I once found myself engaged in a slightly heated conversation about book reviews. Someone made a comment that published authors should never trash other authors on social media.
That started a conversation about author responsibility. Once you're published, we decided, you become a community of co-workers of sorts. Just as a business owner shouldn't publicly blast a fellow business owner online, one author shouldn't trash another on Facebook or Twitter.
That was when another published author stepped in. She writes for a small press while also regularly writing honest book reviews. She believes there's nothing wrong with speaking out if you don't like a book. After all, writers appreciate honesty.
It is a tough situation. Writers are avid readers. We also often know why a book isn't quite up to par. Yes, it's opinion but it's an informed opinion. We know the mechanics of crafting a good novel and can warn readers in advance. Yet if I post a negative review of a fellow author's book, she's going to see it. She may even be hurt by it. She may even hold that against me if, say, someday she has an opportunity to recommend my book or sign with me at a writer's conference. The writing world is a small place, after all...that scathing review you wrote of Hunger Games could hurt you five years from now, when you and Suzanne Collins are sharing space at the top of the NYT bestseller list. You never know...
What do you think? Should authors turn in their "reviewer" badges once published?