Dear authors, I can dislike your book if I want to! – My Ity Opinion.

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!!

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0 thoughts on “Dear authors, I can dislike your book if I want to! – My Ity Opinion.

    1. At the end of the day I pity any author that comes after one of my reviews UNLESS I have:

      Attacked them personally (assuming they arent a racist homophobic misogynistic hate mongering narcissist in which case, bring it)

      Or have misquoted, misunderstood or misunderstood said something in factual (I would like to believe unintentionally and they come to me respectfully as an adult).

      Otherwise, they come at me with the air of… change it, fix it, make it better or etc…? They are going to find their comments screen shot and posted publically because enough is enough and I will not be bullied. I dont review DNFs. When I have a bad review it can be snarky but it is rare and I dont believe it crosses lines. I dont tag authors unless the review is glowing. So if it is negative and they come for me? They sought it out which meand- put your big girl pants on. Otherwise I’m exposing you because this shit has to stop.

      We are given ARCs with an understanding. We invest time and alot of it. And in a lot of cases money we dont have. We are not paid and I will not be bullied or change a damn thing less I feel there is valid reason to so I can sleep better at night.

      Ok rant over. Sorry.

        1. I’m not sure how who or what started this idea and with the one case I wonder if the publishing company is aware of it bc I cant imagine them being ok with it.

  1. I totally agree with you. I’m an author fyi, and I’ve seen some nasty arguments around in the past.

    In the end, it comes to professionalism. While a negative review can hurt, at the end of the day it’s on the author to shrug it off and continue writing.

    It’s shocking how people can’t handle a negative review. I write for fun, so frankly a negative review doesn’t really hurt me much. It just means that person doesn’t necessarily get your writing the way you wanted them to, and that’s okay. They just aren’t your target audience.

    Everyone deserves a voice and opinion, good or bad. 🙂

      1. Thanks! Yeah, honestly, reviews aren’t the biggest part of being an author. It should be about doing what you love, and I think a lot of authors get caught up in the wrong direction.

  2. I read a lot of books I don’t like and I review accordingly with objective, and, hopefully, constructive criticism. Honestly, if I had an author attack me for my opinion I think I would consider amending my review…. but not to change my opinion. Instead I think I’d let my readers know the author attacked me for my opinion. Creative people have to understand that not everyone will like what they create. I don’t like every painting I see, I don’t love all the music I hear, and I don’t love every book I read. But others WILL like the things I don’t. If creative people expect everyone in the world to love their work they are in the wrong business.

  3. Reviews are supposed to be for the readers, not the authors. Yes, the purpose is to help readers find books they want to read, which can turn into sales, but they are not for the purpose of boosting an author’s ego. Having published a book, it is incredibly difficult to see the less than glowing comments, but, again, those comments are not for me. I would NEVER comment and request someone change their review even if I thought they were wrong.

    I have seen at least one specific instance of a person attacking a reviewer that posted a negative review. It wasn’t actually the author doing the attacking, but a friend or family member. This makes the author look bad as well. As far as I’m concerned, the author loses all credibility when their readers get questioned or attacked for reviews that aren’t positive and the author stands aside at lets it happen or is part of the problem in the first place.

    When writing reviews, positive or negative, I don’t just state “I did/didn’t like this” but try to articulate why. If a reviewer is just saying “This was crap” without trying to give a reason then that can be viewed as malicious, but it is still their opinion and is valid. I do also review books I’ve DNF’d because I normally have a reason why I couldn’t finish and I share that reason. About half of the books I DNF’d were because they weren’t noted as being a part of a specific genre I don’t like to read, so I felt it was important to share that information with other potential readers.

    Reviews and ratings are already not completely representative of reader opinion because too many people won’t leave a rating or review if it was below a 3 for them. Some won’t give a 5, either. If authors or their representatives start pushing away those people that are willing to review honestly, either direction, you are going to have an entirely useless review platform that only serves to benefit authors.

  4. A very well written and -reasoned post. I do not write negative reviews often, but when I do I take absolutely no pleasure in doing so, just like any other book blogger.
    Book bloggers write honest, unbiased reviews, and authors should recognise that one person’s opinion on a book is likely to differ from another, and not to expect universal acclaim. There is no obligation for bloggers to write a positive review just to please the author, and it is not cool for authors to call us out simply for being honest.

  5. This feeling seems very common at the moment, and as an amateur blogging-for-fun kind of person it’s made me almost afraid to have a negative opinion.
    I’ve still been writing both good and bad reviews though. What’s the use of a dishonest review? I state my reasons and try to be balanced, although I do worry about impassioned snark being taken as a direct insult. We can’t love everything, and books with only 4/5 star reviews don’t always give the bigger picture when there might be content another reader would find less to their taste (as you say, blurbs/reviews not mentioning that it’s a certain genre/trope).
    It can be difficult to know how to spread the word about things you love, all the while hoping you aren’t going to have to keep your head down for your own safety and/or wellbeing. Call out serial trolls by all means, but some of us are just gruff ol’ billy goats of the opinion world.

  6. This is such a great post! I absolutely agree with everything you wrote here–just because I may not like your book doesn’t mean that others won’t. Sure, some people may change their mind about reading a book based on a review, but we’re all capable of making our own decisions at the end of the day. I’ve seen many mixed reviews for books that I’ve been wanting to read but whether I chose to still try it out for myself is my choice. I understand why authors would get hurt by negative reviews, the book is their ‘baby’ after all, but I also think it’s naive to believe that putting it out there won’t result in people having differing opinions or that all the feedback will be positive. I review books because I enjoy sharing my thoughts with others and discussing common/diverging thoughts on what we’ve read, but I don’t feel obligated to leave a review (obviously unless it’s an ARC) whether it’s positive/negative. But if I do have to leave a less favorable review, I try as much as possible to state my reasons clearly and also politely. Again, a great post that gives much food for thought 🙂

  7. Great post, found you through The Write Read on Twitter.
    I’ve been writing reviews for five years now but only prolifically for the last few years. I’ve yet to be asked by an author or publisher to change my rating. I have declined to write reviews for ARCs due poor quality of writing and plot content but I always contact the author and explain my reasons in private.
    Bullying and bad-mouthing from either side should never be acceptable practice.

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