To review or not to review.. this seems to be the question. #MondayBlogs
What do you do when you finish a bad book/read and you are a book reviewer? Do you bother taking the time to write a review? Most of the time I think we don’t. Partially because we don’t feel like putting in all the time it takes to construct and gather all the info to create the post not to mention writing the review, at least the book bloggers I know do so. In writing this post I did a poll for reviewers and authors, see the end of the post.
We all have experienced the bad negative review, the one with no merit. There are folks out on sites such as Goodreads who just rate and/or review books at 1 or 2 stars. I would not put them into the same column as honest reviewers, in fact I believe I would call this a form of sociopathic behavior but who am I? If I buy a book and there are 100 five star reviews and no one seems to have read the book I just read, well I am bloody well going to review it. I look for honest reviews and feel cheated when I buy a book based on these reviews and it is crap. Truthfully I read the 1 and 2 star reviews first and usually base my decision to purchase based on the 3 stars.
It is not my responsibility to stroke the egos of authors. I am just this chick in a cabin who because of a disability and a love for reading decided to write reviews on her wanna be foodie blog. I blather on, I rant, I have fun at times with gifs but above all I write from my heart. With the onset of Indie and self published authors the game has changed. Traditional publishing had buckets of folks taking on the readers, regulating the connection, moving the line along at author signings at the local Barnes & Noble. Now days so many authors fight to get noticed and the engagement between readers and themselves has muddied the waters. I think this maybe one of the serious problems. Perhaps both readers like myself and authors need to step back and think about how we engage with each other.
Your book is your baby. You slaved at it night and day and you should take care of how you present it to the world. It is not free it takes time and it is a marathon, not a sprint. A book should be ready to go and read when I buy it. If there are typos, grammar mistakes and obvious editing issues that I notice as a reader it draws me out of the damn book. Well that is the fault of the authors, publishers, type of editing or a combination there in. Geoff was right that it is your fault and responsibility if I don’t like your book. However, when I review it is not about whose fault it is but it is just that the book did not do it for me. It’s just one other opinion and you know what they say about opinions. Indie authors behaving badly and reacting to bad reviews are killing the industry. I have heard over and over again about how hard it is becoming to get reviewers in the Indie world. This is why I choose to review this woman’s book. She mentioned it more than once on Twitter and I thought why not give her book a shot.
Fraternization in the work place is frowned upon in most traditional arenas. With the onslaught of social media the valley separating consumers from the authors is no longer so wide and deep. Sure it is a different type of fraternization, but this rule was created for a reason. Authors hold a position of power with readers. We fall in love with their worlds and stories and no matter how small or large their fan-base is they still need to remember (even if the reader is a friend) to respect those boundaries, not to cross the valley and muck up our realm. Maybe we need to think about that before throwing a temper tantrum or bitching up and down Twitter and Facebook because you got a bad review. Sure it hurts but you need to remember who it is OK to talk to and when you should zip it and go drown your sorrows in a jar of pickles or whatever your vice is.
If I have to take into consideration feelings being hurt, what is the point. I have read several authors who read and review also point out they only post positive reviews because they don’t want to hurt feelings. Or they send a post to the author as to why they could not review or choose not to review. Sure I know a lot of authors in the industry but a year ago I stopped taking review requests because of badly behaving authors and needing to protect my own thin hide. If I buy the book I should not have to worry about anyone’s feelings, for crying out loud. I am reviewing the book, not the author. It really is getting old.
I find it curious that a posted one star review has caused so much of a fuss. I guess I am wasting my time reviewing? I had an author say that reviews are just bullshit fodder anyway and reviewers are empty-headed fangirls. Ummm really? Well this is because there are not many honest people who take the time to deconstruct the reasons why the book earned a 1 or 2 star review and those of us who do? We are considered bitches, bullies and trolls.
I treat every author the same and I always ask myself, should I review? How about knowing when I posted the one star review on my blog I almost pulled it off of Triberr because………….. I did not want to cause a fuss, well that should have been a clue. If I am worried about ruffling feathers maybe I should not be reviewing, and on that note every author, reader and commenters who said they only write four and five-star reviews? Maybe they should stop too. What is the point? Reviews are for the readers, NOT for the authors. I want HONESTY so I can make a decision whether to spend up to ten dollars for a book.
So the question is still there, to review or not to review. You may have noticed I have not been posting as much and mostly it is because the wind was taken out of my sails over the last two weeks. I knew there was going to be flack with the review but I did not expect for two weeks a woman would be going nuts still and throwing lies and calling me a bully and a troll when they are the ones spewing ire all over the net. But she is just one example of many authors doing this.
As authors, it is up to you to regulate your behavior in this age of social media. Just as I am responsible for my behavior. It is up to me to not be a douchebag too, and believe me it is really hard to hold my head high and not spew it right back. But I don’t want to be one of those reviewers. The most you should do no matter what is to say, “Thank you” and move on. Don’t be part of the ever-increasing bunch of bad eggs.
I did a poll on this and here are some of the answers from reviewers and authors. The answers have been rather interesting. The really interesting thing is for those who tour they feel pressured into giving a positive review. It is very true, I know it is the same for me. I also have been bugged because I did not review the book. Also 26 out of the 32 people who answered said it has affected how they choose to accept review requests. The following are from my poll members and not my responses.
★ I gave an author a 4-star review. It should have been lower, but I felt for the author. Well, the author took offense that I used the word “discombobulated” when describing his book and he proceeded to attack me in private via email as well as several public forums via Facebook.
★ Author I gave 3.5 stars for stalked, belittled and harassed me for not giving him a full 4 stars.
★ Another author that I’d already spoken to about issues with his book was really snarky about the review I left. We were already on bad terms at that point, but he was a horrible misogynist, so I didn’t care much.
★ I was contacted by an author whom I had given a not very good, but fair, review, with a flood of personal abuse and whining. As the author claimed he was only a child, I spent time writing him a long letter about how he could improve his work and why he got a critical review from me. This resulted only in more abuse, and I also discovered that he was not a child at all but a man in his 40s. The abuse continued and I was forced to block him. I did not alter or take down my review.
★ I don’t review often enough to run much risk.. and I’m a softie. Oh, and I tend to smell stinkers from far enough away that I don’t tend to read em, or find cause to give any particularly low ratings.
★ Wasn’t the author but other “fans” of the author who didn’t like what I said.
★ I had one author refuse to talk to me or review my work after I left her a 3 star…
★ I have written a few reviews where I absolutely hated a book. I very rarely hear from the authors. But I have recently had one not name me but claim I never read the book and call me names. I personally was more worried about some of the things she said about the person she actually named. I could have cared less about what she was saying about me. I think that authors should thank a reviewer even if it is a bad review for at least taking the time to read their work. I don’t think you should review a work and call names or attack the author but I also don’t think the author should attack either. When I find things really ridiculously wrong with a book I get angry and sometimes I say that I think it is the authors fault for not getting it right but that is merely my opinion of how I felt when I read it. I think sometimes walking away from an irate author is the best defense but will fully admit that at times I want to get in there and say my two cents when someone acts ignorantly.
★ N/A but I do review books (on Amazon) I have either particularly liked, or particularly disliked. Not so much in between.
★ One of the first books I reviewed on my blog, I requested from net galley. I didn’t care for it and thought some of the ideas ridiculous. The author stopped by my blog and said I was the only one who left a negative review and that I didn’t understand the book. I was so shocked because I felt at the time like I had done something wrong.
★ Me no, friends yes…..so makes me leery of posting a negative review or even having an opinion.
★ One author was unimpressed by my 3 star and attempted to ‘correct’ my review through several long-winded emails. It never went public, but it was an all around negative experience. After a few back and forths in which I expressed my continued belief that was under no obligation to defend my review (which was actually higher than the 2 stars I had initially planned to give it) I began ignoring his emails and he went away.
★ One reviewer keeps mentioning that my covers ‘don’t do the book justice’. She gives me 4+ star reviews, but then says she doesn’t know how to categorize the book, nor who to refer it to. I’m so very tempted to ask her what kind of book cover WOULD ‘do it justice’ when she doesn’t know how to categorize the book, nor why she likes it, nor who else would like it, but I know I should just keep my little mouth shut and let her have her opinions.