Wednesday, March 14, 2012

When Posting, How Polite is Too Polite?

I was entering a few book giveaways on Goodreads.com the other day (yes, I’m officially hooked on that “giveaway crack”) and whenever I came across a compelling new (to me) YA book, I would click on the author’s website or blog to check it out.

It was a really nice way to get to know more about some fellow YA authors and I ran across one in particular who was a grade-A, hmmm, how should I put this? A grade-A… personality. And I mean that in the epically most awesome way ever.

Seriously; she had attitude to spare and it was such a… revelation. I think she was ranting about some bad review or another and just really going to town; about readers, writers, publishers, the whole ball of wax. It was great to read because I was like, “Wow, she said what she really wanted in a really honest and unvarnished way… and no one’s running her out of town with pitchforks and torches!”

Personally, I try to come off as very polite, non-feather-ruffling and generally a helpful, nurturing kind of guy. Part of that is the teacher in me; I was trained to be politically correct, helpful, nurturing and generally stay in control of my emotions in front of a class full of kids.

 Part of that is just me; if you meet me I pretty much am polite, helpful, calm, even-keeled, etc. But it’s not ALL of me. Drive with me for five minutes and you’ll hear enough cussing to get an NC-17 rating. Stick around while I read a bad review and you’ll hear a whole lot more! And I certainly have VERY strong feelings about writing, reading, reviews, bad reviews, publishing, agents, eBooks, print books and more.

 I just always figured I should avoid sharing that hardcore, personal or angry or venting or rant-y stuff with my young, impressionable readers. Then I remembered, most YAs don’t exactly flock to my blog! (Come to think of it, most adults don’t either!) And even if they did, wouldn’t they prefer getting the “real” me versus the watered down version?

 It’s not that I’m some big, fat phony when I post. I’m always honest, but I’m generally… polite. I don’t swear or foam at the mouth or rant and rave and, well, would it be so terribly bad if I did once in awhile?

 So, I dunno, reading that YA author’s blog the other day was a real revelation. It kind of made it “okay” to be me, or at least a little bit more like the real me.

 I don’t think I’ll be swearing and ranting and raving like this one author, but she’s far from alone. I know of several YA author blogs where writers, readers, even reviewers are quite frank, fun, wise, sarcastic, sassy and with plenty of… personality.

 So what do you think? How polite is too polite? Or should bloggers abide by a certain “code” and keep themselves to themselves? Comment boxes are open; fire away!

 Yours in YA,

 Rusty

2 comments:

Vicki said...

I'm in the same boat as you are. I try to be as polite and tactful in my posts (even my negative ones) while still infusing my personality in what I write. Whenever I read over something of mine and go "Ooh, that's a bit harsh," I delete and re-write it in a less-harsh way.

At the same time, I enjoy reading a couple other blogs that don't hold back anything. They think it - they write it. Sometimes I agree with them, and sometimes I can only wince as books I love get flaming tomatoes thrown at them.

I think that by all means, you shouldn't censor your thoughts or emotions. If something pisses you off, and you think it's worth posting about it, go right ahead.

But most importantly, you still need to tailor your posts to the audience you want to attract. Language, content, and subject matter should focus on them. If you want a blog that can be read by teachers, parents, and teens, you're probably going to be a lot tamer than, say, just writing for high-school/college age.

Most importantly, and I think all writers know this (or will eventually), you can't appeal to everyone. You gotta do what you know how to do, and what you like to do. If you prefer your writing to ruffle feathers, and enjoy reading the responses of such, go for it.

Thanks, Rusty!

Rusty Fischer said...

Great thoughts, as usual Vicki. In all things, writing the book or the blog or the review or the post, I think it comes back to your personality. What you feel "comfortable" writing and putting out there. I guess I'm a bit of a wimp in that regard. I don't like to post stuff that will give me a stomachache, wondering if a word I used or a book I talked about or an opinion I had is going to result in 27 nasty comments the next day! I also know a lot of bloggers who go out of their way to do that, and it rings a little false. I think it's just "finding your own way" as much as anything else. I'm still learning, making mistakes, writing blogs about things I'm totally confident one day and then, months later, I'm blogging about differently because I've had a new or challenging experience. Above all, it's a conversation and we all have a certain way we talk to most people. I guess this is mine!!! Thanks, as always, for reading, commenting and above all participating!!!