Okay, okay. I know I've already mentioned - several times - how pleasantly surprised I was at the amount of discussion and the number of ideas produced by the Online Interactions panel that I attended at Dragon*Con back over Labor Day. And one part of the discussion that I took note of is actually quite fitting for me to post about just now - because it dealt with book reviews and whether writers or aspiring writers should post negative ones, and at the moment I've been plowing my way through book after book - so quickly that at the moment I have at least four reviews to post here on my blog.
Sadly, nowadays it's pretty rare that I find a book that I truly believe deserves even a 4 out of 5 star rating - 5 out of 5 stars practically never happens. To be honest, though, I'm hard to please...and that is why I write book reviews. Because whereas I may not think a book was that great, I feel that a well-written review may make someone - or some people, plural - understand that it's more my not enjoying the book because it's simply not my idea of a good read, rather than because it's badly written or whatever.
Unfortunately, it seemed to be the general opinion - maybe not of every single person on the panel/in the room for "Online Interactions", but certainly of the majority of them - that writers and aspiring writers should only write positive (or possibly neutral) book reviews. Thankfully, I think I've only written two book reviews, ever, in which I trashed what I'd just read - both having to do with working for Walt Disney World, and mainly because they were not only badly written but contained such incorrect information that I could not bring myself to keep quiet. Not knowing that people out there would read these books and possibly - even probably - take what they were reading at face value.
I mean, listen: I know that writers put their hearts and souls into their work. And I know that if I ever publish something I'll have done the same, but there will still be people who don't like what I've written. Because no writer can control how people feel about their work(s). But I don't want people to be afraid to critique me because they write as well and are afraid to alienate themselves, and I hope I'm not alone in feeling this way.