Sunday, April 24, 2011

Blowing Off Steam #1 - Reviewer Bashing!

This has been a hot button for me the last few weeks and something that I've either almost bitten my tongue off over or had to walk away for a LONG time out. You may agree with what I'm about to rant over or not - and that's ok because that's the beauty of having a personal opinion. This is mine.

Hands up how many times we've read a review and TOTALLY disagreed with it. Usually the reviewer has shared their thoughts over a book we absolutely adored or where we have a personal connection with the author. Reading the review, we can feel our hackles rising and we start to slip into attack mode - ready to defend the book/author to the death. But instead of addressing whatever issues were brought up or simply accepting this is one point of view, there are times it turns into a personal attack.

I've been guilty of this. I see a review and I think "Well the reviewer is an idiot. They're either insane or have no taste" I've seen others resort to name calling - "What a stupid bitch" "What a nut job" "What a freak" For my own part - I humbly apoligise because this is just horrible. Where the reviewer is most times addressing grammar issues, not connecting with story and characters or writing style of the author, the reviewer instead is being degraded and having their character defamed.

Why? Sure you have some reviewers who may start name calling authors and I say - sling mud to your hearts content because they opened themselves to it but what about reviewers like me who desperately have wanted to love the book but just wasn't able to. I recently asked that question - I'd given a 1 star rating so did that mean I was retarded? A freak? The lowest scum of the earth because I didn't jump on the "All Hail The Mighty Author" bandwagon?

If you're a reviewer like me you desperately try. You stick it out, you hope, you put down the book and come back thinking it's YOU so you do what you can to figure it out. When you eventually finish the book - you SWEAT over the review, trying to be thoughtful and constructive. Reviewers don't like shredding authors and books. I know I don't. We're asked to give an honest opinion and we strive to do it.

So, having said all that and after all the negativity that's been thrown around surrounding reviews and meltdowns, I was given a link to an article that gave an amazing perspective... one that I applaud because it shows the author has the right attitude. This is an author that gets it, that's able to see both sides of the BOOK fence and I wanted to share it with you all.

I loved that the author shared that it wasn't because the reviewer is a petty person that they gave the low rating review - they wanted to love the book, they wanted to join the party but they weren't the target audience. It's crazy to expect everyone, everywhere to love your book and find no fault in it. Scratch that - it's not crazy if we lived in a society where everyone is the same and we have no ability to think for ourselves. As an author, there are going to be people for whatever reason, that just won't get it. In the article, Locke says that's ok and I add my agreement to it. I always say - thank the reviewer for trying and move on. Focus on those that gush, those readers that enjoyed your book. If grammar was the stumbling block - fix it. Then keep writing because there are people who are anxiously waiting for the next installment.

Anyway, that's my rant and I feel better for having shared it. Here's the article for you to enjoy!

Bad Review by jpLocke

What’s that? You got a bad review?

Aww… It’s all right. No, really, I understand. Come on over, pull up a chair. Yeah, that’s right. Get comfortable. Are you comfy? Good. Here’s a tissue. Wipe those tears from your eyes. Yeah, that’s better. Take a deep breath. You’re gonna be just fine. Now listen up, ’cause I’m gonna tell you all you need to know about “bad” reviews.

Don’t take bad reviews personally.

Yeah, I know. Easy for me to say, right? After all, I used to knock on doors selling insurance! Not to mention I’ve been married 3 times! –I mean, what can you possibly write in a review that’s gonna hurt my feelings?

Someone made fun of Saving Rachel for having 36 1-star reviews. I can deal with it. It helps that Rachel is the #1 download on Amazon/Kindle and has been for the past week. Of course, this will change, and I can deal with that, too, ’cause it’s the natural order of things.

I never received a bad review until I hit the top 100!

In your book’s infancy, you’re marketing to friends, contacts you’ve made, and their contacts. Your book attracts readers by word of mouth. They like you, recommend you, and your ratings reflect it. As your book goes “viral” and works it’s way into the top 100 it attracts readers who never heard of you. They buy your book for different reasons: they like the cover. It has lots of great reviews. It’s a best seller. And these readers will love it, hate it, or forget it. If they love it, you’ve got another fan. If they hate it, they blame you and the folks who gave you a good rating. Doesn’t mean your book sucks, and it doesn’t mean they’re petty, hateful people.

To keep reading, click HERE


Carmel @ Rabid Reads said...

Great post! I full-heartedly agree and sympathize. It's all just water off a duck's back as they say!

Carmel @ Rabid Reads / Twitter

Ladybug07999 said...

So far . . since I have written a few reviews (now that I know how important they are to the authors), I haven't read a really bad book. Honestly just the one that I read, that I had a hard time getting into it. It wasn't bad . . just not my cup of tea (at the moment).

Then again, I follow your lead . . so, if you love it, chances are I will too. :D

the cautionary tale said...

part of being a writer is having an extremely thick skin. It applies to after your book is pubbed too. my background is costume design and my skin was already kevlar quality by the time I started writing.

BLHmistress said...

That is a fantastic article, I know there has been a few books that just didn't do it for me , I felt so bad when I didn't like it , I was like you and thought well was it me ? Could I have been in a reading rut?

But I found if I just can't finish I email the author and explain why and hope they understand I rather do that than post the DNF.

BooksforCompany said...

When l first started l used to just say it how it was as l never thought anyone looked at my blog!
Now l am more careful BUT do say what l feel, l know l want the honest reviews from other book blogs.
Thanks for this article, off to read the rest.

Trisha said...

I was reviewing a book by an author that I really like for a book that was so so to me. I wanted to be kind because I enjoy this person, but wanted to be honest about what I read. The reason I think it didn't click was because of my personal preference so I made sure to say so.

She said...

Being a reviewer, I know that I choose the books I review from the site. I choose what sounds good to me. I want to like everything I read but sometimes the blurbs are better than the book turns out to be. I try to say what I liked about the book and what I didn't like and why I didn't like it. I always try to read an author twice before jetting that author from my reading list because sometimes a book just doesn't connect with me but another one will. Reviews are subjective. It's one person's opinion and, as you say, not everyone likes the same things.

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

Great post. I hate giving bad reviews but if I give one, I want it to be constructive. I truly believe there is a book for every reader and a reader for every book. You just have to match it up.

Celine said...

Great post (: I completely agree.

I never like to write a bad review. If I didn't start a book with good hope that it'll be awesome, I wouldn't have taken the time to read through the whole thing.

It's a good thing there are negative reviews. That way potential readers can see for themselves whether they will like the book or not.

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