I’m not a big fan of controversy, so though I’ve read a few posts on this topic, I’ve avoided it on my own blog until now.
One of my favorite blogs recently posted about the subject, and when I started writing a comment on her post, I realized I had a lot more to say than I originally thought.
So, I’m finally biting the bullet.
After all, typically, my blog is a pretty light-hearted place. I mean, I read primarily romance novels and I have a butterfly rating on each of my reviews that rates the butterflies books give me… It’s all pretty flowery over here most of the time. LOL!
However, I do have a pretty strong opinion when it comes to this particular topic: reviewers giving books negative reviews.
The great thing about this topic is that every single reviewer (whether you have your own blog or you just write reviews on sites like Goodreads and Amazon) every single one of us has a right to our own opinion on the topic of negative reviews: whether we post them or not, where we post them, what books we give them to, etc.
There are a couple of things I’ll say, right off the bat, on this topic
First, I am not a fan of people who give negative reviews that are intentionally mean and/or snarky.
I’m not a fan of trolls in any form, so it is no surprise that it makes me really uncomfortable to read negative reviews that bash an author or readers that like a book, even if there is humor involved. No matter how popular the book is… but even more if it is a book by an indie author.
I’ve stumbled upon quite a few reviewers that do this regularly and I have avoided them since. Because, frankly, it makes absolutely no sense to me why someone would read a book that they know they won’t like just so they can write a snarky review.
Maybe someone can explain this to me so that I understand? (I’m not saying that sarcastically, I’d really love to understand why people do this.)
Second, I don’t like it when reviewers give higher ratings to books just because they were given to them by authors or publishers.
Trust me, I get it. I know how difficult it is to give a low rating to someone who gave you a book in hopes that you could help promote it, but it does a great disservice to those of us who are reading your reviews for honest recommendations. I’ve seen this enough times now that I’ve started to go into reading reviews of ARCs with a certain skepticism… or I avoid ARC reviews entirely.
Personally, it’s because of my own discomfort, that I rarely review ARCs unless I fully, truly think I’ll love the book. I mean, there are so many amazing books out there — why waste my time reading books I know I won’t like?
I state very clearly in my review policy that I will be completely honest in my reviews WITHOUT bashing or being intentionally mean if I don’t like it. I also explain that I may not even post the review or finish the book. I receive the ARC in exchange for a review CONSIDERATION.
Also, I know that there are reviewers who do not post their reviews of books they didn’t like at all and that is completely fine. Again, it’s a personal preference and I respect everyone’s choice.
As for me? If I don’t like a book, I’ll tell you.
I look at it from the angle of a reader of reviews. Obviously, I expect (I almost wrote “hope,” but, no, I definitely expect) that the reviewer is 100% honest no matter how they come by the book.
Reviews, to me, are much more for the readers than it is for the author. It isn’t about making the author happy, it’s about helping readers decide what books to read.
To me, negative reviews aren’t about telling a reader not to read the book… it’s telling the reader what you, personally, didn’t like about the book in case they have similar tastes. That doesn’t always mean that the reader will share your opinion.
In fact, I discovered a new favorite author and a new favorite series by reading a one star review of a book.
This reviewer absolutely hated this book, but as I read the review and she talked about what she didn’t like, all I could think was, “That book sounds AWESOME!” Then I read it, and subsequently bought every single book in the series and spin-off series.
Now I’ve found a new favorite author… thanks to a one-star review.
At the end of the day, your blog is your blog.
It’s your choice whether you post your negative reviews or not, I just hope that you understand the authors and readers of the books that you don’t like are human beings, too, so mocking and/or bashing them is pretty lame… no matter how many likes or comments you get if you do it.