Yesterday I joined Goodreads. I was giddy about the prospect - a community revolving around books! Reading challenges! People who understand my joy when I squeal with delight at the prospect of another Eloisa James or Kresley Cole! Goodreads is my kind of place.
But then I signed on and they wanted me to rate books. Just like that. Pfft! My momentum was gone. My concern was not that I didn't have opinions about those books (oh, boy, do I ever have opinions). My concern was that my happy-happy author persona could not be seen to dislike any of them. I can despise Book X with the fire of a thousand suns, but Vivi Andrews is supportive of other authors and their escritorial efforts - all of them.
We are told, as authors, that professionalism is paramount... but somewhere along the line, professionalism got muddled in with "Thou shalt not say a single negative thing about anything ever." Which is so fake! And so bland.
I love to gush about books I love, but I also love to bitch about the ones that make resounding contact with my wall during the reading experience. I have opinions! Strong opinions. But if I publicly broadcast them, will I be tarred as unprofessional?
No book is going to be universally liked - but I feel like I'm not allowed to be the one who doesn't like it. Reading is so subjective. So personal. But how do you marry the personal and the professional without sacrificing one?
Since I am representing my "brand" as an author, am I even allowed to have opinions? Where does the business end and I begin? I don't believe in going through life restraining yourself, self-censoring in the hope of being universally loved, but it is such a tricky line to find - how to be sincere, but professional, opinionated, but leave a positive footprint on your industry.
Got any advice?