My newest segment!! Every Monday, I will post something related to books that has been on my mind lately.
Leaving bad reviews – Do you do it?
This has been a topic of controversy in the book world for years and I don’t see it letting up any time soon. I have been pondering about this for quite awhile and thought I’d share my thoughts with you all today.
It’s no surprise that I am not a stranger when it comes to writing bad reviews. Now, when I say “bad reviews” I don’t mean that my reviews are atrocious (at least I hope they’re not lol). By “bad reviews”, I am speaking in terms of giving negative feedback.
This is a very touchy subject especially among people who are heavily immersed in reading books and, perhaps, even plan on becoming writers themselves.
If you leave a bad review then you are exposing yourself to people who may be overly sensitive when they see that you are basically trashing their favorite novel or their favorite author. Then you have to deal with hoards of fangirls and fanboys everywhere who feel compelled to defend that author/book, but they may not do it in a graceful way.
I have come across a multitude of book reviews on GoodReads and Amazon that did not favor a particular book and they have to defend their reviews against the people who are taking it personally. Those people will behave extremely hostile and cuss and throw insults that have nothing to do with the book! It has gotten so bad that I have known of people who will actually delete their GoodReads accounts, because those same people will not leave them alone. It’s ridiculous!!
On a side note >>> And who could possibly forget about that author who behaved so shamelessly and got upset at a blogger who wrote a bad review and the author basically stalked her to the point of ending up right on her doorstep to confront her. Creepy right? Seriously, who does that besides crazy people in institutions?
I have many friends who love reading, but they hesitate to leave negative reviews because of that very same thing. They don’t want to be targeted. They don’t want to be insulted and so they would rather not say anything at all which saddens me to be perfectly honest.
It saddens me because I feel that everyone is entitled to fully express themselves without being attacked for their opinions. Whether their opinions are praising that book or they’re basically stating that they couldn’t even finish it because it was so bad. It doesn’t matter! No one should feel as if we live in a dictatorship and, god forbid, you say exactly what’s on your mind because then people will retaliate.
So why do I leave negative reviews?
I am compelled to leave a negative review, because I feel that as long as people are not writing reviews at all, or as long as people B.S their way through the review and praise it even though they hated it then the author will never benefit. I get it. Okay? I’m not blinding myself to anything. I know that people want to be considerate and nice. They know that the author spent a lot of time on that novel and it’s basically their baby. I get it.
However, if you do not point out (in a respectful manner) the things that you really disliked about it (grammar, plot holes, etc.) then that author will never know what to work on in the future. They will go on assuming that they are doing just fine because no one tells them the truth. No one gives them an honest account of what they truly think. In this case, giving them a bunch of little white lies is not going to do them any favors when they try and get their work published by an agency.
Leaving negative reviews is not easy. It’s not fun…at all! I don’t enjoy it. I don’t get a rush out of potentially hurting someone’s feelings. I don’t feel good about myself, but I feel that I owe it to myself, I owe it to the author and I owe it to other readers to give my honest opinion. You can tell that many other bloggers or booktubers have experienced some form of hate because right before giving a negative review they will stress the fact that this is only that individual’s opinion and nothing more. It’s crazy that we actually have to give disclaimers so that people will not lose their minds!
I try to lessen the blow by giving some feedback on the things that I DID like. The things that I would love to see more of. In all the years that I have been on GoodReads, I have never had anyone personally attack me for my negative reviews, but I have lost followers and that’s really no concern of mine. You gain some. You lose some. Oh well..(shrugs)
Some people don’t add good feedback to their negative reviews. Some people leave negative reviews that cross an imaginary line. They don’t review the book – oh no – they personally attack the author which I think is absolutely disgusting.
A good way to leave a review on the book you did not like is to concentrate on the parts that killed the mood for you. In other words, you should not write things such as “You should look for another job because you’re not suitable to be an author”. By the way, I actually saw this comment on a very popular author’s GoodReads profile. This is a classic case of a personal attack on the author and it has nothing to do with the book itself. Therefore, you would immediately be deemed a hater not an honest reviewer.
Stick to the facts, include the reasons why you didn’t like the book. Whether it be the prose or perhaps it had too many cliches or maybe you just hated the characters and couldn’t connect with them. Give factual points that helps your readers understand why it didn’t appeal to you.
Those are all the things that people want to read about in the review. Most people do not care how you feel about the authors themselves. They are there searching through all the reviews to decide whether or not to buy the book and that is what you should base your review on. Don’t tear down the writer; concentrate on the story.
There is such a thing as constructive criticism and that should be used instead. If you feel that there are a lot of people in agreement with you then you should point out ways that the writer can improve.
It’s not easy to leave a negative review because regardless of how careful you are, people will interpret things differently and you still may encounter people who fervently disagree with you. And that is okay. You can’t please everyone all of the time.