There has been a lot of back and forth lately on writing bad reviews. Some are of the opinion that there should not be any bad reviews at all. I go both ways. There are times that a book just does not sit well. My opinion is going to differ from that of someone else. There are times that books just disappoint, and that is fine. But the question is HOW do you write a bad review?
There was recently a flutter on the internet over a review on a prominent site that called for the author to “quit writing and just die.” While the beginning of the review was the reader’s opinions of the work, the last part was uncalled for. There was a push by many to get the review removed from the site, and it was eventually removed after a couple of days. Readers rallied around an author, some of who had never read the book in question. It was amazing to see a community pull together, pushing for this offensive review to be taken down. Every book will not resonate with each person. That is OKAY! There are so many books out there, and some super fabulous reads.
Don’t Trash The Author
Authors put a lot of hard work into every book that they write. These are not sit down, knock them out and publish works. These are labors of time and effort. Do not bash the author in the review. You can say “I did not care for this work because…” and leave it there. Add your rating if you use a site like Goodreads, Booklikes, etc.
Always List Something Positive
While you may not care for the book, not everyone reads the same book. What I might see in the book, and what you might see are going to be different. Everyone reads a book with different emotions and feelings. Always find something positive to say about the work. Adding comments like “The author really put a lot of time into this and it shows,” or “I really enjoyed XXX,” can make a difference in how others view the book.
This is a biggie. I have read reviews where you can tell the person reviewing wanted to say more. Don’t put spoilers, but be honest with your review. If you are not honest with how you felt about the book, it can be hard for someone else to take your review seriously. List your reasons for loving or disliking the book. Honesty matters!
Your Opinion Matters
While it’s hard to not want to put down a book that you did not care for, it’s important to know that reviews, either good or bad reviews, can make an impact. People will read your review if they are searching for a book to read. Most people look at the reviews before determining whether or not they are going to view the book.
Reading is a fun activity, and there are so many great authors and communities out there. Sharing and recommending books to others is part of the fun in reading. The adventure that we gain from the book is a bonus. Writing a review helps an author. It shows them that their books are being looked at and that someone took the time to leave their thoughts. Writing a bad review is nothing to shy away from, but these simple etiquette rules will help to ensure that your review, good or bad, is helpful to someone else.
Read and review!