*** this blog was posted inMarch 2017 and I decided to repost it today because everything I said in it hit home, actually, for me today when I got a ridiculous review for a book of mine that isn’t out yet. The reviewer stated she didn’t finish ( DNF) the book because she couldn’t “get past the explicit content.” For a second I thought she must have put the wrong review up on my book. She really meant it for another book. I mean, explicit? ME??? Anyway…I’m really far down in the doldrums so I called this post up again to express my feelings. Let me know your thoughts about people being mean in reviews.***
I posted about this topic a few weeks ago, but it hit home for me yet again yesterday when I was reviewing another book I’d been given through Netgalley.
As I do, I read the other reviews posted that are either listed on the Netgalley page or on GoodReads
to get an idea of what other people think of the book. The reason I do this is to see if I’m totally off the mark with my opinion of the work – which I can be, no lie – or if I somehow missed something along the way that would make me not like the book I’m reviewing.
So. The book I read was really pretty weird. The story was told in three voices, all with their own consecutive chapters. Luckily, the names of the person “talking” appeared on the heading of each chapter, so at least I knew whose Point of View ( POV) I was in. The story itself was a depressing tale of family secrets, murder, and abuse. It was billed as a “suspense/mystery.” Well, I didn’t think there was any suspense, and I figured out the “mystery” 50 pages into the book.
Now, when a story just doesn’t resonate with me, I simply give it a 3 rating ( never less) and don’t write a review. This way at least I rated it in the middle of the curve ( 1-5 stars) and I don’t have to write any negative comments.
Not so much the other people who reviewed it – and I say “reviewed it” in the lightest sense. 10 ratings/reviews were posted ( not including mine). 6 people rated it DNF for did not finish, and then went on to explain why they didn’t. Every one of those explanations was….brutal. Really. Nasty, harsh, and on the cusp of bullying-speak. The other 4 rated it between 1 and 2 with equally critical words.
All I could think was this book was published by a big-name publishing house by a moderately well-known author who probably had an agent ( who read the book before sending it out to publishers) and editors who also devoted time to it, thinking it was worthwhile to publish.
Why? What did they think was so publishing worthy about the story that this random sampling of readers did not?
Out of 10 reviews, plus my own rating, no one had anything good to say. What did this do to the books’ sales? What did this do to the author’s ego? Or sense of writing-self? I agonize over those answers because I’m a writer, too. I hate when anyone says anything derogatory or uber-critical about my words. I know I should let it flow – like water off a duck’s back – but I can’t! My ego is so fragile, (and God I hate how that sounds!) but it’s true. I don’t like to hear bad things about my creative babies.
I wonder how the people who write such nasty, negative reviews would feel if someone they didn’t know wrote something really horrible about them, or something they did for a living? I really do.
And that question is what keeps me from writing a scathing review.
So…if you see my name attached to a review with a 3 rating, just know the book didn’t resonate with me as its reader. But it may with you….just saying
When I’m not losing sleep over reviews you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr
8 responses to “And oldie, but a relevant topic. #Reviews, #Comments, and saying “Not Nice” things.”
Thanks for the thoughtful post, Peggy. I agree that it’s hard to leave a bad review and so much easier not to say anything.
I sometimes make an exception when the book has a big name publisher and claims to be something its not, as in the example you shared. Although it’s easy enough to give reasons for not liking the book without being a bully. I’ve had my share of bad/stupid/bullying reviews, where it doesn’t even sound like they read the book I wrote. So I understand when I read a bad review of someone else’s book that it’s an opinion that may or may not match my own experience.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Katie – I agree. I’ve read horrible reviews on books I’ve really loved. Everyone’s taste is different. I just wish people would be kinder in their criticism. I had one reviewer give me a 1 rating and then state I wrote the wrong book! Honestly. But it was her opinion, so I didn’t fight it. But a 1?
I appreciate your post Peggy. For me, your thoughts translate into life in general.
I tend to be very analytical; it is just the way my brain works. Unfortunately it sometimes comes out sounding “judgey”. What I have been learning to do is make the words I use to describe my analysis more constructive. I’m probably about 70-30 on this to the win side and feel awful when I’ve hurt someone’s feelings unintentionally. But the hurt remains, intentional or not. I spend a lot of time trying to repair the damage, hopefully with compassionate people with a capacity for forgiveness. I’m working on increasing my win percentage daily.
Your post is a great reminder that even in day to day living, I have to grade on a curve. People are doing the best they can and who am I to judge?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Amanda – even in everyday life we sometimes find ourselves saying things that are interpreted the wrong way – not the way we intended them. As I’ve aged I realize sometimes it’s better to think about my reply to something than to just do the knee jerk response I’m prone to do.
I find it difficult to leave a bad review too. If I don’t really care for the story, I will leave three stars review. Most of the time I only leave a review for what I deem a four or five stars story. And I agree, just because the story did nothing for me, it doesn’t mean it won’t touch someone else. Reviews are our opinions and thank goodness we don’t all think alike.
Sometimes, I feel those reviewers who leave nasty comments like to do so. They somehow feel empowered by tearing someone’s work apart. Even knowing this, I find it difficult to just let it go. I may have dozens of wonderful reviews, but that one negative review makes my heart ache for a long time.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Karen I agree completely. I too, think sometimes those nasty comments are from just really nasty people who probably have nothing good to say ever!!
LikeLiked by 1 person
I do the same thing, Peggy. If I don’t like a book or some of the things in it bothered me enough that I wouldn’t give it a 4 or 5 stars, then I simply don’t review. There’s enough negative in this life and we don’t need more. And who’s to say that someone else might not love the same book. Obviously the publisher did.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Kari – that’s the way I fell, too. Obviously, a publisher and an editor, and possibly an agent loved it, so it resounded with them…just not me. For whatever reason. I have to remember that when I read my own reviews, too.