Recently I’ve seen a lot of fellow book bloggers facing an issue of authors ‘attacking’ them for giving low star/negative reviews on their books. It seems that these days it’s common practice to have an author try and force a review to change their review to make the book look better. So for today’s post I thought that I’d just give my opinion on this trend that seems to be on the rise and why I think it’s extremely unhealthy, for the blogger and the author.
Let’s dive in.
When a book blogger chooses to review a book, speaking as a book blogger, our goal is always to give a positive review. I don’t think any book blogger out there goes out of their way to give bad negative reviews intentionally. That’s just unheard of. But the fact of the matter is that some books aren’t good, to me. Does that mean that someone else can’t like them? Of course not. We are all different, we all like different things when it comes to books we like. If a book blogger gives a review that is three stars, or is ‘negative’ in the sense that they didn’t like it at all. That is their opinion. One that they are fully allowed to give.
As an author, I would imagine a negative review hurts, but the first response shouldn’t be to demand the reviewer change their review. It shouldn’t be to bash them as if they are terrible people simply because they didn’t like your book. Not everyone is going to like it. It’s just the fact of writing a book. It will appeal to some people but it will never ever appeal to EVERYONE. There will more than likely be a group, big or small, that don’t like it. Learn from that, find out what it was they didn’t like. Engage with them to maybe make notes for the future. Or simply thank them for trying to read your book and giving it a review at all.
A negative review can still get people to read your book because they may want to know if they’d like it or not. Not everyone reads a negative/low star review and swears off the book. I know that I don’t. I don’t know how many times I’ve read a book that people hated and I loved it. Or that I’ve hated and people have loved it.
The main concern with this to me as that book bloggers aren’t going to want to give negative reviews, which means that they aren’t showing their honest opinions on books and we already have to deal with the stigma that because we get books for free we can’t possibly be honest about that book. The author/book blogger relationship is intertwined. People aren’t going to want to read books from authors that go around bullying reviewers into changing reviews. People aren’t going to want to read nothing but overwhelmingly positive reviews of every book because that isn’t believable.
I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t had any backlash for anything that I’ve posted that wasn’t completely positive. I also haven’t read a book that I really didn’t like yet, most of those I just stop reading and if I DNF a book, I don’t feel that I can actually review it. That isn’t fair. I can talk about why I DNF’d it but I can’t give an actual review. I do, however, know that if anyone ever tried to talk shit about me because I didn’t like their book, or tried to get me to post a better review would leave a bad taste in my mouth for the process.
I’d have a hard time enjoying this anymore. I don’t want to see that happen. But there is a strong part of me that will just let it roll, tell that author no and remember not to support anyone that tries to impinge on my freedom to post my opinion, regardless of whether they like it or not.
Bottom line is there is a problem. I don’t know where it stems from, I don’t know why it’s becoming a thing but I know that it needs to stop. And if authors won’t stop then us book bloggers need to hold our heads high and not let them ruin what we love doing. They don’t like it? That’s okay. They don’t have to, and they can’t make you change anything you said in a review. There is nothing wrong with giving a book low stars, or just not liking it and listing the reasons why.
Shame on the authors that do that. Let’s all just be adults. Don’t like the review you got? Move on to the next, don’t let it bother you. Don’t like a book that you read? Don’t be afraid to say so. But don’t be a jerk about it either. We all know how hard authors work to get to a place where they can sell a book and make a living.
You can post about not liking a book but also be positive about it. Bashing of any kind is just childish and we all need to remember that. This includes those that tag authors in negative reviews. It’s one thing to have an author seek you out, but if you put them on blast with a negative, of course they are going to be upset!
So what do you guys think? Am I off the mark here? Do you agree or disagree? I’d love to hear from you!!