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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Soap box: Negative Reviews

I’ve heard (not experienced mind you) a few blogger friends complain that an author has ripped their heads off for a negative review of their book. Which of course to me, doesn’t sound very professional and it doesn’t really sound like the author was willing to take it as a learning experience either. Thereof, I’d like to ask what’s going on?

I’ve never experienced it directly probably because I posted very clearly, in my blog policy that there were strings attached to asking me to read a book.  I WILL be HONEST. BRUTALLY SO. I would think that was something any author would want regardless of good or bad. 

Let’s face a cold hard truth. NO ONE is perfect. There is no perfect book, no perfect way of writing, no perfect premise that is undoubtly flawless in its theory. 

On the other side of that coin, we are ALL individual and unique. What I like I know for a fact my BFF doesn’t. I have close friends completely opposite of me. What does this have to do with a negative review?

Taste, my friends. It’s all about what we like and don’t like. One of my closest friends has a bachelor’s in English and she is the most nitpicky grammar etiquette reader I have even met. She will tear a book apart by grammar alone. Another of my friends likes any book that keeps her entertained regardless of how it’s written. Me? I’m a steady balance of the two.

Now, that we’ve established everyone’s tastes are different, a negative review (or several of them) should be expected. They should actually be anticipated more than a positive review. I also think they’re more important than a positive review too. Why?

A negative review gives an author insight. It tells them this person read your book but didn’t like it because… Well, this is a perfect learning and growing opportunity. A negative review is like getting that C+ grade back from the teacher with a little note saying you could have done this here in a different way and it would have made better sense. 

Does this make the author’s book a bad book because it got horribly negative reviews? No. Not at all. The only thing that’s ever bad is if one ignores the lesson behind it.  What it does mean though is it wasn’t to the tastes of the person that reviewed it. However, when the author begins to write the next book, maybe they’ll think back and take into consideration the negative reviews they got on the last one. Maybe they’ll change the way they word something, or maybe they’ll write full backstories for their characters before having them interact with each other so they’re not cardboard cutouts. 

The point is this. Negativity is only negative if you think it that way. When a blogger takes the time out to read a book, that they’re really not required to read and it’s not on their TBR list they shouldn’t have their heads bitten off for providing a less than amicable review. It is constructive criticism that we hope you’ll take into consideration so when we read your next book, we can see that you’ve grown as an author. 

“Only a Fool thinks he knows what is best. A Wise man listens to advice.” –Anonymous

1 comment:

  1. This is true & luckily I haven't had the 'took my head off' experience yet..but so far I've only reviewed one book I didn't care for..so maybe I got lucky? :)