It seems like every time I open Twitter and Facebook, I'm hit with some new kind of horrific book world discourse. Sometimes, it's enough to make me rethink book blogging altogether. Here are the top-of-mind offenders that make me consider shutting it all down (but don't worry, I won't--because for every crappy book take on social media, there are at least 5 good reasons to be there...but I'm all about complaining right now. I'll save the good stuff for another day):
Authors attacking reviewers on social media
This one pops up at least 2 or 3 times a month. Some high-and-mighty asshole takes to Twitter or Facebook with a screenshot of some review they received and proceed to whine/bitch/rage about it. All this succeeds in doing is: 1) Making fewer readers want to go to the trouble of actually leaving reviews, 2) Making the author in question look like a total dick, and 3) Making me use the shout-y caps to remind everyone that REVIEWS ARE FOR READERS, NOT AUTHORS. I mean, I've talked about this before, but if authors can't handle a little criticism, they're in the wrong line of work. No author is immune to bad reviews. Some of the best books I've ever read have a fair number of terrible reviews. It's just part of the gig. If you can't handle it, either don't publish, or don't read your reviews. It's that simple.
Oh, and to the all the authors who do this, get slammed for it on social media, THEN decide to claim the whole thing was a joke and that they're being targeted by "cancel culture"...shut up, and grow up--in that order.
"Romance doesn't need a happily ever after"
Respectfully, the fuck it doesn't. This is not a matter that should ever be up for debate. (And yet it happens every other Tuesday on Twitter) It's the ONE convention in an otherwise completely free and open genre. Would you argue that a murder mystery doesn't have to actually involve a murder, or a mystery in order to be marketed as a murder mystery? No, you would not. Same goes for romance and the happily ever after.
And I've said it before and I'll say it again, but if an author tries to sell me a "love story" with a tragic ending by marketing it as a romance novel, I will eviscerate them in my review of the book. For more specifics, and for anyone who might be saying, "But...but...Jennifer...I've written a great romance novel that doesn't have a HEA", please read this.
Just to be super clear: the ONE THING romance readers DO NOT want is their expectations subverted. We WANT the happily ever after. We NEED the happily ever after. It's comforting, and frankly, it's one of the reasons why romance is so popular. If your book doesn't have a happily ever after, go sell it in another genre. Women's fiction is a huge genre. Go sell the sadness there. We're all stocked up here, thank you very much.
Illustrated covers on books that aren't rom coms
These days, it seems like everyone is publishing with an illustrated cover. That's fine. I mean, I like a lot of them. But if I see an illustrated cover on your book, I'm going to assume it's a light, funny rom com. If you've written something deep, dark, and twisty (AND THAT ISN'T AT ALL FUNNY), please don't market it with a cartoon cover that clearly leads readers to think the content of the book is as light and fluffy as the cover. Just because illustrated covers are hot right now doesn't mean they're fitting for every book.
Rom coms that aren't rom coms
Look, authors and publishers, a rom com needs to be funny. It's right there in the title. The "com" stands for "comedy". If your romance is light, funny, and contains hijinks and/or shenanigans and witty banter, then you can market it to me as a rom com and I'll probably love it. But if your book is deeply emotional and angsty with some darker themes and a distinct lack of snort-laughs, I might still love it, but DON'T MARKET IT AS A ROM COM. For an example of some GREAT rom coms, check these out.
Nazis and slave owners AREN'T ROMANTIC
I'm tired of seeing books with KKK heroes, former or current slave owner heroes, and Nazi heroes. I don't care if they eventually see the error of their ways and try to grow as characters. I don't want to read about racists. And before anyone pops up with the "but, but...historical accuracy" argument, historical romance makes A LOT of exceptions when it comes to accuracy. The fact that all the dukes are hot and ripped and everyone has clean, white, straight teeth and no BO tells me that we're all willing to accept some historical inaccuracy in the name of romance. Why not eliminate the racists along with the poor hygiene that was standard back in the day?
If you steal books, you are a terrible person. Books are cheap and you can get free ones in a million different places. There's no excuse for stealing from authors. Tons of authors don't even make a living wage off their book sales, so when you pirate their book, you're taking food directly off their kids' dinner table. Book pirates suck. Don't be a thief. If you need a LEGAL way to get free reads, check this out.
That's it for today, but ask me how I feel tomorrow. I'm sure something new and awful will pop up. But what about you? What book world drama is upsetting you? Let's discuss in the comments!
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