Okay, now I have to admit this post has nothing to do with those pictures. I just wanted to start out with something positive and happy, because this post is about lessons learned: not so positive and happy... but worthwhile, I think.
Last week on Kristen Lamb's blog she had this post: The Three Nevers of Social Media (I guess blogging counts as social media; I have very little presence on Twitter or Facebook). Her excellent advice: Never leave nasty blog comments, Never be nasty on Twitter, and Never leave bad book reviews.
At first I just skimmed over this post, patting myself on the back for not violating any of these rules. Sure, my book reviews point out things that didn't ring true to me or I felt could have been developed better, but I always point out the positives, too. No one could call my book reviews "bad." Um, I think?
Then the next day Kristen posted Should Authors Write Bad Book Reviews, in response to all the comments she got about the day before (141 comments, I just checked). The second post has 163 comments currently. Hmmm, this is a bit controversial!
Then ANOTHER post showed up the next day, Is it fair for authors to review other authors? Do we ruin the magic? (131 comments).
I wish I could sum all of this up in a couple sentences. It certainly made me look at reviewing books in a new way. I am guilty of critiquing books rather than reviewing them. See, writers critique. That's how we learn to write better, by getting and giving critiques. So naturally when I read a published book, I critique that book, too. I learn so much from analyzing it - finding its strengths, and flaws. But is that a valid book review? As a writer and aspiring author, can I also be a book reviewer or is it too potentially controversial?
Though there are some dissenters with good points, the majority of commenters agree: writers and authors, don't share your reviews unless they are positive. And don't analyze or critique a book and call it a review.
I will continue to share the things that I learn from books: but only the positive things, the characters and settings and dialogue and voice that made me sit up and take notice and nod my head, yes! About the flaws, I will still learn from them - but I don't need to share them publicly anymore.