On book reviews & author’s reactions

Monday, August 24, 2009

I was reading the blog The Worst Review Ever – brainchild of awesome YA author Alexa Young – and I was thinking about the books I’ve reviewed and how the book’s authors would have seen those reviews, about Amazon reviews and about reviews on other blogs.

To authors I have to say: If you get a bad review, don’t react. You’ll regret it later on. If the bad review is on Amazon, it means nothing. Many, many people have rubbished To Kill A Mockingbird on Amazon. Most of the people who post negative reviews of wonderful books can’t spell to save their life. These reviews don’t matter.

To reviewers and bloggers: When you review, take into consideration that the author may read the review. By no means does this mean all your reviews should be positive. Remain unbiased, but try and think about the book from another person’s perspective (if you are not the intended reader). Keep it constructive, and never be mean, or insult the author (Like “A. Author should be shot for writing this tripe” = BAD). You can be honest to your readers AND be kind. Usually, if a book reaches the point of publication, there must be some merit to it, for that many people (agent, editors, marketing people) to believe in it.

If an author does react to a negative review – and sometimes they will – this does not mean you should change your review nor should anyone say anything bad about anyone else. First of all, consider your review. Is it just? Or have you been nasty? Always consider what you’re posting on your blog for the world to see, especially if you’re saying something negative.

You might have noticed I haven’t reviewed anything negatively on this blog (except for Twilight, but that was a bit of a joke). I do note the things I like and don’t like about a book. I haven’t reviewed anything negatively, because all the books I’ve been asked to review so far I have enjoyed. I’ve read lots of other books from the library and that I’ve been given, and some of them I haven’t enjoyed. But those books aren’t YA (I do read a lot of smart, grown-up people fiction, mainly because I’m trying to be worldly, and I’m just not) so I don’t review them.

I want to ask book bloggers: Have you ever written an atrocious review and regretted it? Or written a nice review about a book you hated because you didn’t want to hurt the author’s feelings?

And of course, authors with stories about their worst review ever should check out The Worst Review Ever.

It’s good stuff.
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