Friday, January 25, 2019

DISCUSSION | Hesitancy Posting Negative Reviews


Hello everyone and welcome back to my blog! I'm Genni, and today I'll be doing a discussion post about guilt over writing negative reviews. If you are unaware, I'm participating in a discussion challenge this year, hosted by Feed Your Fiction and It Starts at Midnight.

When I write reviews, I try to be as honest as possible and write about the good and the bad. But when a book is mostly bad for me, I always feel a little hesitant about posting the review. Today, I'm going through the reasons I am hesitant, and why I shouldn't be. 

So why do I feel a little bit guilty writing negative reviews? Well, there are a couple reasons. 
  • I feel doubly disappointed when I don't like an ARC. Knowing that the publisher gave me a copy of a book after I requested it makes the not-liking it just a little bit worse. 
  • I've had authors comment on my negative reviews of their book. This not only makes me feel very uncomfortable, but also reminds me that authors can read and might read these posts. I try to remind myself that authors are people separate from their work, and when I critique a book, it isn't critiquing the person. 
  • Coming off too harsh. I don't know if my humor actually comes across when I'm slinging gifs left and right trying to explain my exasperation. But also, why am I so worried about coming across like a bitch when I'm just trying to express my opinion? 

While I am hesitant to post negative reviews, there are plenty of reasons to write them as well. Here's the couple that I came up with:
  • Books are subjective! What one person loves, another person could hate. I think it's important that readers get every opinion, that way they can make an accurate decision on whether they think they'll enjoy the book or not.
  • Every opinion should be respected! If I write a negative review on a popular book, I shouldn't be worried that people will be hurt or rude because our opinions don't match. This goes the same for publishers. If I'm writing a negative review on an ARC I received, I shouldn't be worried that the publisher won't approve me of other books. In fact, negative reviews of arcs show that I'm an accurate book reviewer and I don't let the way I received a book impact my thoughts.
  • They're humorous! I actually like reading negative reviews more than positive reviews. Negative reviews have such intelligent quips and sass, and I'm here for them.
  • We don't owe publishers or authors anything more than an honest review. Authors and publishers are looking for honest, in-depth reviews. My reviews, the negative and positive, are just that.

So for this year, I'm making a goal. If I don't like a book, I want to be as unflinchingly honest as I can. I don't want to beat the bush or minimize my faults; I want to give my negative opinions just as much merit as my positives. Let the negative reviews commence! 





Have you had any hesitancy about posting negative reviews? What do you like the most about negative reviews? 

Thanks so much for stopping by and I'll see you soon with another post!

Happy Reading!

Genni @ Ready, Set, Read!

16 comments:

  1. I’ve also had authors comment on my reviews. It freaks me out so badly! It doesn’t happen often enough that I’m nervous to post negative reviews, but I do think about the author when I’m writing the review.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. Yes, it makes me so uncomfortable. I had one review where I mentioned that I wouldn't be continuing with the series, and the author commented on it. I felt so bad I almost read the second book, even though the first didn't do much for me. Thanks for stopping by AJ!

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  2. I posted a negative review of an ARC the other day, and it suuuuuucked because the book has the POTENTIAL to be so good, but it was like it just didn't get fully edited and through a good editing and rewrite process. And it was not the author's first book, or even the first in the series, and other reviews of others in the series made it sounds like this author's other books had similar issues. In this case, I kind of hope the author reads the reviews and goes to their editor and goes "Hey, I think maybe we need to look at what these reviewers are saying and get another set of eyes on this, another round of edits." BECAUSE IT COULD HAVE BEEN SO GOOD, GENNIE. /headdesk But I still felt really bad giving it a poor review.

    When I post a poor review, I tend to just post on Goodreads and retailer websites, and avoid posting reviews less than 3 stars on my blog. I also make sure I don't tag the author in negative reviews (because that's just rude...)

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    1. I feel like writing an ARC for a negative review is even more disappointing because ARCs have such potential! They're the ones I'm really looking forward to. At least your review and others are being completely honest, and it seems like there's an overarching theme there! Here's hoping that the author or their editor or someone important sees that multiple reviewers keep having the same issues!! Don't feel guilty! Think of your review as an opportunity for the author and their team to realize the issue and produce a book even better. :)

      I do post negative reviews on my blog, but I never tag the author! Creating is such a personal thing, and even though my critiques are on the book and not the person, I know that it's easy to take critiques personally.

      Thanks so much for stopping by Elley!

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  3. One of the big parts of being granted early access to a book is for an HONEST review, and if you didn't like it, you didn't like it. I do feel that some of the negative reviews I read are simply someone being ranty without offering an real reason for why the book didn't work for them. They come off as vague. I don't finish books I dislike, and therefore, you won't really find negative reviews from me, but your opinion is your opinion and you are entitled to feel however you want about a book even if someone doesn't agree with you. However, I never go after reviewers who disagree with me, because I really believe in what I stated in the previous sentence.

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    1. Hi Sam! Thanks for stopping by. :)

      I try to find that sweet spot between ranty and substantive, but I haven't quite found my sweet spot for negative reviews yet, unlike my favorable reviews. I think that's another reason I'm more hesitant to post them; I like the majority of the books I read which means I write more positive reviews than anything else! I totally agree; I don't think reviewers and bloggers should be rude to each other just because their opinions aren't the same about a book.

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  4. I actually sometimes find it easier to write negative reviews than positive ones! Sometimes I am a little hesitant about posting a bad review - like, should I just be positive and highlight books I loved? But we're not going to love every book we read, and if I had major issues with a book, I would want others to be aware of possible issues before they tried the book.

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    1. As someone who loves reading negative reviews, I say go for it! I also have that feeling though. I don't want to spread negativity on my blog, but I see negative reviews as a way to show honesty above all else. It's always nice to read a negative review of a book, even if you end up liking it, because it provides a different perspective!

      Thanks for stopping by Angela!

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  5. Okay I completely thought that I was the only one who enjoys reading negative reviews more than positive reviews! Now I feel so much less awful :) I agree totally: negative reviews are actually so fun to read! I have the same types of hesitancy, though, as well. Mostly I feel awful about writing negative reviews for R&R's or ARC's where I've established some sort of relationship with the author/publicist, however brief. I keep hearing from the publishing world that they do still appreciate negative reviews (because honestly who trusts a book with only positive reviews?) but I still feel awkward writing them and then notifying the author/publicist.

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

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    1. Hi Laura!

      YES negative reviews are so fun to read. I mean, it would be wonderful if everyone loved every book they read, but it sure is entertaining when the don't. That's a big reason I'm hesitant too, because both sides were hoping the reader would like it and talk about the book on the blog, twitter, etc.! Still, I think the publicist or author would rather have a detailed and honest review instead of anything else.

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  6. I laughed at "They're humorous". You are not wrong. The reviews I enjoy reading the most are the negative ones because they make me laugh so much.
    I agree with pretty much every point you've made here. Not everything is for everyone and one person's trash is another's treasure. Everything is subjective so I just try to lay out why I didn't like it and leave it up to everyone else to make up their own mind. Sometimes the things that someone else dislikes about a book make me read it for they are traits I like (and vise versa!).

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    1. I'm glad to know someone else agrees. :)
      I love that - "A person's trash is another's treasure!" Very accurate, lol. There are so many tropes that I stray away from that other people love, so I completely understand! Thanks for visiting Nicci!

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  7. This is an amazing post, Genni, and I completely get where you're coming from. Negative reviews always make me hesitant even though I post them for all the reasons that you mentioned and have been doing it for years. When it comes to ARCs, I always request in the hopes that I WILL like it so I can shout at the rest of the world to read it as well but sometimes that isn't the case and I know another reader could have liked the book and I basically took their copy? I don't know.

    I've had a few authors comment on negative reviews, though very rarely, and it was super awkward because I have no clue what to say? Sometimes I'm sure their intentions are good (like giving clarity), but for some reason to me it ends up coming across as a little defensive when I'm only critiquing the book itself.

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    1. Aww thank you Sophia! I do always post my negative reviews, but there's always that hesitancy before I hit publish on blogger. When I request ARCs, it is mostly because they are some of my most anticipated reads of the year, so I get where you're coming from; I request it because I'm sure excited about it!

      Yes, authors commenting on reviews is so awkward! I have no idea how to respond. I also get a bit defensive. Like you said, I'm sure their intent is fine, but it almost seems like an invasion of the professionalism of reviews.

      Thanks for visiting Sophia!

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  8. Hi Genni! I still struggle a bit with hesitating to post negative reviews -- in the past I even avoided writing reviews for books I knew I didn't like. At the same time, honesty is truly the best way to go, and most people who read reviews (hopefully) keep in mind that reviews are subjective, and even though a reveiwer may have completely bashed a book, another could adore it -- and vice versa. I guess the only way to find out whether you'll like a book or not is by reading it yourself. ��

    Great post!

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    1. Hi Zoie! Thanks for stopping by. :) I love everything you said here; reading is so subjective and varies for person to person. While negative reviews make me a bit wary before picking up something, I never know until I try.

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