I’ve actually written part of this post a while ago and then abandoned it because I wasn’t happy with how it turned out so I’m going to try again. I don’t know if it’s just me being more aware of what’s going on in the bookish community or whether things are actually changing. Only weeks ago I talked about how things were going with the international reviewers and now it seems we’ve got more to talk about.
As an introduction, there are some incidents that triggered this discussion. And I initially wanted to discuss them in more detail, but I don’t want to make this a negative post, so I won’t. I’ve heard quite a few stories of authors attacking reviewers over negative reviews they’ve written. Over the years, I haven’t heard much about these kinds of incidents, but I’m well-aware that I haven’t been as attentive to them before.
I have moved all of these authors that I’ve heard about to my no-way list on goodreads, and I refuse to support them so if I’ve reviewed any of their books, I’ve removed these too. If you want to talk about any of these authors, or any other authors that have attacked reviewers, feel free to email me (go to the contact page in the menu) or contact me on social media.
On Negative Reviews
I’ve probably said this before, but I’ll say it again: negative reviews are important. Being able to express positive thoughts as well as negative should be the standard in this community. I want my reviews to be honest, and I will always write a negative review if I think I need to. I’m not saying everyone needs to write negative reviews or that you’re a bad blogger if you don’t, not at all. But for me, it is really important.
When I started out with blogging, writing a negative review felt like I was personally attacking the author. They put so much time into something and then I came along and told them it’s bad. That does not feel right. But, over the 1,5 year I’ve been writing reviews on a weekly basis, I’ve come to realize a few things: if you write a negative review it doesn’t have to attack the author at all; reviews are not for authors, but instead should be used as a way of recommending or not recommending books you read.
My reviews are always honest, but they’re not harsh or brutal. If I didn’t like a book, I’ll say that honestly, but I will also always be decent and nice about it. And that’s, in my opinion, the best way to write a review, be honest but nice. It is always important to realize that just because you didn’t like the book, it doesn’t mean nobody else will and that we all have different tastes in books.
On Authors and Reviews
My blog is my safe space. It’s where I can write about everything that I want to write about, including my thoughts on books. The good and the bad. For me, it is really important that I can be honest on here (and on other platforms) without getting attacked. I have luckily never been in the position where an author attacked me for my thoughts on their book, but a lot of others have been.
Reviews are for readers. The goal of my reviews is to talk about my opinions on a book and help promote the book (if I feel it’s worth promoting). The goal of my reviews is not to make authors feel good or bad about their work. Therefore, I think, authors should not even be reading my reviews or any reviews in general. Sure, if they really want to read reviews, they can, but then the least they can do is NOT comment on them. Authors should not engage, no matter what their thoughts are on a review.
This is vital, because if authors were to comment on reviews at all times, the honesty behind the reviews would disappear. And if the honesty disappears, the trust of the people who read the review would too. I think people read my reviews because they trust my opinions, and if they can’t do that anymore, why would they read my reviews?
As a reviewer, I want nothing more than to make authors happy, by writing positive reviews, but that’s just not a healthy way to write reviews. We put authors on a pedestal, we look up to them, which is great, but if they turn their back to us, that can be really scary and traumatizing, especially for newer bloggers.
I think the book community and authors should treat bloggers and reviewers with more respect than we currently get. I don’t mean this in a petty way, not at all, but I get the feeling a lot of people in this community do not realize how much work and effort we put into our blogs and reviews. I love being a blogger, and I love reading and reviewing books, but it’s not all rainbows and unicorns.
We’re not just a free promo team, even though we do pretty much everything for free. Because we want to. We like to receive ARCs in whatever format and review them to help with promotion, to help authors, but we’re also just people. People from all over the world, with opinions, that work hard on our blogs, and it would be really nice if that could get a little more appreciation every now and then.
What’s your opinion on this? Do you value negative reviews as highly as I do? Do you write negative reviews/thoughts in reviews? How should we solve this issue with authors invading reviews? How can we make this community better and more positive?
If you want to talk about any of this in private, you can email or dm me on twitter/instagram at all times.