Dear Judgy McJudgerson – how dare you?

I heard about something this morning that, at first, I thought I should let go – that is my usual reaction when drama and the like pop up in my newsfeed on social media – but this time, I just cannot do that. This time, I am putting my foot down.

What I was first told, and what I then saw with my own eyes – because I went looking for it – was an author bashing another for a book that I have not read, but one that I am now determined to look into. The said bashing was not founded on facts – it was based on ’hearsay’, I believe it is called. It was based on things that they had heard about the book in question. It was based on rumours. That, in and of itself, is pretty bad, at least from where I am standing.

What makes matters even worse is my reason for writing this particular blog post: I saw people bashing a book that they have not read. 

And that, my friends, is something I am seeing more and more of in the indie publishing world lately. I cannot stand it. It makes my skin crawl as if I am covered in lice (yuck). It makes me beyond angry – it infuriates me. And…it makes me sad. It makes my faith in humanity falter.

First of all, let us agree on the fact that most books we read – in the romance genre, that is – are FICTION. The stories are not real. Some of them may be inspired by true events – such as my debut novel, “Make me Believe” – but at the heart of it, they are a figment of an author’s imagination. Sometimes, we all start a book that we have to put down again for various reasons – and that is more than fine. Reading is subjective.

Let me repeat that: Reading. Is. Subjective.

No one is expected to love every book we read – and that is the beauty of it. We are people, thus different, with varying tastes and preferences. We may have triggers, meaning that there are certain books/plots we choose not to read in order to keep our hearts intact. Again, that is perfectly fine.

But what is not okay – what is absolutely unacceptable – is judging others (in this instance the author and her readers), making vile assumptions about them and their lives based on a book and its subject matter. Because it is fiction.

How dare you judge something that you have no knowledge about?

It is fine to form an opinion when you have read a book – we all do it, after all. We do it about all things, not only books. It is just the way the human brain works, and we should know our own hearts and minds.

Whether we like something or not does not matter in the grand scheme of things. But what matters is that our opinions are based on facts. On our firsthand experiences. I am definitely not saying that people should stop thinking for themselves 😉 All I am saying is that people who judge others without having accumulated all the facts – in this case, reading a certain book – need to wake up and get a life.

Was that too harsh? Maybe so. But that is my belief.

Maybe the book in question will be one that I, for whatever reason, will be unable to read from start to finish. I have my own limits, but I am usually willing to test myself from time to time in order to find out if my limits have moved. That is the kind of person I am. And no one has the power to decide what books I read, except me. Moreover, no one has the right to judge me or my life based on the books I write.

So, Dear Judgy McJudgerson, I ask you this: how can you form an opinion on something you do not know? How dare you feel entitled to even have said opinion when you have not read the book yet? And how do you even have the balls to make assumptions on a person’s life based on a book’s plot?!

The publishing community is a force of nature. It can be beautiful, joyous, and warm. Then there is the other side of the coin that it represents: an ugly, cruel, and cold void.

This morning, I saw the ugly part of a community I usually adore – again, I was angry, but mostly, I was sad. Sad for everyone whose lives are judged by ignorants.

I do not have anything else to say for now. Except, perhaps this:

Words have power. Be careful how you wield that power.

Thank you for reading.

Karen Ferry



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