Bad review: Why are you torturing yourself?

 

Why write a book review of a book you didn’t like?

 

Throughout all my life I’ve wondered why people give bad publicity to authors they never met, probably never will. ‘This book was awful’, or ‘I was grateful when it ended’, or ‘It was so boring, I  fell asleep halfway through’, or ‘I skimmed through most pages’, so on and etc.

The fact is, ¾ of the people who give this review aren’t getting paid or asked to give such review. So it always baffles me, why do you do it?

I understand the reviews are nothing more than that individual’s personal opinion, but this ‘personal opinion’ is shockingly, irrevocably very bad publicity not only for that particular book, but for the author itself. A reader who might be contemplating buying that book would be discouraged after reading such negative review, and there’s a 50 50 chance he would have enjoyed that book very much.

How do I figure?

Simple. I’ve read reviews of books I’ve loved that reflected negatively upon it, followed by comments about how someone almost bought that book and ‘thank you for warning me’.

Maybe, I figured since a lot of people are posting book reviews, the negative reviews are written with no ill intention in mind, but simply because book reviews are good blogging material. But then again, I wonder, are people posting negative reviews because they can’t find good books?

Why are you torturing yourself reading something you can’t stand? There are tons of books out there you can write honest, positive reviews about. If you aren’t getting paid, aren’t asked to do that review, why give the author, and that book, such bad publicity?

Haven’t you ever picked up a book, decided you didn’t like it, put it aside, only to pick it up again a few years later and totally enjoy it?

 

 

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51 Replies to “Bad review: Why are you torturing yourself?”

  1. Hehe I like this post!
    But, I think it is okay to be honest about what one thinks about a book they’ve read. It’s their opinion, after all. I don’t mean they should be jerks and be all mean in the review but when opinions are expressed well, they become constructive criticism. The meanies can just go eat a toe!
    Just putting in my two cents 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Certainly, i agree. giving a review that is constructive, honest and not mean is totally alright. but i’ve read reviews that goes like ‘oh my god, i couldn’t stomach the book, it was horrible’. if it was horrible, why did you read it?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think negative book reviews have their place, and I’ve actually learned from them as a writer when they are specific about what the reader didn’t like. But just ragging on a book without specifics doesn’t help the writer or other readers. Reviewers who are detailed about what they liked and didn’t like enable me to make a choice based on my tastes. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. yes, that’s true. i belive a book review has a lot in common with beta reading. telling the writer – or readers of a review – ‘this was bad’ isn’t helping anyone. on the other hand, explaining the reason why the book didn’t click with you can actually help the writer improve, and the reader to make a better choice.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reviews serve a purpose when done constructively. Tell other readers the reason the book fell short or didn’t meet your expectations. Yes, there’s no place for nasty reviews as you say. Everyone has a particular taste and what one person doesn’t like, another person might love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so true. a negative review that is written in a constructive way is actually a good one. But still, sometimes i am baffled when i read a review of a book that reader didn’t enjoy at all and couldn’t wait for it to be over. i love reading, but if i”m not asked to read something for some other reason, and am only reading it for my personal enjoyment, well, it’s for my personal enjoyment. why would i torture myself with something i didn’t like?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think that negative reviews can be a good thing! They tell authors if their writing needs improvement or isn’t connecting with the target audience. It also adds credibility to the book reviews to see both positive AND negative ones 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Both negative and positive reviews are necessary. It’s true that they might deter readers from reading a certain book, but I find that is not true 80% of the time. Unless that person is highly impressionable and cannot think for themselves, they will still read the book if that’s something they want to do, regardless of what they read about it.
    I, for instance, will always be curious about the book no matter what. I will want to find out whether what I’ve read about it is true or not. So bad reviews don’t really influence me that much. All they do is prepare me to come across certain things. And I think most readers will be like that (just because they said they wouldn’t, doesn’t mean they won’t. Sometimes it’s just a way to please the reviewer in question – I’ve seen it happen).
    If I visit someone’s blog/Goodreads page and all they’ve written are positive reviews, I will simply not take that person seriously. It’s unrealistic that they’ve enjoyed every single book they’ve read. So they’ve either refrained from reviewing a book they didn’t enjoy or they’re lying in their reviews. Either way, I will likely not be following that blogger.
    No publicity is bad publicity, to be honest. Take Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth. Her sales skyrocketed, especially after every single blogger out there continued to criticize it. Why? Because people were curious and wanted to find out whether the book was as bad as everyone made it out to be. Because they wanted to get their own take on the subject. Because it was controversial.
    The truth is Roth did not suffer at all from this bad publicity. You might argue that’s because she was already famous to begin with and thus, people would want to buy her books anyway. But that also happens to lesser known/debut authors.
    So I’m totally in favor of negative reviews. I’m not in favor of bad reviews, though, where the writer keeps complaining about the book and doesn’t explain why, or simply says “Terrible book. Stay clear away.” That is not only unhelpful but awfully unprofessional. In that case, it’s better to not say anything at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sophie, for this insightful comment. i am sorry, though to admit that i am one of those people who only read what i enjoy. Maybe, I might frown upon a scene, or wish the book took a different route, or hate a minor character, but the least i’ve rated a book was 3, and i’ve only made 1 review ever, of a book i totally enjoyed. though i’ll add here that i hadn’t realized before that anyone could write a review on goodreads . i’d always believed only a selective few could, or a moderator.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Anyone can review on Goodreads, as far as I know. Which means that yes, there will be many types of reviews there, even those that are neither helpful nor respectful and are, simply put, rants by bitter people.
        It’s a bit difficult to know beforehand whether you’ll enjoy a book or not, so it’s really a 50% chance you’ll get a good/bad book. Some people stop reading these as soon as it bothers them, some people keep going. It’s a very personal choice and neither side is wrong, I think. Like I said, as long as reviews are kept civil and constructive, they’re all great.
        You’re very welcome! I enjoy these discussions 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’d rather write a positive review about something I loved. More often than not, if I dislike a book that much it goes in my DNF pile. If I don’t finish it, I don’t feel like I can give it a proper review.
    The only bad review I’ve ever left is for a Burger King. It wasn’t open when it said it would be, and I couldn’t have breakfast!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Authors can get better by all the negative critique. I think negative and positive reviews are always necessary for authors to grow to the best of their abilities. Same with anything else in life, won’t grow with just positivity around you, very rarely does that happen.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sadly, negative reviews are generally far more entertaining than positive ones, though I will say this: I don’t read reviews until after I have finished the book, so I start it with no pre-conceived notions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When bad reviews become entertaining , that means the publicity is good. yeah, crazy world. And i do the same. i read the reviews of the books I’ve already read. if it’s a book in a series, i even skip the blurb, so i have no clue of what will happen and the book can surprise me as i go.

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  9. I don’t leave bad reviews either. I think part of their appeal is that people are watching to see if it’s going to lead to a flame war. We just seem to be drawn to conflict, in stories and in real life. 🙂

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    1. Unfortunately that’s true. gossip is often better when it’s scandalous. but there’s a difference between slanting a book because it was bad and giving a negative review. I usually don’t write, or read them unless it’s something that really catches my attention.

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  10. Looks like you’ve gotten a lot of feedback from your blog readers! This is a really interesting question and I’ve done both. I’ve read books I haven’t bothered reviewing because I thought they were awful then I’d rather communicate directly with the author and make some suggestions if possible.

    Why write a review? Because any reviews are good for an author in one sense. I get the impression your book rises in rank on Amazon by number of reviews, not just by number of four and five star reviews.

    I agree that a review should point out good points as well as saying, “This doesn’t work well” or “There are many typos and misspellings,” etc. I read a book where it seemed a crucial scene towards the end was missing. It was a cozy and a fact-revealing “interview” wasn’t there. Then the MC popped up with facts as if from out of the air.

    I really hope authors do read their reviews — not the nasty ones, but the ones with useful pointers. That’s partly why I write reviews of books I didn’t like; i’m all in favor of authors learning how to writer better. Another reason I read books I don’t necessarily like is because once I’ve started I hate to quit. I keep hoping things get better. Sometimes they don’t and you get to the end and say, “Blah!”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. thanks Christine for this insightful response. It seems like book reviews are a touchy subject, both for the reviewer and the writer. Like i said before, I’m not a professional, this is only my opinion. but since i’ve started blogging i’ve read plenty of comments/reviews of books that were mostly nasty and not a bit constructive so ifelt compelled to make this post. i myself don’t write reviews, or read books i didn’t like, but if the blurb doesn’t interest me, than 90 % of the time i don’t buy that book (unless there’s a big buzz surrounding it).

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      1. thanks for the heads up, but i was going to read the policies. I have asked around and it seems like it isn’t a known fact – or more precisely a popular fact since a few have mentioned something similar. 10%, or only with kindle unlimited, or the other way around. i’ll be studying the policies, asking questions before i post anything. again, thanks for the heads up.

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  11. The negative reviews my books have gotten were typically from people who didn’t read anything about the book, first. For instance, one of my short story collections was criticized for containing — wait for it — short stories! Another commented that my collection of non-traditional Christmas stories wasn’t traditional enough. As the old saying goes, ya can’t fix stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. that’s what i mean, what is it for you. if the review isn’t constructive ? i read books to to relax, enjoy something different. if i didn’t like it, i simply don’t read it, and that’s that. no reviews, no bad commentary – someone else might enjoy it anyway.

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    2. One thing no writer ever wants to do is discourage reviewers. You wish for all the world that reviewers would always be polite and maybe specific about what they liked or didn’t, but reviews are the veins and arteries of book sales.

      Negative reviews are important, too. If I read “this book is awesome” twenty times with never a critique, I conclude the writer has twenty good friends and relatives that left reviews. They actually become meaningless and I often skip over them. looking for the more honest ones. Some are very negative and I may read the book to see if the reviewers were right. 🙂

      Reviews validate the reader’s experience, too. I read one book that was over-loaded with description of this, that, and the other totally trivial thing. These slowed the story-line to a crawl. After the standard 10-15 fifteen reviews that said, “This book is so awesome and wonderfully written,” I came to a few other reviewers that said, “Too much description here.” So I knew there were a few honest reviewers out there.

      I rarely ever leave a review for a book I haven’t read all the way through, though a few times I’ve said, “I didn’t finish this book. It was so loaded with profanity or whatever…” I appreciate it when other reviewers are honest about things that might bother some people.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ah, i see. But you could always run a book giveaway in exchange for honest reviews. Like, announce in your blog that between date this and that you’ll give away this many books in exchange for honest reviews. who knows, I’m getting here that even the bad reviews raise curiosity and kick sales.

        Liked by 1 person

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