The “Negative” Review
We’ve been blogging now for over 4 years. In that time we’ve seen a lot of bloggers come and go and have talked to and become friends with quite a few of them as well. And every time the discussion turns to reviews there’s always a common answer among them. “If I can’t give a book at least 3 stars, I won’t post the review.”
In general, that’s not our stance on reviewing and we have always posted reviews with less than 3 stars on the blog. The key (we think) is always to try and be as respectful as possible while stating what didn’t work for us. Because, hey guess what? Maybe that is something that would bother someone else, or something that is exactly what another loves. People have different opinions. Or maybe it makes the book intriguing enough that they have to see the trainwreck for themselves.
As readers ourselves, there’s nothing worst than being on the fence about buying a book and reading through the reviews, and finding only good ones. I immediately distrust that. In the past few months, I’ve read several books that didn’t work for me (as have some of my UTC girls). And we’ve also posted those reviews. Was it a bad few months for me? Yes! I don’t want to pick up a book and not enjoy it. Have I gotten backlash in the past (not now) for posting such reviews? Yes! Because, as I was told once, “If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” Reviewers have become scared of posting reviews that aren’t positive because they don’t want to deal with the backlash, the ganging up of street teams, having an author dislike them and not give them other ARCs. The list is endless and it makes me sad.
That’s not the choice we make here at UTC. The point of reviewing books is telling your readers what you think of the book. Not just praising it (or the author). I’ve been in that position where I read a book by an author I LOVE and have had to write a review that is less than 3 stars. Believe me is not easy or pleasant. But you know what, it gives us a good feeling as well because what we put out is always something we can stand behind. And more so when others have contacted me and told me that’s exactly how they felt as well.
I think we all develop a good sense for what books to invest time and money into the more we read. The blurb, or the author, or certain reviewers are key in knowing what books we will enjoy and which to stay away from. But let’s face it. In the past few years, since we started blogging, the book market has become over-saturated with books. There is no way for readers to get to read everything they think sounds good in their lifetime! So now, more than ever, I feel the need to be completely honest with when we review a book. And we hope that’s still something that’s appreciated by our readers. If we can help steer you into buying a book you’ll enjoy, then our job here is done!
As a reader, how do you feel about negative reviews?