I’ve seen some posts around lately about people wondering if it’s kinder to not leave a review at all than one that is less than favourable.
Negative reviews ARE NOT personal attacks against the story or the author. They are not slanderous or cruel nor are they offensive. I’ve read those types of reviews and I think they’re not value adding. You don’t have to like a book that you’ve read. But I don’t think you then have the excuse to lash out and say horrid things just because you can. I see these kinds of reviews on goodreads all the time and they often seem to have hundreds of likes. I’ve read many and whilst some are clever in a bitter and snaky kind of way – I don’t feel like they’re helpful. Threats against the author or insulting them isn’t cool nor is it constructive. These kinds of review aren’t what I consider to be a negative review.
Negative reviews are those where the reviewer didn’t enjoy the story. They are often 1 or 2 star stories where the reader felt there were many things that didn’t work for them. I don’t write many negative reviews. Most of the time I can always find some facet about a novel that appeals to me causes me to enjoy the world that the author has brought me into.
That said – I see value in negative reviews.
There is the saying:
and it does apply to books. The things I couldn’t stand in one novel might be what makes it a favourite for someone else. I don’t like instalove but for someone else love at first sight might be the ultimate in romance. Not a fan graphic violence but a reader of my review might be looking for something vivid and brutal (okay – so maybe I haven’t used the best examples but I think you can understand where I’m going with this).
We don’t all like the same things. But I feel that if I can articulate why I wasn’t a fan of elements in a novel then others can decide for themselves if it appeals to them.
I’ve gone out and bought books based on one star reviews I’ve read from others. Why? Because they pointed out why the book didn’t work for them and it was those things that appealed to me.
I’m going to keep posting negative reviews. I’ll keep telling others what I loved in certain books and what didn’t work for me as a reader.
What are your thoughts on negative reviews? Do you post them? Do you read them? Feel free to leave me a comment telling me what you think – even if you consider my approach to negative reviews to be completely wrong. I love hearing what others have to say.