What Does It Even Mean to Tag an Author in a Positive Review on Twitter?

Discussion Post

Introduction

On January 30, author Elizabeth Bear tweeted what she apparently thought was uncontroversial general knowledge: that it’s unforgivably rude behavior for a reviewer to tag an author in a review:

To be very clear, Bear does mean ANY review. While it’s common knowledge among book reviewers that, of course, it’s obnoxious to tag someone in a negative review, Bear elaborated that she (and supposedly “most” authors) do not want to be tagged in explicitly positive reviews. She even stated she disliked being tagged in completely neutral tweets that say things like, “I just bought TITLE by AUTHOR!” or “I just started reading TITLE by AUTHOR!”

This has confused and upset a number of reviewers who are now worried that they have inadvertently offended or hurt authors while they were trying to be nice to them and indicate they enjoyed their book. It has also confused a number of authors, particularly indie, debut, or smaller authors who may be more reliant on good reviews and word of mouth marketing than bestselling authors.

Ultimately, however, I think at least part of this discussion is coming down to a disconnect over why authors think reviewers are tagging them and why reviewers think they are tagging the authors.

Acknowledgement and Engagement? Or Sharing Bookish Love and Publicity?

One of Bear’s key objections is that she feels obligated to engage with people when they tag her on Twitter, no matter what it is they’re saying to her, and that makes her uncomfortable. While this is reasonable in the sense that authors are frequently instructed not to read reviews of their books (and avoiding all reviews, whether positive or negative can be a useful approach), she–and again apparently other authors–do not want to feel pressured to engage at all with any comment about their books whatsoever. They don’t want to look as if they either agree or disagree with the bookish opinion or debate whether they should like, retweet, reply or do none of the above.

Other authors, most notably Neil Gaiman, make the argument that it’s easy enough for them to search for reviews if they decide they care for reviewers’ opinions, so there’s no point in tagging them (again in either a positive or negative review).

Both these arguments–that authors are pressured to engage and that authors are pressured to read the reviews that they tagged in tweets about–seem to me to NOT be the reason most reviewers are actually tagging authors, however.

Personally, I rarely tag authors in reviews at all, partially because I want to be sure that review is 100% positive if I do and partially because it just…doesn’t really occur to me. However, when I do tag authors, I know that I am 1) not respecting any sort of response from the author and 2) not expecting them to actually click the link to the review and read the review.

When I tag an author, I’m doing a combination of two things: 1) giving the author a general heads-up that I liked the book enough to write a positive review and share my love of the book with others and 2) telling MY readers where they can check out the author’s online presence and maybe learn more about them and their work or even follow their Twitter account. That is, I’m not actually pointing the author to the review or expecting them to read it; I’m trying to make a more generic statement that I liked that book. And I’m trying to give the author some free marketing and publicity.

Assuming that many bloggers are thinking the way I do, it’s easy to see why this conversation has blown up on Twitter. Bloggers (as well as Booktubers, Bookstagrammers, and other reviewers) are putting out content, doing free marketing, and trying to tell authors they like their books…and apparently some authors are offended by this. It’s clear why that would be demoralizing.

So, while the dialogue has mostly been centered on whether authors do or do not like being tagged in even positive reviews or generally neutral mentions of their books, I think it’s worth talking about the different reasons reviewers are tagging authors in the first place–and whether this aligns with why authors think reviewers are tagging them. If not, getting everyone on the same page could be useful.

Briana

57 thoughts on “What Does It Even Mean to Tag an Author in a Positive Review on Twitter?

  1. Todd Russell says:

    I don’t care if people tag me on Twitter with negative or positive reviews. The more important issue is whether or not authors are “obligated” to respond. We’re not. Not to critics, fans, strangers, friends, family, anybody. Social media is optional. Those who actually know me enough to matter, know this is my position on FB, Twitter, etc. World would be healthier both online and off if people got over themselves thinking anybody else is “obligated” to do anything online. Total freedom is one of the most liberating parts of being online 🙂 Have a good day.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Yes, I don’t think anyone is obligated to reply, and I think most people don’t think they are, which is why I found it so interesting the original author said she felt pressure to engage and it made her uncomfortable!

      (Sure, there probably are occasional bloggers or fans tweeting snarky things like, “Ugh, I tagged J. K. Rowling and she never answered. How snooty.” But I think most people aren’t like that.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sammie @ The Writerly Way says:

    I was wondering if you’d do a discussion post over this, as I’ve seen this going around! It’s a little disheartening to me seeing other bloggers panic now and have a bit of an existential crisis as far as their habits are concerned over something they try to do out of love. I mean, I can see it from both sides, and I understand that it must be hard as a bigger author and having that choice to not read or be faced with reviews, period.

    I don’t generally tag authors for anything, let alone in reviews, because I very rarely write 100% positive reviews, and if I have even a negative thing to say, I wouldn’t want to throw that at them. After all, my reviews aren’t for them. The few times that I have tagged authors in something, though, it’s 100% been to say, “Hey, look at this thing this person created. I absolutely love it. You should go check them and their work out, and you can find them here.” Except … with fewer words? And I just took it for granted, I guess, that people understood that, since in my post I’m not actually talking *to* the person I’m tagging, but obviously talking to my audience (ie. readers who might enjoy their work). Or one recent example, I got some really lovely book mail that I wasn’t expecting, and I made sure to tag them, one, because I wanted them to know how much I appreciated it because they didn’t have to do that, and two, I wanted to make sure everyone else knew where to find their awesome selves.

    I feel like there’s a disconnect between the author community and the blogging community. I don’t think the authors understand what bloggers do. I mean, it’s easy to take for granted, right? Someone reads a book, posts some words about it, easy as pie. They don’t realize the money, time, and energy that goes into a blog, which bloggers aren’t getting paid for (mostly), just because they’re passionate about something and want to share that thing with others. But on the blogger side, I think a lot of us don’t know *how* to approach authors. When I was a newbie blogger, I tagged an author on a three-star review, because I thought that’s what you were supposed to do, because the publicity thing in the physical ARC I got talked about making sure to tag, etc. I still feel bad about that, and it was YEARS ago. But there’s no real wide-spread knowledge about how to interact with authors and what’s expected, mostly because all authors are different (as I think this discussion alone has proven). It’d be nice if the two worlds could meet in the middle more, but I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. Especially since a lot of bloggers tend to idolize the writers they love, so yeah, offending them for sure isn’t on their list of intentions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Todd Russell says:

      Some authors are bloggers. Perhaps some of those can help bridge the gap? Blogs have been around for a long time in internet years now 🙂 Tons of books, movies, etc and authors should embrace anybody who is willing to talk about their work whether it be positive, negative or indifferent. Authors, if you’ve moved somebody enough to write anything about your work that’s noteworthy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sammie @ The Writerly Way says:

        That’d be a great idea, and I’ve seen some authors talk about how hard it is sometimes to juggle both roles (ie. C.G. Drews, who blogs under PaperFury and was a blogger before a professional author).

        I would imagine it would be a good thing! If you don’t want to respond to your tags, as an author, just … don’t? I don’t think most people expect them to. And if someone gets mad about that, then they’re the jerky exception to the rule, not the norm.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      I wasn’t going to post about it at first because the whole thing seems somewhat obviously absurd to me. One author makes a statement saying she hates being tagged in anything ever, including positive reviews. I find that weird, but she’s entitled to her opinion–but I also thought that would be the end of it. The fact that I’ve seen dozens of bloggers flipping out that they’ve been doing something wrong and rude and hurting authors and are now vowing they will never tag an author in a positive review again is concerning to me. Especially since I’ve seen like three authors agree they hate being tagged in positive reviews and about 100 authors saying they like it, but people seem to still be taking the original tweet at face value that this is some sort of faux pas.

      Same! Even if it’s a really positive review, I don’t really want to tag someone in something where there’s a paragraph saying that actually I think the writing style is amateurish or something. I don’t *expect* the author to actually read the review, but they might! And I don’t want to draw their attention to even one negative thing. I’m more likely to tag authors in something like my “best books I read in 2019” post that’s obviously just positive.

      I also do think a lot of people are tagging to link other readers to the author and view it as equivalent to linking to someone’s author website. They’re telling readers where to find the author’s professional presence online, and I’m surprised some authors are reading more into it than that and think people are expecting some sort of detailed reply to being tagged.

      I think that’s also true about the disconnect between the communities, which is weird in the sense that you’d think authors, of all people, would appreciate the value of people who are writing and creating content, even if it’s not paid.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sammie @ The Writerly Way says:

        There definitely seems to be a disconnect between bigger authors with a lot of publicity versus smaller authors, both traditionally and indie published. The smaller authors tend to interact more and appreciate the mentions, whereas the bigger ones tend not to. And if you think about it, I guess that makes sense. There’s more of a pressure, maybe, on ones who are getting hundreds or thousands of mentions a day or something. But I also think the tweet probably could’ve been worded better to not include authors as a whole, because yeah, it does seem to be causing issues, and in replies, the original poster seems to be doubling down on “a lot of authors I know have this problem, so it’s a common thing.”

        If I tag an author, I expect nothing. Nada. Zilch. For me, this is a one way conversation. I am sending people on my end to you. If you retweet something or like? Amazing. Comment? I’ll probably go into shock. I don’t know. I had just never considered that someone could assume the social contract was that they were required to then *do something* with my tag.

        I wonder if writers just don’t understand what blogging is? What it breaks down to? There’s definitely a difference between readers and bloggers. Bloggers are readers, yes, but … like a superpowered version of them lol. At my library, everyone reads. But I’m the one that most people come to for recommendations, because as a blogger, I’ve developed skills that go above reading. Like being able to compare similar books, learning how to recommend things, having an eagerness and ability to talk endlessly about books, and having no fear of handing a book to someone and saying, “You’ll like this. Just give it a shot.”

        I feel like there almost needs to be more of a “peek into the life of a blogger,” like this stuff isn’t cheap, it’s not free, and it’s hard work. We don’t just say, “Yeah, this book was good,” or, “This was bad,” and then move on. Well, most of us don’t, anyway. xD I feel like all the bloggers I know spend so much time thinking about what goes into their reviews and how to word them that they’re already dangling on the precipice, and one little nudge suggesting they’ve angered the authors is enough to make a lot of people question themselves, since that’s not sort of antithesis to why we devote all this time and energy to this book blogging thing.

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  3. Cam @ Camillea Reads says:

    I’m glad you did a discussion on this. Reading that tweet was a bit confusing for me, to be honest. I do understand what she means about the pressure to socialize but there are some authors who want to be tagged in positive reviews. Blogging is hard enough without having to message every author to ask if they’re okay being tagged. Perhaps authors could put their preference in their twitter bio.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      If her issue is that she doesn’t want to engage with people, I don’t even know if she’d like someone speaking to her to ask if she’d like being tagged! :p I feel like she’s doing some minor backtracking and saying, “Oh, I do say thanks to people” and “Well, they can tag me that they bought the book,” but that is NOT what she originally said or defended, when she was very clear that she hated the pressure of having to decide how to respond to anything! And if she gets a lot of messages and tags, I can see how that’s overwhelming, but…people are going to talk to you on social media. It’s hard to get around that.

      I also saw someone defending Gaiman by saying, “Well SO many people read and love his books. Imagine if he got 5000 notifications the week a new book came out with people saying they reviewed it!” I get it. That would be kind of objectively annoying and overwhelming. But you also have to read the room. So many people would LOVE to have the problem that their books are bestsellers and “too many” people are buying it and liking it. Complaints about being “too popular” are probably best-suited to share with friends in similar situations because they don’t tend to go over well publicly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cam @ Camillea Reads says:

        That’s true! In any case, she could have just said it for herself instead of on behalf of the entire author community. I don’t have any bad feelings towards her though. I don’t think she meant it in a bad way; probably worded it wrongly. Still a big yikes haha

        And yesssss, that’s one of the things I thought. Because I know many indie authors who love being tagged and approached. It’s just sad that now some bloggers are going to feel insecure or might go back into their shells. Hopefully the entire thing is resolved peacefully.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

          That’s the place I think she went wrong. She can hate being tagged all she wants; that’s fair. But speaking for everyone was where she messed up. I also saw a response where she said she was genuinely confused because she really did think she was speaking for everyone and that she was just tweeting a well-known thing that would be completely uncontroversial. But… no one is agreeing with her. Maybe 1% of authors are agreeing with her, and everyone else is saying they love positive tags. She is so far off and yet genuinely surprised!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Sandee @ Sandee and her Books says:

    I have been reading about this the whole day today. I have been blogging way before I have this new blog, but I never thought that it would be considered rude to tag them. This is just my personal opinion, I tag them to let them know that I love their work, not so that they could engage with me or to compliment my review about their book. My only goal was to reach out and let them know I love their work, and I assumed that they would appreciate it – until now. I never tag authors for negative reviews – I feel it’s unnecessary to do that, because like Neil said, if they want to read negative reviews they’ll just look for it. I just never thought that tagging an author on twitter would ever be an issue because it is a social media platform where you can do exactly that just. I just find it a little sad and disappointing that you can’t even show your appreciation to them in that way. I get that they probably didn’t want to be bombarded with tags but still, it makes me feel sad that I have to be mindful of those things in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Yes, it’s so weird she thought this was a common opinion and she was sharing uncontroversial reminders about never tagging people. I’ve been blogging for 8 years, and this is the first time I’ve seen an author say they hate people tagging them in positive reviews or other positive mentions.

      I also do think the fact it’s social media matters. The responses like, “Why are you on Twitter if you don’t want anyone to talk to you?” sound snarky, but they have a point. The nature of a public profile on the platform is that people occasionally address you, particularly if you have a profile that would generally be considered to be for marketing purposes–such as an author-branded profile rather than a personal one.

      Like

  5. Alice @ Love For Words says:

    *stands on a chair and claps*

    I thought it better not to tag well-known authors at first, and now I am quite sure I will stop doing it (unless this author is known for enjoying to see comments about their work). However, I will always try to bring my followers’ attention to indie and less-known authors (unless they ask not to be tagged).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      I do think very popular authors are much less likely to engage in any way, even if it’s liking the tweet or saying thanks for reading, but since I’m not expecting a reply, that wouldn’t bother me. I also would never have thought they’d be *offended* by someone saying they like their work!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Grab the Lapels says:

      I don’t have social media anymore, but near the end of my time with Twitter, I do remember asking two small-press authors if I could share my positive reviews with them. One said yes, and I don’t remember if she retweeted it or added an excerpt on her site or what, but she was appreciative. The other said that she was thankful that I took the time to write a review but that she would pass on me sending the link to her. That didn’t bother me one bit. However, you have to wait for them to say something back, if at all, so if I were still on Twitter I would probably just skip tagging anyone.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Kayla says:

    Idk how authors expect to have social media and then turn into big babies when anyone ever mentions their books that literally makes no sense to me. How can you have social media as an author and expect no one to mention you or at you? I think it’s actually really shitty that some authors are saying that they dont want to feel obligated to interact with their readers. They SHOULD feel obligated…we are the reason they are as successful as they are because we give a shit about what the have to say I figure the least they can do is return the favor

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Same. The nature of social media is…social. If you want to talk to only specific people on it, you need to have a private account and only approve certain people. Having a public author-branded presence is generally understood to be an invitation to readers to occasionally engage with you or tag you in mentions of their book. I can see the *number* of notifications being overwhelming if you are really that popular, but that’s one of those things you need to complain to your other bestselling buddies about and not complain about publicly because a lot of people are not sympathetic to complaints of, “Oh, no, too many people are reading and loving my book!”

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Jennifer says:

    Great dissection of the issue. I am definitely not expecting authors to respond to my social posts haha but it’s great if they want to! I do try to tag debut or lesser-known authors more than people who have a strong brand and following already. Just another way human communication is a struggle. 😂 Maybe for the best that this *is* being discussed though, so it doesn’t fester one way or another for people involved.

    Like

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Right. If people don’t want to be tagged, I guess that’s fair and their personal opinion, but I think they need to recognize it seems to be a minority opinion and then do the work to let readers know they personally don’t like being tagged at all. I know people are not liking the suggestion of “put it in your profile,” but “don’t talk to me on my public social media account” is such an uncommon take, I do think you probably need to post that somewhere.

      Like

  8. Margaret @ Weird Zeal says:

    What an interesting and important discussion! I’ve been seeing this conversation on Twitter and, as you said, it is rather demoralized. I think it comes down to what you said: “bloggers are putting out content, doing free marketing, and trying to tell authors they like their books…and apparently some authors are offended by this.” We do all of this for free and it’s not as if we need thanks or validation, but it’s discouraging to be actively brushed off. I tag authors occasionally for the same reasons you do, and I’ve gotten some really nice responses in the past! I can understand why some authors wouldn’t want to be tagged, but it rubs me the wrong way that the one who originally tweeted this claims to speak for ALL authors. Ah well. I think I’ll probably continue tagging authors in reviews that are 100% positive, unless I know they’ve expressed otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Yeah, I think people have to right to feel however they want, and if someone doesn’t want people to tag them at all or have readers tell them they gave five stars to their book, I guess that’s fair. But it’s an unusual take, so the fact that the author tweeted this apparently genuinely thinking it was “common knowledge” and “everyone” agreed with her is bizarre.

      Like

      • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

        This is the weirdest part of her tweet to me: she thought this was a common opinion and she was safe speaking for everyone. I see people saying it’s ridiculous people are mad about her comment and we “should respect authors’ boundaries like we want them to respect ours,” and respecting boundaries is fine…BUT “don’t tag me in anything, even nice things, on Twitter” is a really unusual approach to social media! People are NOT going to think this is how most authors are using social media, particularly if you think of their accounts not as personal profiles but as business/marketing ones. People will assume you have an author profile to market your book and that they, as consumers, can therefore engage with you about the product you are marketing to them. I mean, if you don’t want people to tag you, fine, but I’d say you need to recognize people will not intuitively know you have that view because it’s uncommon.

        Like

        • Grab the Lapels says:

          Perhaps another issue is the blurring of business and personal. Yes, writers are very personal people, but selling a book is business. Don’t use your Twitter for marketing and then be mad if I respond to your baby’s latest photo. Have two Twitter accounts if you’re a private person. This is something my spouse and I talk about (and I’m sure loads of other people do, too): the way your job creeps into your personal life. I’m very grateful that my current place of employment NEVER expects you to do any kind of work, at all, off the clock. Yet at my last job my personal Facebook account had about 50 theater people I had just met through my job as production manager, and next thing I know we’re all “friends.”

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Gerry@TheBookNookUK says:

    I think the original tweet was so confusing. It was more confusing when she then tried to explain what she was *actually* meaning but then if you need to write three to four more tweets explaining your first then you need to make sure what you’re putting out as a blanket statement is clear to begin with. I still don’t think I understand what she was aiming for here.

    I completely get the etiquette of not tagging authors in negative reviews because I do think that’s rude. Have that opinion yes and state it but don’t tag, you don’t need to actively draw someone’s attention to the fact you disliked their work.

    Honestly if this author has such an issue with positive tweets than either a) make a statement in her bio that she doesn’t want to be tagged in ANYTHING akin to a review or b) ignore them. Just…. ignore them. Or do both.

    A lot of authors that have been tagged in positive tweets tend to go the gracious route. Saying ‘thank you and I’m glad you liked it’ has hardly caused riots to break out. If an author is getting overwhelmed then again, there’s no rule that says they have to interact with everyone. Even if they say, ‘I wish I could reply to all 15,000 positive tags (and how lovely if that were the case) but I can’t but I’m grateful to you all.’

    I think I agree with the opinion that if that’s what this author likes/ dislikes then fine but the blanket statement of speaking on behalf of all authors with a platform is a little much. Speak for yourself yes but don’t cause upset for others!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      I saw a tweet response where she said she was confused and surprised there was backlash to the original tweet because she honestly thought it was common knowledge you’re not supposed to tag authors in anything, whether positive, negative, or neutral. And basically no one is agreeing with her, so I have no idea where she got this idea that she was just stating the obvious and everyone would know what she meant!

      Then she changed to “I don’t know how to engage in a neutral way” because she doesn’t want to sound either as if she is endorsing your review or disagreeing with it, but I think responses to the effect of “Thanks for reading” are pretty neutral and low effort.

      I also agree that if you don’t want to be tagged in anything, you probably need to state that. I’ve seen people say that’s ridiculous and a waste of Twitter bio space, but it’s a really unusual position. No one thinks you’re going to hate being tagged. And if being tagged does make you “really uncomfortable,” it’s probably a really good use of your Twitter bio space to help you avoid some of them discomfort.

      Also, yes, tons of notifications are probably objectively annoying, but it’s one of those things were the “average” person isn’t sympathetic when someone famous complains about their success. “Oh, too many people are buying your book? What a tragedy.” Better to complain about those things with other bestselling authors instead of publicly.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Books, Teacup, and Reviews says:

    Wow, I didn’t know tagging author in positive review also can have such big discussion. I thought authors appreciate it their work is liked by readers. Of course big author don’t need the tags and word of mouth but small authors live for it. I don’t tag authors in negative reviews. I even don’t tag author if I have purchased the book or have got it from NetGalley. I tag them if the book is blog tour read and if author has sent me e-copy/physical copy of their book to review. I tag them so that they can see review and share it and it could reach larger audience. Of course, I mention it in email as well that I’ll be tagging them on twitter.
    I can understand their perspective. Sometimes I also feel tired to check tweets I was mentioned in and like, share and reply them. I had a hard day or I’m busy or I’m moody can be many reasons but I wouldn’t want them to stop sharing my posts. What I mean is it’s subjective and like me they might be feeling it like pressure and time consuming.

    Like

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      And enough authors DO share and retweet positive reviews that the original author saying that ALL authors hate being tagged in them is such a strange take! I mean, I don’t actually expect the author to do anything with my tweets, but a decent amount do engage, and I’ve had authors I’ve NOT tagged find my positive reviews and share them on their own.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. marydrover says:

    THIS! I literally never expect an author to actually read the review I’m tagging them in. I just want other readers to be able to read it and know that “hey, I love this author’s book!” It’s literally free marketing. To think that some authors might be offended by that? To me, that just stinks of privilege. That’s someone who is successful enough that they don’t want more success. To be in a place where you receive so many tags that it feels like an obligation to see positive ones? I’m sorry, but no. I didn’t even know this conversation was going on, and now I’m so upset by it. Tagging authors in negative reviews is rude, yes, but tagging authors in positive reviews is the kindest thing I can think of. It’s literally showering free love on someone, with no expectation of reciprocation. Wow.

    Thank you for your thoughts on this! As always, very eloquent and got me thinking!

    Like

  12. Grab the Lapels says:

    I completely agree with this entire post. I am no longer on any social media other than Goodreads, but when I had Twitter I would tag authors in my positive reviews I did it for the same reasons you mention with the same expectations that you have. Here’s my beef with social media: people seem to thing there are private spaces on it. I once had a person yell at me because I joined a conversation (this person and I both followed each other for years; it’s not like I didn’t know who they were), and they got so mad at me for “poking my nose in.” Um, hello? Writing a post on Twitter isn’t a private conversation! You want private, do a DM. So these authors who are pressured by their publishers to have a social media presence need to decide what they’re going to do with it. They honestly do have to engage with anyone and can just use it as a place to share their thoughts and news. On the other hand, lots of small-press and self-published authors find Twitter a great place to get feedback and feel the love. If Elizabeth Bear is uncomfortable, in my opinion it’s her own fault for not taking control of her own time and then playing the victim card if someone notices that she doesn’t respond to a tag. She doesn’t have to respond, and they have a right to be bummed. It sounds to me like Bear wants to control other people so she can control how she feels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      I think that’s where some of the disconnect is coming in. I don’t think authors need to respond to everything, and I don’t think most of the people tagging them are expecting they will. But the nature of social media and Twitter in particular is that it’s social and public. If you’d prefer people not actually speak to you (or tag you, which may or may not be meant as “speaking to you”), you’ll need to find a way to be clear about that because people are going to be surprised that’s your stance, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Jocelyn says:

    Exactly- we don’t expect replies. It’s more that we really liked a book and we want people to know about it and who wrote it. If authors don’t want their fans positively engaging with them (which is gross), then don’t be on social media.

    It wasn’t a very good look for them. At least most authors seemed to disagree with their views.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Yeah, I see it more as a heads-up like, “I just wanted to let you know I liked the book enough to write a positive review of it!” I don’t really expect the authors to *do* anything with that information. The original author brought up not knowing how to engage without seeming to either endorse or disapprove of the review, but I feel like, “Thanks for reading!” is pretty neutral as a response.

      Liked by 2 people

        • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

          I don’t mean to be snarky, but I’m sometimes a bit baffled when authors/writers admit to struggling with coming up with responses to things like this. Or when they tweet something and then claim they meant the exact opposite of what they originally said. Sometimes I just think, “But your job is communicating and being good with words?” (If nothing else, I think you could ask advice for a good neutral response to fans instead of being like, “No, don’t tag me telling me you liked my book.” Whether it’s fair or not, fans hate when creators seem ungrateful for fans.)

          Liked by 1 person

  14. shanayatales says:

    I tag for the same reasons as you do. And my expectations are similar too.

    Of-course now that I know better, I will refrain from tagging Neil Gaiman, but I am plan to continue tagging the others when I feel like it. Especially because I only ever tag on 5 star reviews and don’t really expect a response. So honestly, I don’t know what they are getting aggravated over.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Yeah, I’m surprised by the “it makes me uncomfortable because I don’t know how to engage” explanation because I don’t think the majority of people are expecting engagement. Or, if they get it, are not expecting more than a cursory, “Glad you enjoyed the book!”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Milliebot says:

        Yeah they have the option to not engage! I don’t expect someone I view as a celeb to deign to talk to the likes of me 😄 should they not do book events and signings for the same reason?

        Like

        • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

          That’s actually an interesting question! I can see someone saying, “Well, I chose to do a book signing and expect people to talk to me there,” but I agree that joining Twitter in the first place essentially comes with the expectation people will talk to you there, as well. If you want to just put out information and not have people respond or even just cold reach out to you, it seems more reasonable to have a web site or a blog where no comments are enabled. Twitter, in particular, I think, encourages conversations. I’d expect even other social media like Facebook or Pinterest to be less…social.

          Like

          • Milliebot says:

            Yeah Twitter to me is the one place where I have a chance of interacting with anyone “famous” even if it’s just seeing that they liked my tweet. I feel like it’s the platform that made them accessible. Like you said, use a site, blog, or FB page if you want social media strictly to be a place just to list your books and any tour info. Twitter is specifically to twit back and forth at people! Lol.

            Like

  15. Milliebot says:

    Yes, I only tag authors in positive reviews (though there are plenty of times I forget) and I’m also doing it as a shoutout on social media so my (few) followers can find their page and learn more. I used to link to websites in my reviews but I feel like it’s kinda quicker to link a Twitter. Cuz then other tweeters can see what the author is up to and there’s a link in their profile. I don’t expect any author to respond, but I always find it nice when they do.

    This is tough because as reviewers, we don’t happen to know what author likes to be tagged or not. Also, to each their own but like…I’m not on Twitter to tweet into a void (even though that’s exactly what I do lmao, cuz I don’t promote my Twitter at all) and I think that like…well. Hmm. I don’t know how to say this without sounding shitty. But like, if you don’t want to engage with readers at all…Twitter might not be the best social media platform? Or I guess, just never respond to anyone and use it as a message board where you speak but don’t respond to anyone speaking back. Does that make sense?
    And then there is the aspect that as reviewers, or just general consumers, we are potentially giving free press (even bad press can be positive at times, in some ways lol) and like….Idk. I guess, if I want to tag someone, I will!

    Like

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      I’ve been wondering a lot recently about how many people even go to author websites anymore vs. their Twitter profiles. I think authors do need a website, and it’s obviously a good place to list all your books, your upcoming events, etc., but I feel like a lot of people will just rely on Goodreads or wait to see authors tweeting about upcoming events. Or even just directly ask them on Twitter, “Hey, are you coming to Texas?” rather than even bothering to look at their web site.

      Like

      • Milliebot says:

        Yeah that’s why I stopped and sometimes authors only have social media and no site. So if it’s a good review I just look for their Twitter to throw in. I would sometimes link web and social but I got tired of doing so much “promo” work. I suppose I could just name authors, rather than tag the handle. But again, some like the shoutouts.

        Like

  16. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    Oh, I thought Bear meant just negative reviews when I saw it! I don’t tag authors, but I think that if an author is tagged and doesn’t respond, that’s fine (I don’t think that they should feel like they have to respond- most people on twitter can understand that) so I’m not sure about the point she was making there. And I agree with you that the reason to tag an author is to make it easy to find them. And like you, I would only be happy with that happening if the review was 100% positive (but like I said, I rarely think it is- cos it could easily have something like “I liked this more than their last book” and I get too worked up about offending them). But I really think it’s unfair on the majority of well-meaning bloggers, who, like you said, are trying to give the blogger some free publicity.

    Like

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      A lot of people assumed she meant negative reviews because that’s reasonable and an actual common opinion but…no. She literally meant anything. It was very odd, in my opinion, especially since I think the “pressure to respond” she mentioned was mostly coming from herself. Sure, there’s always that one person who’s going to throw a Twitter fit that they tagged Stephen King and he didn’t answer or something, but most people really don’t care and are not going to say anything about it.

      Like

      • theorangutanlibrarian says:

        Oh wow. I did not get that, cos I just thought she was saying something most people agree with in a “hot take” way. Yeah, I don’t know any bloggers that are pressuring authors to respond? Like you said, they’ll be a few crackpots, but I think they’re in the minority/that’s the internet anyway/that’s what block is for…

        Like

  17. Jenna @ Falling Letters says:

    This is a great exploration of a discussion that has a lot of aspects to consider. For example, I am very selective about what I see on Twitter. I use the mute, block, and lists features extensively. I am not an author so I don’t really understand what they are going through, but I also don’t understand why it is so difficult to ignore being tagged in certain tweets… (I think some authors use Twitter too personally, rather than as a marketing tool that could be considered part of their job, so I think that’s part of it.)

    I used to tag authors in some of my review tweets for the same reasons you note. I very recently decided to stop tagging authors in ANY review I share, because I realized I was spending too much time thinking “What if the author read this?” and that was affecting my writing. I agree that a significant part of the book blogger’s role (whether we like it or not) is to help market new books. Reviewing books and tagging an author on Twitter are two ways to do that, but I suppose those things don’t have to go hand in. Now, if I want to ‘boost’ their name, I will do it in a separate tweet.

    …Anyway I better stop writing before this turns into an entire post rather than just a comment!

    Like

    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      I also use block and mute extensively, but I STILL frequently see content that irritates me. Sometimes I wonder if Twitter is worth the stress. :p

      I do agree there’s this weird line for authors where their Twitter is personal but also basically a business marketing account. Like, if you’re on Twitter as an author to connect with other authors, publishers, and literary agents, then I guess being tagged and talked to by readers is going to seem random and annoying to you, but I think that’s just about it goes. I’d go private if I only wanted to talk to a select group of people and not use my profile to interact with fans.

      Sometimes authors find my reviews and tweet them when I did NOT tag them, and then I freak out and reread it like, “But I only gave it 4 stars and I said the prose was awkward and they READ this review!!!!” Even though it was 100% their choice.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jenna @ Falling Letters says:

        I thought Twitter had an option not to receive notifications from users who aren’t your mutuals… I always imagined that’s how people with large followings manage their Twitter use, lol. I have had that last experience (author tweets review even though it wasn’t 100% glowing and I didn’t tag). In that case I feel fine about absolving myself of any guilt, haha.

        Like

  18. parkermccoy says:

    If I’m ever tagged in a review (positive or negative), I am more than overjoyed! I like redundancy, too. Haha. I mean, I don’t see ever getting offended when your book is getting attention and catching steam. Heck, it’s not like you publish and then readers just spring up like dandelions in April. Marketing is hard and takes a huge effort. Do I want the rewards of that work? You bet your tag I do! Haha. This is crazy. Great post, though, Briana!

    Like

  19. Stephanie says:

    I saw this blow up on twitter and, quite frankly, I thought it was really silly. I completely agree tagging an author in a negative review is rude and shouldn’t be done. But not even a positive review? I think you’re right. But I also think part of it comes down to that a lot of authors don’t seem to know or comprehend the amount of time and effort a lot of bloggers/booktubers/etc. put into producing these reviews and talking about these books that we love. And we do it all without expecting any recognition from them.

    If I love an author/book, I want my followers and the people around me to know; I want to point them to where they can find the author (and in turn find more of their books)! Even when I tweet the author letting them know I loved their book, I don’t expect engagement, I just want to help brighten their day because I know writing is hard.

    Like

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