posts on Reviews

Posted by: Texty (textualdeviance)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: Author Posts on Reviews

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: Author Posts on Reviews

Posted by: thebloodfiend (thebloodfiend)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: Author Posts on Reviews

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: Author Posts on Reviews

Posted by: Inverarity (inverarity)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: Author Posts on Reviews

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: Author Posts on Reviews

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: Author Posts on Reviews

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: Author Posts on Reviews

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: Author Posts on Reviews: Part Two

Posted by: Holly Black (blackholly)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)
Re: Author Posts on Reviews: Part Two

Posted by: delzey (delzey)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 01:31 pm (UTC)
the loop, either in or out, i don't know

as an aspiring writer who also reviews i have been repeatedly "warned" that my (non-existent, pending) career is in jeopardy, that anything less than a pollyannaish outlook will follow me around the rest of my life ("the internet is forever!"), and that i risk total social alienation by expressing opinions on religion or politics that might be deemed offensive. perhaps i'm not moving in the right circles because i haven't seen any of the public shunning you mention, and when i've asked people to point me to an instance where a writer was rejected by an agent or editor because of their internet presence or opinions all i've gotten are vague "well, i know someone who said it happened to someone they knew..."

so the only mafia i see operating are the people who would prefer to have me live in fear of thinking for myself and expressing my opinions about books for children and young adults. perhaps i'm being naive and they really are out there, keeping and maintaining their lists like a kidlit politburo waiting for the perfect moment to bring me in for "questioning." i could be wrong, i often am.

but thanks for putting the YA mafia in check at least.

Posted by: dpeterfreund (dpeterfreund)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)

The only time I've ever seen threats to someone's writing career is when an influential mean girl book blogger threatened to ruin a multi-published author's career. I stood in the room. I watched it happen. I was appalled.

(FWIW, the author is still publishing, so pshaw to that blogger's supposedly awesome powers of persuasion.)

So I'm laughing at the idea of authors being somehow the bullies in this scenario. Authors are the victims. Bloggers -- who have no pressure to adhere to journalistic standards (print corrections of factual errors, critique the work and not malign the author, etc.) go on their merry way, and authors are instructed to stay out of it. Most journalists, before publishing a piece that attacks someone, will contact that person and ask for a comment -- in the book blogger case, not only do they NOT ask for comments, but it's "understood" that under no circumstances is the author ALLOWED to comment! Even in their own space, they are told not to respond -- not only to criticism and opinion of their work, but to factual errors and personal attacks.

Can you imagine if that's the way things worked in any other industry? "CEO, your company has been maligned in the press. Please don't tell us your response to the issues raised." "Mr. Senator, your opponent has made some claims about your record. Please do not attempt to clarify."

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: dpeterfreund (dpeterfreund)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Phoebe North (phoebenorth)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: dpeterfreund (dpeterfreund)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Phoebe North (phoebenorth)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)
Wow

Posted by: dpeterfreund (dpeterfreund)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

Posted by: Phoebe North (phoebenorth)
Posted at: th, 12:00 am (UTC)

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Holly Black (blackholly)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 05:06 pm (UTC)

Ha! I saw Maureen in that Wonder Woman costume. She was AWESOME.

Posted by: Jodi Meadows (jmeadows)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 02:34 pm (UTC)
Warlord Montoya!

DARNIT! I was hoping to get in.

Actually, I just heard about this from kathleenpeacock. Apparently I'm just that far out of the loop. Now the YA Mafia will never call me. *wails*

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 02:54 pm (UTC)
Be Nice

Apparently, some authors don't agree with this stance.

--> http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/973516-be-nice

Posted by: Holly Black (blackholly)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 05:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Be Nice

Like I said above, I'm not saying there are no consequences to the stuff we do. But the getting or not getting of a blurb, or any of that sort of stuff, isn't the making or breaking of anyone's career. Careers are bigger and weirder than that.

Posted by: Gwenda Bond (bondgwendabond)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 03:16 pm (UTC)

I have to say I find the very idea shocking that anyone would ever take a bad review or rating on goodreads so seriously that they would even *want* to ruin another person's career over it. (I mean, we are talking about another human being, after all.) I understand being bummed and not wanting blurb or be besties, but anything more seems like an outrageously vindictive response. And seeing Diana's comment above: I would also never keep reading a blog of someone who wanted to punish authors or who gives casual negative reviews*.

But the bottom line is, as Holly says, no one can ruin someone else's career, so fear of *that* is not a reason to do or not to something.

I wonder how much of this is just that we live in the wild west now. We all love the enthusiasm and support of YA readers/writers/bloggers, but I think there is sometimes a--completely understandable, if misguided--impulse to want to control it, make sure it is always positive or well thought-out. And that's just not possible. I've always maintained that blogging about books is just word of mouth with a megaphone (where the size of the megaphone varies widely). The chaos is part of what gives it power.

The issue of whether to write negative reviews or not*... to me, that's a personal decision. I have always only done recommendations on my blog, because I don't really read books I don't like. And if I do, I'd rather talk about them in person than blab it through the megaphone.

I also think there is a lot of conflating of blogging and professional reviewing going on. The two may share characteristics, but are not the same. If you're being paid to review professionally (which I do some of) then you must review the book you've been assigned to the best of your ability. I'm pretty choosy about where I review, and so have been lucky to be assigned books I'm likely to have an affinity for (which I think is the best of all possible reviewing worlds for everyone; many famously negative reviews in the mainstream media seem to be a--perhaps intentional at times--bad marriage of text and reviewer).

GOD, this has gotten long. Perhaps I will have to do an actual post so I can think all this through more.

*I actually do believe that because negative reviews really are easier to write than positive ones, and tend to at gut level be based on personal preferences, they require much more thought and time to be substantial and not just easy and reactionary and a dressed up version of "I didn't like it," which is meaningless. Explaining what is good about something is always harder (and more useful for reading like a writer), and one of the reasons I still find the time to write about books I really love.

Posted by: Gwenda Bond (bondgwendabond)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 05:47 pm (UTC)

(The beginning of my INSANELY rambly comment above was meant to say: I honestly cannot imagine that happening... who would have that response? Which, of course, doesn't mean it couldn't happen. But still. I do not think it is likely.)

Posted by: pingback_bot (pingback_bot)
Posted at: March 3rd, 2011 03:48 pm (UTC)
The Family

User thegreatmissjj referenced to your post from The Family saying: [...] mafia controlling publishing? Recently on the internets, there has been talk about a so-called YA [...]

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