How do you feel about negative book reviews? Writing them and reading them…
This is a very apropos subject for today given all that has been going on in social media in the last week or so. I am very new to the whole blogging thing; my blog just turned two months! I had no idea how much drama is associated that is attached to the blog scene. I have heard authors blacklisting bloggers because a review wasn’t written after a free review copy was sent; authors arguing with reviewers because they don’t like what was said, and I have to say I’m a little freaked out. I don’t like writing negative reviews for this very reason.
When I read the first book I did not like, I was really conflicted with what to do. Do I write the review at all or should I just tell the author I didn’t like it and forgo the review altogether? Then I worried what they would say if I did write the review? Would they be angry? And the drama went on in my head. I eventually wrote the review and tried to be as polite as possible while still giving my honest opinion. The author was very gracious about the review and that also made me feel that I did my job as a blogger.
However, not just last night I saw an author post a review on her Facebook page that she did not agree with – even though the reviewer gave her four stars. She then went on to ask her followers to review the review. To my relief, most people just said “to each their own” but, the fact remained that an extremely well written review was being scrutinized because it wasn’t a ‘glowing’ review. I thought that the review gave a fair assessment of what she read. She backed up all her opinions with reasoning and gave examples and never once blasted the author or the book.
That isn’t the first instance of bad author behavior I have seen either. On Amazon there are plenty of authors that have argued with reviewers in the comment section. Most of the authors that I have seen doing this have been Indie authors and a few of them do it so much they have lost readers. I’m not sure if it is just how things are evolving with the self-publishing world, but I have never seen a traditionally published author do the same - or at least not under their real name...
Negative reviews are a way of life. Not every person thinks the same or enjoys the same subjects, genres, or content. Some of my favorite books have been blasted by reviewers: Twilight, House of Night, and Harry Potter. Sometimes I even take offense at what people say about my beloved books, but I hold my tongue and know that they have a right to their opinion. But what I can’t stand is when people are downright rude and mean when they write a review. I think that a low rated book review can be written constructively and not to cut-down all the work the author put into his/her baby. Even if there is grammar or editing issues, someone took the time and effort to put their work out into the world and I respect that tremendously – I may not like it, but I will give it a fair shake. Beth Revis, author of the Across the Universe series wrote about the issue of negative reviews and how she deals with them. You can read her thoughts and insights here.
Now, I have to say that if I could not finish a book or get into it for any reason I will not write a review. I don’t think it is fair to review a book that I did not read. I will let the author know and tell them why I feel that way and thank them for their time, but I will not go on to Amazon and the like and review there. I don’t think it is fair to readers or authors. Readers want to see a review of the book, not half a book or less.
The Breakdown: When writing a review constructive criticism is the key, and know that not everyone will agree with what you have to say.
What do you have to say on this subject?