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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Book Chat: Negative Reviews & Author/Blogger Relations

So. This is the longest, ramblingest video I've ever made.  It's hard to discuss this without just devolving into aarchghghchshakfjdkvI.
So, uh...if you do a response, good luck with that...

Book Chat lasts all month, so you've got all of February to respond if you're so inclined. 
Looking forward to your thoughts and responses!

If you have suggestions for March's topic, please let me know in the comments! =)


  1. You? Angerbomb? Naaaah....lol.

    I'm definitely pro-negative review as well. I do try to be a bit respectful in what I say, but I'm going to be honest no matter what. To me, that shows credibility. But I'm not a sugar-coater. Ask the kids who got stuck with me in critique group. I'm a red pen QUEEN. Lol.

    I will admit that I frequently dislike writing negative reviews (I'd much rather write about something I enjoyed) but I don't see myself stopping anytime in the future.

    "All gushing is pretty much the same, but there are a lot of creative ways to say you hated something." -SOOOOO true! Lol.

    Also, I have to say that I've definitely decided to read a book before BECAUSE it got a negative review. Often, what a reviewer points out about what they liked/disliked about the book gives me a good gauge for how I may or may not enjoy the book.

    And YES! I think we need to differentiate between book bashing and author bashing, and review bashing and reviewer bashing. When people make it personal is when it gets really ugly.

  2. Pretty sure I love you.

    Like, a lot :)

    (I think I might actually reply to this one... We shall see :) I know for sure that I will have a much longer comment after I finish the video :) )

  3. Just a little note: I love the way you talk. You speak so... I don't know... eloquently? Haha!

    Great topic! I've definitely been seeing a lot of things about this issue and I think you addressed it perfectly. I am also pro-negative reviews, because as you pointed out, writing only positive reviews is like cheating yourself. As a reviewer, I am always honest and I think sugarcoating is being almost traitorous to whoever reads your review. There always needs to be a balance--some people gush and some people rip a book to shreds. I'm okay with both.

    As to the author/agent-reader/reviewer relationship... Ah, it's a toughie. Basically, it's like, if you're an author, once your book is published, it's not really utterly yours anymore. It's also the readers' and so they can say what they want and the author shouldn't mess with that. Like you, I understand that authors have the right to be sad or offended, but that doesn't necessarily mean they should say something about it.

    Reviews should be based on the book alone. Not on the author. Authors' counterattacks should be on the review alone. Not on the reviewer.

    Thanks for the awesome post, Misty! Basically, you took every thought that swam in my incoherent mind and formed it into a well executed video. :)

  4. Natalie - That's something I've heard a lot too, and found myself to be true. There have been plenty of times when I've read a review where the reviewer hated something that was actually what convinced me to read the book.

    Ashley - Pretty sure I love you too!!

    Sophia - A "well-executed video" that made me want to rip my hear out...
    Also, whenever I say something completely ridiculous, I like follow it up with "Cause I'm eloquent and shit"... ;P

  5. Love your video! I think you bring up a lot of great points, and I'm glad you shared them with us.

    I don't have a blog, but I like to do small reviews on sites like GoodReads and Amazon. Quite frankly, I just don't have the time to run a blog and I'm not the best writer. LOL. I like to leave the writing up to the authors, but I always do my best to write a fair and honest review to give them some feedback.

    It's hard to be honest when a book isn't very good. I remind myself of how I feel when my work has been criticized in the past and how bad I felt. That doesn't mean that I think I should sugar coat a book to spare someone's feelings, but more that I try to think of a way to constructively offer feedback on what I liked about the book and what could have made it better. I think there have been 5 books in the last 2 years that I couldn't stand, and so I put in my review that the book wasn't for me and I couldn't get into it. I gave some reasons why, and left it at that.

    It's just bad behavior to personally attack an author, a blogger, or anyone because they shared their feelings about something....but...I don't think someone should be heartless and cruel when they offer their opinion either.

    I've seen and heard about some of the crap that you have mentioned. It's disheartening, and I don't want to be involved in any of it. Maybe it's just me but I lose respect for people who go after people like that.

    Sometimes, a 'bad' review makes me want to read a book, and sometimes 'bad' behavior makes me not want to pick a book up.

  6. There are a few reviewers on goodreads that I ignore for the simple fact majority of their reviews are 1 or 2 stars, and the reviews themselves to me at least come across as unnecessarily rude and malicious.
    I saw one where the authors personal looks were attacked which what the authors looks has to do with the book I have no idea.
    Anyway, I know for me I hate writing negative reviews, I feel bad, if it's a book I was sent for review, I will review no matter what. If it was one I bought for myself and didn't like it, I'm less likely to review it.
    I do try to put a positive spin on my negative reviews and I like to end it with something I did like about the book, and encourage people to read reviews from others who liked the book.
    Overly negative reviews where they are just bashing the book and there is no real "meat" as to why they didn't like the book that is a problem for me.
    I think it's the book not the author that should be reviewed. The issue last month was wrong the parties involved both have valid points but I think that the community took it and blew it way out of proportion and has fed the fire.
    That whole thing should have been taken care of in privet, pick up the phone and let off steam don't take to Twitter, Goodreads ect.
    I tend to write more positive reviews for the simple reason that I tend to only buy or request books I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy. What I really is hate is when reviewers know they dislike an author but continue to buy and review their books for the purpose of writing a negative review. It's pretty sad though how it's easier to be negative then positive.

  7. I'm loving the word "angerbomb." I will be adopting that one.

    Negative reviews really do always get the most comments/feedback - on the blog and Goodreads. I LOVE what you said about there being a lot of creative ways to say you hate something. Very well said.

    I can sorta understand the people that only write positive reviews - they think that negative reviews discourage people from reading. I don't think that is true at all. When I write a negative review, I always assume it'll encourage people that aren't bothered by the things I mention to read the book anyway. I never assume (or hope) that my negative reviews will make everyone decide never to read that book. That would be thinking a little highly of myself :)

  8. Sobs, this is totally what I needed.

    I'm a relatively new blogger (like, less than two weeks into that strange, new world) and after my initial shock, I noticed that quite a large number of bloggers tend to avoid writing negative reviews. I was surprised to see the books, that have quite harsh reviews/ratings on Goodreads (or wherever else), are being gushed over on blogs.

    That made me quite upset, in fact. Mostly because my very first review I posted on my blog was a negative one. And now whenever I see the book I wrote the negative review about being praised up to the heavens by bloggers... I'm not sure if I fit here.

    But I must admit that I like chatting with authors, reading interviews and (honest) reviews, so I won't give up that quickly.

    Honesty doesn't mean being rude, and I think that as long as reviewer repsects the author and vice versa (I saw some Goodreads drama recently, involving an author/agent calling names a reviewer who wrote a negative review, like... how old are we here?), we're all good.

    And I am SO SORRY for writing this long, useless comment. I'm just an anxious first-timer, I guess. ;)

    Cheers and thanks for this post!

  9. I really agree what a lot of you said here! I've never participated in Book Chat, but I think that tomorrow I'm going to do a video response! :]

  10. A difficult topic to discuss these days but I think you handled it very well. I am both a reviewer and an author. I write both positive and negative reviews. In both cases, I support my arguments with evidence from the book. I try to be as clear as possible so that the review is actually beneficial as well as (possibly)entertaining.
    As an author you gave me something to think about when you said that once a book is published it belongs to everybody. I never thought of it that way before. I have always 'invested' in what I read. It's weird to think that readers 'invest' in what I write.

  11. Misty:

    I agree with you. I support negative reviews. And like you I'm not surprised negatives are more popular. In fact when I'm shopping for most things in life (books, travel, clothing, home decor, etc) it is the negative reviews I really seek out. And ultimately I can't tell you how many times reading the negative reviews has convinced me something IS actually for me.

    I don't write many negative reviews because I only permit myself to write one when I've actually finished the book. If I abandon it, I mark it as so and make a quick note why on Goodreads. If I finish it, then I definitely will say why it didn't jive for me in a light and respectful way.

    Amen on balance. I don't particularly like blogs were the reviews are negative all the time.

    "Books are interactive" = I like that!

    "It's a big world baby we can alll have our opinions." = AMEN!

    GREAT video.

  12. Oh Misty, you are my favorite. Forever and always. I love the cursing. I love your poise. I love the opinions. I agree about the negative reviews being a necessity. I agree that everyone has different opinions. I just love this whole vlog and watched the ENTIRE video, which FYI I rarely do if it's over a certain length of time. Great job, yo!

  13. Thanks for the topic Misty! I was glad to discuss/think about this. I've linked up!

  14. I like the idea of 'Book Chat' I hadn't heard of it before. I found this from Sara at Just Another Story.
    I'll try to take part next time. Love the idea. :D

  15. I like your video Misty! I've never participated in a book chat before and I'm so excited to contribute. I think negative reviews is something people should be open minded about.

  16. This is an awesome topic for a Book Chat, and definitely something that needed to be put out there. I linked up my response!

  17. I loved your video, Misty. I added my link to the Linky...I guess it's late, ::shrugs::

  18. Hey I hate to sound like such a fussy pest, but I just wanted to correct my name on the list it's nxleepresents with an 'x' there. And my name is spelt N-H-I if you wanted to know. But whatever the case, thanks for bringing that topic up because it really DID bring about a lot of people into it. (:

  19. Hi Misty, I know this is late, but I only just got directed to your vlog. Whilst I'm new to both book reviewing and blogging, I completely understood the points you made - and much the same happens in completely different areas of the Net too.

    Something from "real" life that may be of use in this discussion is the concept of evaluations as taught by Toastmasters International. The watchwords are honest, kind and useful. The aim to help the evaluee to grow and improve.

    I try to bring these concepts to my reviews: honest (what's the point in being otherwise; kind (no author bashing, justify the comments - use examples) and useful (praise the good bits, explain what about the not-so-good bits I didn't like).

    Whilst I agree that sugarcoating is not helpful, sometimes I feel I need to remind the readers that the review is, at the end, just my opinion.

    I have also found that discussing points directly with the author can work - just being respectful and polite helps...thinking about how I would feel if someone said something similar to me.

    Anyhoo, before this becomes as long as your very eloquent video (I did Latin too!) thanks again for addressing the subject in a balanced and thoughtful way.


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