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To review or not to review.. this seems to be the question. #MondayBlogs

 reviews are for readers

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.

book-loveFraternization 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.

I'm In Charge HereIf 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.

bad-eggs-in-the-bunchSo 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.

30 Comments

  1. Very well said, I’m sorry that you’ve had to deal with such ridiculous behaviour. I’m also sorry she didn’t come after me as I’d have sent her a pic of my boob and told her to suck it. I love you my weirdo, never change because the way you are is fantastic

    • LOL I Love you too.

  2. Kriss,

    I am so sorry that this woman has been such a terror to you. And unfortunately, there are many like her. But the vast majority of indie authors are professional and desire an honest opinion of their work.

    The review may hurt, but most of us look hate the 1, 2 or 3 star reviews that don’t have an explanation, because we don’t learn anything from them. Kudos to you for taking the time to detail the reasons you didn’t like the book.

    In fact, I was going to request that you review both of my books after I read your column last week. My thought was, wow, Kriss will provide a review that I’ve earned, can trust and of which I can be proud. But I see from this column that you no longer take review requests. I can appreciate that stance if you’ve had to face this kind of abuse from other authors, as well.

    This quote by Eleanor Roosevelt fits the situation perfectly, “Do what you feel in your heart to be right-for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”

    If you love reviewing, then keep reviewing. And do it on your terms.

    PJ LaRue

  3. I love this post – well said! I have been saying for a long time that Amazon is not a writers’ critique group, it’s an online book shop. Reviews are to advise the reader. I don’t give bad reviews simply because if I think a book is crap I stop reading it, but I would defend anyone’s right to do so. As you say, stupid idiots having tantrums because someone dared to say their book was not that good is getting a bit OLD. What they need to do is spend that energy trying to make their material better, instead.

    I’ve got a few bad reviews. That’s okay. Some of them I’ve learned from. I know one writer who publicly slammed a book reviewer who had given her time freely and at his request, for giving him a 3* review. I publicly slammed him on Goodreads about it, too, the pathetic idiot!!!

  4. ….. and I’d like to add that I often argue with writers who throw the word ‘troll’ at someone who dares to give their book a bad review. A troll is someone who deliberately causes mischief and hurt to people via the internet. A bad review is usually from someone who just didn’t like your book. MY attitude is, if you don’t want opinions, don’t put your books for sale on sites where the public are invited to give them.

  5. Hi Kriss,
    This is a really great post, it is such a shame that people have forgotten their manners these days and think that it is ok to be rude and impolite to others.
    With social media being so instant people write with their anger, before they allow themselves to calm down and think about a review they have read.
    The human nature of freewill makes us all different with our own opinions and it would seem that many people are being brainwashed and left unable to remember to be individuals.
    I am the reviewer that Terry Tyler spoke of who was recently slammed and bullied by an author whom I gave a 3*. It upset me badly especially when it continued over a couple of weeks, but I stood by my review, blocked the author on Goodreads and Twitter and refused to engage in his vile e-mails. I did get an apology eventually after Terry and others supported me and I am very grateful for their support.
    I forced myself to look at the bigger picture, this loud aggressive individual was just a drop in the ocean of all the other really lovely authors who I have reviewed books for and who support my blog and other social media. These are the authors who I call my friends and they are so much more precious and valuable than one rotten egg. That egg was a stinker but that’s all I will allow it to be.
    Be strong and carry on reading and reviewing if that is what you love, I’m sure there are many, many authors out there who really do appreciate everything that you do for them.
    Rosie

  6. Love this post. I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with such unprofessional authors. Honestly, not everyone is going to like a book and a bad review doesn’t necessarily make the book bad, but if authors are so hung up on the “every review has to be good” mentality, they learn nothing. Bad reviews serve two purposes: potentially helping the author learn so that he or she can write better next time and helping other readers figure out if the book is for them (which you mentioned). I’ve bought books based on negative reviews before because I liked the things the reviewer didn’t. As an author, I’d rather someone not buy if they dislike the same things you (or someone else) did, because I don’t want anyone to waste their money. And heck, if I’m getting a bunch of bad reviews that say the same thing, then it’s definitely time to retool!
    In the end of it, all reviews are valuable in helping guide consumers and that’s the point of them.

  7. I got one, two and three star reviews for my first novel, as well as four and fives. The low ones were fine by me as they gave constructive criticism or in one case, just didn’t like the story. Partly my fault for giving it a somewhat misleading description.I preferred the fours and gives but all had paid their money and were entitled to give their opinions

  8. One reason it’s tough to get reviews (as an indie author) is because of the behavior of some indie authors. I’m tired of seeing readers suggest that we somehow “police” each other. The only thing I have in common with most other people who are self-publishing is that we are all self-publishing. I have no control over someone else’s decision to push the publish button, harass a reviewer or anything else. The problem is so much really is at stake. Reviews do make a difference in sales and with so much stuff out there, they are hard to get.

    With all the paid services offered to indie-authors, I wish Amazon would add one more. I truly wish they would pay a panel of reviewers in different genres to review — under protected pseudonyms. These reviewers could be assigned randomly with the authors paying a review fee. As with other schemes, the authors would be paying for an honest review, and if the review was negative, the authors could choose not to have it posted. What would be the advantage of such a system? If the author didn’t get a positive review, he or she wouldn’t feel publicly slammed and would have a choice whether to use the review. A positive review would show readers that a reader-reviewer in their genre liked the book. The reviewer would get paid by Amazon and have no reason to lie to please an author (who would have no access to their “true” identity).

  9. Apparently Traditionally published authors do this too. I think it has to do with the insecurity of the creative ego. Not that it’s fair. I’m so tired of all of it. I go out of my way to try and thank bloggers and be nice to them but the people who are awful ruin the fun for everyone.
    Pav

  10. Wow! This post has given me a lot to think about. I’m sorry you’ve had such a bad experience with certain authors!

    I was particularly interested in what you said about folks who post only good reviews and politely refuse to review books that would get low stars and whether that skews the review pool for readers.

    As an author myself, I know how hard it can be to get those first reviews and I’d like to do a few reviews as a way to give back to the author community. At the same time, I feel that, being an author, it would not be my place to a bad review and publicly criticize colleagues. Thus, the 4 stars and up only rule was my compromise. Yet, even that comes with some negative ethical implications, as you mentioned, namely a glut of good reviews only. To review or not to review and how to do so is a tough call.

    P.S.: Hi from #MondayBlogs!

  11. I’m an indie writer and reviewer and I once had a “friend” of the author flame a review I left that was three stars. I had mentioned that there were too many unconnected story lines, and the “fan” inferred that I was too stupid to understand complexity of a well-written story.

    I responded to the fan that I was so thrilled she had a different opinion and that she should be sure to write her own review to make sure the author saw it ;)

  12. This subject by its very nature is difficult. Reviews are subjective not objective. Math is objective; there is only one correct answer. There are standard ways to put a plot together, standard paragraph structure, and sentence structure…but whether or not someone likes the topic, setting, characters… Well, we all have different tastes, likes, dislikes. We authors need to have thick skin and realize not everyone will love our characters, plots etc. That is life. We are all different. It is my obligation to ensure my book is well written not that it suits the readers’ reading tastes. There is no qualification to review a book other than reading it and having an opinion. Obviously, some reviewers are far more insightful and experienced than others. Writers must not act unprofessional if they are to publish, and perhaps reviewers should refrain from reviewing genres they admit they dislike.

  13. It is just awful when authors can’t put on their big girl or big boy panties and deal with negative reviews (or less than 5 star reviews, seeing some of the quotes you shared) in a mature and professional manner. We reviewers are not paid for our opinions – they are our own and we should feel that we have the ability to freely express them on our blogs. When that goes away and we feel the need to be censored, how can readers believe a book review?

  14. You know, this surprises me. It’s like author 101, but it happens all the time and I’ve been hearing about it happening more and more.

    Admittedly, when I received my first bad review, I wrote a blog about bad reviews in general. It wasn’t mean or or anything, just matter of fact, only because I felt the reviewer was being nasty as opposed to offering a helpful critique of the book. However, I would never comment on a bad review. EVER.

    That said, once upon a time I thought rude, snarky reviews where the blogger called the author awful names and such were out of bounds and of no help to the reading community whatsoever. But as a seasoned veteran now it doesn’t bother me anymore. Getting bad reviews is just part of writing books. As writers we hear it all the time. “It’s subjective.”

    These are opinions. Besides, it gives the book balance. Yin and Yang. Who cares? There are no books with all 5 star reviews.So someone hates your book. Big deal. Get over it. Spend the energy on the people who love what you write. They’re the ones you should be focusing on, writing to, Tweeting to. They’re the ones that matter.

    If you HAVE to say something to that blogger that wanted to throw your book against the wall (I’ve had many bloggers want to throw mine against the wall, I now find the image of my tiny book in shambles on the floor after hitting the wall hysterical) tell them you’re sorry they didn’t like it and hope they won’t judge all your books by that one and offer to send your next release.

    But honestly, you shouldn’t comment at all.

    • That is why I specifically stated reviewers who are just posting to be mean and directing at the author are not included in this. Both reviewers and authors behave badly, the difference is many of these reviewers don’t have the same branding and focus as authors. I know I do, I have a brand a large readership and I better be not only honest but I best be able to backup the good and the bad I am saying I found. Need to say something, say thank you and move on.

      • I totally agree with you. I’ve seen both behaving badly. I’ve seen writers truly trash their careers over it and bullying done on both sides. Victoria Schwab just got bullied all over Twitter by a writer and fans for posting an unfavorable review of a sci-fi novel. Being a writer can be a cruel business. We have to have thick skins or it will tear us apart. Just keep doing what you’re doing Kriss. You can’t please everyone. Ignore the haters, focus on the fans. You have a lot of supporters.

        • Thank you Megan, and everyone. We just have to remember to support those who are not and perhaps try to calmly discuss behavior with those who maybe reacting instead of responding. I did two critical reviews this summer on the blog and the other author thanked me and said she was sorry I did like the book. She was shocked at my popularity. Her comment to another mutual friend was she would be stupid to say anything and she was thrilled because she got sales. This author in question sold at least 100 books (I track my reviews in correlation to sales). Probably more than she had sold in a long time as her rank was well over a million and in the days following it went up to 30K sales rank. Not bad for a one star review. GOOD OR BAD reviews on blogs with traffic sell books.

  15. Comments from a suspicious account were removed. It’s called cyber harassment legally, look that up Tech Dude.

  16. Thank you for showing us how to support your opinion, especially when having to write a less than complimentary review.
    I am always suspicious of books that ONLY have 5 star reviews.

    Thanks also for letting us know to perhaps think twice before agreeing to review for authors who don’t appreciate an HONEST opinion. I especially like reviews where the person explains WHY they rated a book (or product) as they did.

    Having written a few 1 and 2 star reviews myself, I did feel bad about it, but not about being honest.
    I have had authors ask me why but not harangue me.

    If the same author made more than one harrassing post or email to me, I might start sharing their responses along with my reviews.
    Let the public see how mature that author is.

  17. Well said! Some writers don’t seem to understand the role readers and reviewers play in this process and that they are as important as the author because without them, they might as well stick their manuscripts in a drawer or just hand it out to friends and family. There seems to be a sense of entitlement among (especially new) authors. They seem to think that just because they can upload their manuscripts to be read by others, that those others should thank them for doing so, and paying authors is something they deserve and woe to those who think they’re not getting value for money just because the author thinks it’s sheer brilliance or that it’s vastly entertaining in their own heads.

  18. I have an honest question I would love to get answered. I don’t know how many times I have heard reviewers say something along the lines of “if an author publishes their work into the public arena, even if it’s free, they have to accept that I, as a reviewer, have the right to give my honest opinion of it and they should keep their mouths shut…”

    I agree with that statement 100% for what that’s worth. But what I always wonder about is how that applies to the reviewer. Is what’s good for the goose good for the gander in other words?

    If a reviewer posts their review in a public arena and an author doesn’t like what they’ve written doesn’t that author have the same right to comment on the review and point out where they don’t agree with the reviewer?

    Why is it okay one way but not the other?

    • Because there is no logical stop to it. The artist puts out there work, no matter what your goal in your writing is you put that out. It used to be it was informed information, the review, and it used to be more deconstruction and literary critique and now it is different. If you want to speak out against reviewers, your time is done. You can discuss and do pre-reads. You just cannot go screaming back at somebody “no dumbass you don’t get it”. If you are going to go back and critique the reviewers there is no valuable end.

      How do you bash someones opinion? How do you prove someones opinion is wrong, it is to subjective. There is no way to dismantle it. The piece of art/book/music may have a personal statement in it but unless it is a book about someones opinion or whatever (usually non-fiction). But if we start to go back and forth to counter and critique the reviewer. Again no… logical end. Sigh, I understand what you are saying but truthfully we are not in the same creature corner. Authors are authors in their area and their books are consumable products. My review is perhaps consumable but it is not a product. .. like cheese… New Coke… etc…

      Not to mention we are not peers, this is not our peer group. We may mingle and are dependent on each other but one produces and the other consumes. Should a chef come out and argue with the costumer because he just did not understand the point of caviar in his chocolate mousse! Not peers… at any rate.

      • It seems like the self-publishing boom has created this feeling of “otherness” between the two groups, but I think authors and readers are more of a single peer group than it might first appear. I know that I have personally never met an author who wasn’t also a huge reader.

        And I agree with you that the author’s book and the reviewer’s review are both consumable. I would go farther and say I think they are both consumable products being offered to the public by their creators.

        A book (especially fiction) is the creation of the author’s opinions, learning, beliefs, and world-view presented within the structure of a story. A review is the reviewer’s opinion of that story which was formed from the reviewer’s opinions, learning, beliefs, etc and is presented in the form of a review. In that way they’re quite similar.

        The other point that is often used to differentiate the two is payment. But payment can’t be the deciding factor as to whether a work should be review-able. There are plenty of free books on Amazon that have scores of reviews. So obviously the fact that no money changed hands doesn’t mean that a book should be off-limits as far as reviews go.

        For that matter, many reviewers are in fact creating a product in as much as they receive rewards from reviewing. Some are top reviewers at places like Amazon and receive products free in exchange for an honest review. Others participate in groups like NetGalley or post their reviews on blogs that feature ads and therefore create income from their reviewing.

        It’s such an interesting problem to consider. I totally see your point that there’s no logical end to it if authors are allowed to be honest when replying to public reviews. You’re right that the logic of the thing requires that it could go on forever that way with each replying to the others’ reply until in the end they can’t even remember what the book was actually about.

        So having agreed that your point is valid, I still feel badly for authors who have their work reviewed in a public forum — and perhaps feel that some part of the review was unjustified — but aren’t allowed to respond in any way. It doesn’t seem fair that reviewers get to say whatever they want and authors aren’t allowed the same liberty.

        Honestly, I think the biggest problem is a general lack of civility. You, for instance, have been nothing but gracious and I could debate the thing all night long as it is fun to talk to someone who can make their point without becoming an ass. :-)

        Really, it seems to me that both the author and the reviewer should be able to discuss the book in question, the review of that book, the latest episode of So You Think You Can Dance, yoga pants, and the weather — all without either side making personal attacks.

  19. Very well said and I have seen this all over the internet about authors behaving badly. I have only had one incident and it was minor really and she said her piece and that was that..and I gave her a three star and people were commenting on how they would pick up the book!

    I also look at the 1 and 2 star reviews first then move to the three stars to see if I might want to purchase it. I do look at some of the 4 and 5 stars but I never let them persuade me. I also know that not everyone is going to love a book. I also never believe a review that is not at least two paragraphs in length and give valid reasons for why or why not they gave it such rating.

    To be an author you have to have very thick skin and if you can’t hack it then you shouldn’t write. Even very popular authors get negative reviews. It’s a part of being an author. It pains me to see indie and self pubs authors acting so badly because it makes it really hard for those who have great books get reviews. Bloggers are claming up and not taking on those review books because they don’t want to get hassled. I very rarely take them on any more because of all the things I have heard.

    I have given out some DNF and two star reviews but have been lucky enough to not have been bombarded with author rants. :) *knock on wood*

  20. Thoughtful post. I’m not a fan of authors who harass reviewers OR readers who leave one star ratings for hundreds of books on goodreads. Like you said, both groups detract from the professionalism and fun of writing and reading. That sucks that you had to endure stalking behavior from authors.

    Authors receive a huge gift from readers who take the time not only to read a book, but then to articulate their thoughts about the book in a review. Writing reviews takes time! Of course readers will have subjective opinions, and seasoned authors know they can’t please everyone. Hopefully after absorbing the initial sting of criticism, authors can use that feedback to improve their writing.

  21. Hi Kriss.
    You clearly put a lot of thought into your blogs and reviews. We authors need more honest and articulate bloggers like you. I’m sorry you got stung by negative feedback. You are entitled to your honest opinion, and clearly you aren’t one of the trolls deliberately trashing books and authors on Goodreads. I understand your reluctance to get back in the game. But I hope you will return to reviewing. Either way, may the joy of reading and writing return to you. Don’t let anyone take that from you.

    Wishing you all the best.
    ~Ariella Moon

  22. I rarely give 5 star reviews. Not everyone writes Gone With The Wind or The Lord of the Rings. Most books I read are 3 to 4 stars. So when I find books that are worthy of 5 stars, I trumpet them everywhere. As a percentage, that’s 80 to 100 and many of those are closer to 80. And when I find a book that is awful, and wish I could give it 0 stars, I just forget it. 1-2 stars is a failing grade. 3 stars is a C. Average. Meets Expectations. I don’t feel that is bad. nearly all pulp fiction is 3 stars. It is simple, uncluttered, escapist reading and there is certainly a great demand for that. And I certainly don’t give a book an extra star because I like the author. Just ask any of my friends. Personally, I am thrilled with a 4 star review.

    I always remember: You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

  23. So much this! I run The Review Hart, which is a book review blog where we review indie books in an entirely honest fashion. The amount of vitriol we have received from this is absolutely absurd. These authors submit to us knowing that we only write honest reviews, and yes that does include 1 stars sometimes.

    I have a list of authors who have sworn to leave me a spiteful negative review on my own book to be released in a couple of months, after I dared give them 3 stars or less. We’ve had groups of the author’s fans rallying around us, and the best bit? One particular author and her fans devoted a good 3 months to ruining my name and reputation as a developmental editor. They did everything in their power to ruin my business, all because I spent some 20 hours writing an honest, insightful, 3 star review.

    It’s absolutely wrong and quite frankly pathetic! I refuse to back down. These authors are killing it for the rest of us, those of us who act like professionals and conduct ourselves as adults and business people. I am being entirely blunt and honest about my experiences as a reviewer and I’m calling out the authors who do this. I’m fed up of them making it so much harder for the rest of us. They are destroying the hard work that the good indies put in to build a solid reputation.

  24. The lowest I have ever rated a book was three stars, and I have only did that a handful of times. I always give four or five stars, but only because I truly enjoyed the book and personally felt that it deserved that many stars. I am actually pretty easy to please when it comes to books (I am just, plain and simple, a bookaholic), and I feel like I should have a warning at the beginning of my reviews sometimes so that those reading it know that I am so easy to please! I never rate a book with a rating I do not truly believe that it deserves, though.
    What bothers me when people give a book low ratings is if they are just truly being mean (because there are people out there who do that). If you have not even OPENED the book, how can you rate it one star and say it is crap? You have to at least TRY the book before you can rate it, in my opinion. There is also a tactful way to say you disliked a book and why you disliked it. I hate to see reviewers trash the book and author without class.
    One last thing. I must disagree with you (and the quote) when you say that reviews are for the readers, NOT the authors. I believe that they are for both. Obviously, they help readers who choose to read the reviews decide whether or not they want to read said book. But I believe that the authors can benefit as well, and not only by possibly boosting sales. If reviewers are saying that they do not like X in the book, the author can try to address that in future books (if it is something that would pertain to other books).
    I am sorry that you had such a rough time with some authors. I have thankfully never experienced that, and hope to never have to. I hope that your wind comes back to your sails soon!

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  1. Accepting Bad Reviews Part of Being an Author - […] Yesterday, my friend Kriss Morton wrote a blog in which she wonders whether it is worth it to continue …

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