Should You Engage in Book Drama?

This discussion topic came to me after my third Twitter hiatus following an explosion of call-outs and angry tweets threw my anxiety into overdrive. Book drama does not inherently mean angry people. But a lot of the time, book drama does lead to angry responses, subtweets, and very vague, very sweeping statements.

I’m not going to make any arguments for or against creating a safe space on Twitter*. It’s a valid discussion, but one that needs a separate post to itself. In this post, I’m focusing on whether you should jump into the book drama, or take a step back.

*for the sake of brevity, this post focuses on “book drama” called out and investigated through Twitter threads/tweets. i acknowledge this also happens on other social platforms like Instagram.
*also for the sake of brevity, “book drama” is used to refer to any large-scale news that affects the book community

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Are you involved?

vulture

Many people became engaged in the Blood Heir drama. But were all of them involved? Where does involvement in book drama begin? At one point, it seemed everyone was talking about Blood Heir: YA readers. Teens. Journalists. Authors. Those who had received ARCs and those would do anything to get a copy.

None of this is to debate Blood Heir’s fate. I’m only bringing it up now as a example of what happens when book drama becomes NEWSWORTHY. Everyone wanted to cast their opinion on Blood Heir, but how many had background on young adult books, the teen reading experience, or book reviewing?

tl;dr: you should have a tangential connection to the communities affected by the drama if you plan on engaging

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Do you actually know what’s going on?

roberts

Most of the time, we find out about book drama through a tweet that is super vague and not from anyone/anything that has to do with the original drama. It might be something like “OMG can’t believe about ‘x person’ or ‘x thing’” and it’s like, Well hmm, I don’t know what THAT means??

📎 Find the Facts

I usually have to sift through many different twitter threads, comments, and the search bar to see if I’m able to track down someone that is explaining it all or *IF* I can even find the original. Sometimes, it has taken me 15 to 20 minutes to compile even a general gist of what is going on, and by then, it’s usually through other people’s thoughts and a weird game of telephone . . . but with screenshots.

📎 Trust the Tweet

First impressions are definitely not what they seem. There have been times that I just saw one or two things, thought I had the story figured out, and then when I got all the facts, it ended up being something completely different. For example, I first thought about the Nora Roberts/Tomi Adeyemi drama. The story didn’t give any details but was just stating there are a lot of book titles that share common names. It wasn’t until continuously digging through twitter threads and then a blog post that broke it down hours later that I fully grasped the full meaning of it. Plus, information kept coming through throughout, and much like other book drama, one new piece of information can change the entire conversation.

tl;dr: one tweet isn’t the whole story. you can try to follow threads on Twitter, but at the end of the day, social media isn’t a news site.

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Do you have anything to contribute?

barry

When a Tweet about the misgendering of Dr. James Barry came up on my timeline, I looked up information about the book. I informed myself on Little, Brown’s decision to acquire Cape Town, on Barry’s life, and on the author who has written this new “non-biographical” rendition on Barry. But I withheld from tweeting.

I made the choice to blacklist this book and author, but I didn’t want to take away from the many trans voices clearly explaining what was wrong with the book. Sometimes drama comes up on Twitter that you agree/disagree with, but you don’t have to engage directly. Make up your mind (and any life choices if you need to) and move on.

tl;dr: if you don’t have anything new to say, if someone has already explained your point, or if the person has already said “I get it”…you probably shouldn’t engage

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How are you phrasing yourself?

Most of the time drama definitely brings out the emotions in us. Sometimes anger, sometimes hurt, sometimes frustration, sometimes excitement, etc. With certain drama, it might instantly cause a gut reaction – you never know how it will affect you. I’ve certainly seen a few things that made me angry on the spot. However, how you go about phrasing yourself is definitely an important part of how you engage with it.

There are definitely a couple of different ways that you can approach the situation. There might be the gut reaction of anger and outrage. Trademarks include: all caps, lots of exclamation marks, name calling, and more. It might make you feel good  – but depending on the drama, it might add fuel to the fire.

Being super detailed, carefully thought out, and more neutral is another reaction as well. I’m always for more detail and thought out, but if it’s too much in your response, it might seem that you’re a little too apathetic to the situation or minimizing the emotional impact.

The answer is always balance! But you have to be true to yourself and your voice. Personally, I’m always the person that wants to tread a bit lighter, and will sit there and rewrite and rethink a tweet for about half an hour before I usually end up giving up on it – which is a whole different thing – so I haven’t found out what my voice is in the drama world and how my phrasing is after a million edits.

borderThis is by no means a checklist to follow before diving into the Twitterverse. Let’s be honest, who thinks for more than a minute before sending off a Tweet? (Okay, me, but I’m an anxious bean and re-think my choice of socks in the morning.)

Opinions = the foundation of the book community. I mean, the entire premise of book blogging is to share our opinions on books—what we loved, what we hated, what was just okay. Our opinions help influence. So, it’s only natural that many of us will have opinions when it comes to certain book drama.

So now that you’ve gathered your information and assessed the situation, the time comes to figure out what you do with all of it. Do you jump into a Twitter thread? Start your own? Take a book off your TBR?

Do you do nothing and let it all play out?


What’s your take on book drama? 

16 thoughts on “Should You Engage in Book Drama?

  1. Since I’m relatively knew to Twitter after canceling my account over 2 years ago, I had no idea how much book drama existed on the network. I will say for the most part I don’t get involved, I try to follow the thread to see where it originated and sometimes do a google search to understand context. But I never know what to do. Sometimes I want to throw my hat in the ring and lend my voice to the discussion and other moments I honestly just want it to cease. I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while now so I appreciate your post!

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  2. This was a GREAT post. I try to lean away from engaging in book drama typically for much of the same reasons you posted. For example, the whole scandal with Matt de la Pena and other well known male authors… I didn’t know anything about it when I saw it briefly referred in a tweet. I didn’t come to any conclusions until I read several credible articles and felt like I got all the information.
    That is a huge issue with the way “news” is spread right now. Too many people see the headline for something, or read one source and get up in arms about a situation when they don’t have all the details. I feel like even news reporters are so anxious to get “the scoop” before anyone else that they often broadcast things when they haven’t gotten the entire story. It’s frustrating and anxiety inducing, especially when people start getting mean/nasty about it.
    I think that is why I try to just stay away from things like that. I take long breaks from Twitter, and really only scroll for short spurts of time so that I am intentionally missing a lot of the “drama” and nonsense :]

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  3. This is such an interesting post! I use twitter a lot, mainly just scrolling through my timeline as I very rarely post on it. I’ve seen so much drama recently and it’s crazy how quickly people jump in, even when they don’t know both sides. But then it can also be so helpful highlighting some of the issues surrounding new books or authors, or just general issues in the book community.

    I think, like you said, one of the best options is to step back and think about what you tweet before making it public.

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  4. This is such a great post! I see a lot of tweets about book drama, try to find out what actually happened, make a decision about whether or not I want to avoid a certain book or author, but almost never engage in the actual debate. I’m such a non-confrontational person and the idea of getting into an internet debate alone just makes me panicky.

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  5. I stay away from the drama. I might read a little about it, but I don’t engage. It’s just not my thing, and those things usually get ugly fast.

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  6. Great post Sha! I remember all the stuff that happened with Blood Heir and now it’s happened to another author. This kind of “witch hunt” culture (I call it that, but maybe it’s not a good term) is ridiculous now. If things were offensive during ARC form, they can be fixed before the final printing. I don’t get why they had cancel their books when it wasn’t officially out yet. It’s really sad how people take so many things out of context and then the author gets punished for it :/ but I actually don’t really engage in drama anymore. I usually feel like many people are too cruel to be logical and can’t be reasoned with. And I hope you’re better too 🙂

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  7. Book Twitter honestly terrifies me. That’s why I mostly only post positive opinions about books I’ve read and keep myself to myself the majority of the time!

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  8. Hmmm I’ve only heard about the first two scandals and am blessed with a very impartial friend who LOVES the news and will hunt down answers. We discuss them but I never have to keep up with the news myself as she’ll read me the pertinent parts, etc.

    I honestly am apathetic to most scandals. I have my own opinions about the choices made but why does what I think figure in what they do? I do have fun discussing it all with my friend though and the reactions within the book community! i love that you felt the facts should be tracked down and that you err on the side of keeping out of the drama. I think its really smart.

    These scandals probably do weigh in whether I buy a particular book or not so I’m glad that i get all the facts, but I probably won’t be jumping into threads and decrying others opinions.

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  9. I really enjoyed reading through this post. I tend to be an outsider to the the drama since I’m not on Twitter and I really like being that way. I find that by the time I hear about the drama there’s a more balanced approached that one of my friends are able to tell me about. I get to hear all the information that’s currently out there instead of the one thing that started all the drama in the first place. Great post!

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  10. I don’t tend to involve myself in book drama. I usually go searching to find out what’s going on, but I never tweet anything myself. I never feel like it is my place to contribute if I have a) never read the book and/or b) know the facts like you said. It’s why I find book twitter scary to be on sometimes. But you brought up some really great points, Sha! Lovely post!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. One thing I notice is that when I respond to someone who is in a full-on twitter-rage with a balanced or thoughtful reply, they typically just shut me down as the “other side”, as do their followers. I will eventually learn to not engage at all. The problem with Twitter is that no one wants to listen to anyone else or consider them as a complicated being with thoughts and emotions and who means well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, yes. It can be even harder to reason with someone who is incensed *and* on the other side of the screen. It’s HARD to stay quiet when you see an injustice, though! You’re not wrong for wanting to step in and share your opinion. It’s just hard to figure out how to navigate standing up for what’s right on the internet. Clearly the rules are all different for that online than in person. I’m still trying to figure it out myself. You’re not the only one learning, if it helps!

      Liked by 1 person

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