PSA: I Might Not Like Your Book And That's Okay

I'm making this post a sticky post because it keeps having to be said!


Sorry for yelling but seriously, it is okay if I do not like your book. I am but one person in a sea of readers. Most of who probably have better taste than I! There is no need to come on over to my review (or anyone's) at Goodreads and tell me how much of an idiot you think I am. It will not change my opinion about the book but it may change someone's opinion about you. A bad review is also never a reason To Start A Petition to force Goodreads to change their TOS to suit you.

I love books, I love authors, I love to read, to review and I love nothing more than to spread the word about books. But I'm not always going to like your book. In fact, I will probably dislike at least one thing about it because I'm a bit of a jerk like that and that's okay too. There are very few books that I think are perfect. The first one that comes to mind is Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. It is my comfort read. I have read it numerous times and it always makes me feel magical.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13872.Geek_Love?ac=1&from_search=true

I adore that weird book so much and, whoa, would you look at this!

Holy crap! Not everyone adores it nearly as much as I do. My favorite book in all the land has 1390 one-star reviews. Bastards! Some of those one stars are even from my bastard friends who must not be following my review rules!! But I still love them dearly and respect the fact that they despise the best book ever written. We are all different and totally entitled to have our own opinion no matter how contrary or peculiar or inconceivable that opinion may be to me.

So here's a little reminder because some people out there in bookland seem to have forgotten this:

Negative reviews are NEVER a reason to freak out.

Mediocre reviews are NEVER a reason to freak out.

Five-star reviews are NEVER a reason to freak out.

READER REVIEWS ARE NEVER A REASON TO FREAK OUT.  PERIOD.

Because some people take this all a little too seriously, I'm going to give you a little insight into a book crazy person's head. Or maybe just a crazy person. It matters naught. Most of the time I read reviews after I've finished a book and written my own review because I'm nosy and only really care about the last book I've just read. I'm self-centered like that and I'll freely admit it. I like to see what others thought and how my thoughts match up. I bet many readers do the same. Some folks give reader reviewers way too much power.

I also, as a rule, pretty much only read my friends reviews of books I'm considering buying. I trust no one else. I've been burned too many times and from my example above I noticed even my friends can't totally be trusted! So while reviews are great fun to read I do not think they are the end-all, be-all, final word on a book, on book sales, and on book exposure. Also, one reader review does not have the ability to "ruin" a career. That's just someone being dramatic.

These books are classic examples of books people loved but that burned me bad. I was sucked in by the overwhelmingly positive reviews and the "you've gotta read" comments and wasted both my time and my money listening to people who did not share my taste. One stars. All of them. I don't care what anyone else says! (you can read my crappy reviews by clicking on a cover)

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/159409115?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1Dark Prince by Christine Feehanhttps://www.goodreads.com/review/show/86121449?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/80527099?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/87141714?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/81750749Skinny Bitch in the Kitch by Rory Freedman

Perhaps there are people who have the time to sit around doing nothing but reading all the reviews written by everyone ever and being all judgy but most of us are not that person. We have books to read. This is what always blows my mind when an author has a meltdown over a reader review. A negative review is not a big deal to me, nor to most other readers. It certainly won't stop me from buying something (though ALL five stars might because that makes me suspicious that the writer is forcing their pets to write their reviews). We buy books based on many factors. Here's some free advice and it's totally worth what you're paying for it, on how to deal with a not-so-great, maybe not-so-nice review: Keep it to yourself! Forget you read it. Walk away. It's highly likely that very few people will even notice it! That's what I'd do were it me. Boohoo about it publicly, leave crappy comments on the review and maybe even threaten the reader with a lawsuit and you can bet we will all be running over to that review to rubberneck that trainwreck and we will remember your name and we won't touch your work with a ten-foot pole. Why would anyone do this? But yet they do and it always ends, well, awfully for the offended party.

So I say leave that one-star review alone. It can be a good thing! I kid you not. Here are some books I bought because a keyword in a review caught my eye and I had to know more! For the record, I ended up five starring all of these books (clicking on the cover will bring you to the gushy review).

             

"Vile!" (perfect!)


613605

"I want my $ back!"


"Too Much Sex"  (what?!)

Why am I posting this? Well, there was a little kerfluffle on Twitter over the weekend that reminded me that a reminder is overdue! An author took up the Anne Rice mantle and wrote up a petition to have GoodReads change their evil ways. Demanding they stop allowing people to write whatever they want to write (no "nasty" comments - who determines the nasty?) and disallowing them the ability to star books without writing reviews amongst other demands. She later backtracked and deleted her #AuthorsRiseUp account as well as the petition. But I saw it and quite a few others did as well. Oh also, here's another reminder that people sometimes forget. Once you post something on the internets, it is out there on the internets forever. Yes, even if you delete it. You can read the text of the petition here if you so choose.

http://alexandrasadventures.booklikes.com/post/1631056/yet-another-petition-for-goodreads-to-change-to-suit-entitled-authors

And that story about the lawsuit threat? I wish I could say that I made it all up but it's real. Yep, someone did that. Over. A. Reader. Review.

http://www.happyindulgencebooks.com/2017/12/30/the-importance-of-the-book-blogging-community/

Please remember I might not like your book and that's okay because reader reviews are never a reason to freak out!

Comments

  1. Great post! I loved it. It made me laugh and smile and I thoroughly support you. I know my fellow bloggers don't love everything I love and vice versa and you know what, visiting each other's blogs is more interesting because of it. Aren't we all adults (well, apparently some aren't). I can't believe that petition. I especially loved the part that said "Goodreads wouldn't exist with the authors." Well, I'm pretty sure authors wouldn't last long without readers too. Nothing like being on a high horse. Yes, throwing a temper tantrum over a review is a GREAT way for it to get more attention and for you to get LESS support. Not too bright eh?

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    1. Yeah, that petition was something else. At least she had the wherewithal to realize it wasn't going to go her way and deleted it.

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  2. This is an awesome post. If every reader agreed on every book we'd all be living in Camazotz, but we're not. :)

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    1. I know, I love it that we don't all agree! It makes blog reading so much more interesting.

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  3. Yep yep yep. I don't understand how these authors can't see that their freak-outs have so much worse of an outcome than a negative review does. And yeah, ok, some people are going to avoid your book if they read a neg review, but then they're prob not someone you want reading your book anyway because they'd just end up leaving another neg review. Whereas, like you, I sometimes decide to read a book BECAUSE OF a neg review. Cuz everyone has diff taste!

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    1. Yep, just when things have quieted down and I think the more sensitive authors have realized the, eh, unwise-ness of going after a reader, something like this crops up to remind that nope, they're still around and just as sensitive as ever.

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  4. Some of these authors are real idiots. I used to watch long running disputes on Goodreads over one negative review which led to authors fighting with countless defenders of the bloggers. Then there are the stories of authors stalking and assaulting bloggers. Some of them are real idiots! Loved the post!

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    1. Thanks, Chuckles. I can't believe it is still happening in 2018 but it is :(

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  5. I've heard about of these incidents and I just can't anymore...

    A negative review would never stop me from reading a book (in fact I'm more likely to read if it mentions what I personally like) but an author behaving like this will put them on my never read list. I don't read Rice anymore because of the things she's said and supported in the past.

    I have several authors that have given me books for review and I haven't loved all of them. I wrote and honest review and they were classy about it. Some have even RT'd the reviews. (I never tag them with negative reviews btw. Another issue where the author is right.)

    Also, these authors are so obsessed with the 5 star reviews. First of all, I'm with you - there is no such thing as a book EVERYONE loves. Second - I no longer read books with ALL 5 star reviews (unless I know the reviewer) I've also been burned. And third - if everyone gives every book 5 stars it (stars/reviews) has no meaning.

    I get that it must hurt but unless the review is personal - rather than book based - it's not bullying. Don't read reviews anymore.

    For What It's Worth

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    1. I seriously do not get the five star obsession either. Now that I know better, nothing puts me off a book faster than seeing generic 5 star review after generic 5 star review. And I'll never get the bad review = big bad bully. I just can't wrap my head around that.

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  6. I am at the point where I think that anyone who can't take criticism should be allowed to publish a book. There is no book that everyone will like. None. Everyone is different. I keep seeing these incidents happen over and over and it is like nobody can learn.

    I can't tell you how many times I have actually decided to read a book because of a negative review. I might love the same things another reviewer hates. Oh well. I expect that we will see more and more of this behavior.

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    1. Ha, I completely agree with you. They should at least have to spend 6 months doing research on how to behave on social media.

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  7. It's definitely a shame. Books reviews are supposed to be honest reviews, not just called "Praise Reports." I think if I were an author, I'd avoid the reviews myself -- it's surprising how many authors comment negatively. Thankfully this hasn't happened to me yet.

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  8. *Standing Ovation*

    Very well said. I really haven't anything else to add that you and others haven't already said. There have been many times when I have decided to read a book based on a less than stellar review. Sometimes a review of a friend may sway me if I'm on the fence, but it's usually based on more than one friend's opinion. No offense to any book blogger (myself included), but, alone, our opinions of the books we read are like drops in the ocean. I understand that authors put a lot of work into their books and want everyone to love and appreciate them. the truth is that every reader is different and will perceive a book in different ways as a result. I hate coffee--anything coffee flavored even--does that mean that coffee is bad? To me, sure. Not necessarily to someone else.

    I wish authors would refrain from commenting when they come across a negative review, as hard as that may be. Or avoid reading reviews altogether.

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    1. Me too. Most authors are wise about this but the small minority really stand out :(

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  9. I needed this post. Thank you!

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  10. I will have to check Geek Love! I doesn't sound good!
    ohhh that issue with the authors and the bad reviews! That petition has SEVENTEEN supporters LOl that's an indication how popular that idea is. But I have to say it may be also because the petition really doesn't explain much :) Then I was reading about that incident back in 2014 when an author decided to actually find the reviewer and showed up at her house to confront her. HOW SCARY IS THAT???

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    1. You NEED to read Geek Love at least once in your life!

      Ah, you were reading the Kathleen Hale stuff. That was so insane. I'd sick my crazy hound on her :)

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  11. Quote:
    "So I say leave that one star review alone. It can be a good thing! I kid you not. Here are some books I bought because a key word in a review caught my eye and I had to know more!"
    Same here. Unlike you, I DO read a number of reviews because I'm on a tight budget - and the 1 and 2 star reviews are the first ones I read when I'm planning on buying a book. More often than not, they mention something that didn't work for those readers, but might work for me.

    I wasn't aware of the latest (??? Maybe there have been others since you wrote this post?) scandal. While I totally understand how some authors can't help reading reviews and feeling frustrated because of the low ratings, they ought to get a grip and realise that: 1) they can't act upon that; and 2) as you said, and most of the above commenters agreed about, every single review is useful in its own way. Not to mention valid. (Unless it's a personal attack, that is).

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    1. There's always a little scandal simmering under the surface. I tend to stay away from it all but every now and again there is one that cannot be ignored.

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  12. I am going to make every author I work with read this now I know it exists. I'd like to make everybody in the entire universe read it because I think it also applies to life in general -- people aren't always going to agree with you and that doesn't make them stupid or evil and doesn't mean you have the right to make them be quiet -- but I'll probably have to settle for just the people who listen to me. :)

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    1. Thanks I'm glad you enjoyed my post and found it helpful. I, too, wish everyone would read it, lol.

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  13. Thanks Bark...I need to remember this more, and perhaps save the link to this, so that the next time an author "yells" at me for daring to give his book a one star review I can share it. I will remember to not be so dang hurt (it still bothers me - it was two years ago...I need to get over it - hopefully he has)

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    1. I'm sorry that happened to you :(

      It happens to all of us who review honestly at some point. The one's who go on a rampage over a three star really kill me. Three stars is my "it's ok". It's either up or down from there.

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  14. Super post! I try to avoid the drama and I missed this mess on Twitter. Glad I did. Isn't a review a person's personal opinion. It's not written for the author.

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    1. There's always some silly drama boiling just under the surface. Be glad you missed it!

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  15. So ridiculous. Who do these people think they are, that everyone should love everything they do? And how the hell to they manage LIFE in general, if they can't cope with 'nasty comments'?! Fact - if you put your books for sale on a public site, the buyer is entitled to put what he/she likes about it on said site. If you can't cope with that, don't put your books etc etc. And save me from those sensitive little darlings who write blog posts about their first 1*.

    ps, I am a writer ;)

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  16. Oh I love this. A review is that persons opinion of the book they just read. They're allowed to have an opinion and post their own thoughts. Readers and authors who freak out about reviews are ridiculous. We're not all going to like or dislike the same books.

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    1. It's a shame that this has to keep being said :( We seem to go through some lulls of peace and them BOOM all of this awful starts popping up again. I suppose it's the way of the world but it makes me sad that we can't all simply leave each other alone to state our opinions without backlash.

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    afterr browsing through some of the post I realized it's new to me.
    Nonethеless, I'm definitely happy I found it and I'll be bookmardking
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    ReplyDelete

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