When it comes to book reviews, authors and readers must contend with fake reviews, bought-and-paid-for-reviews, the I-didn’t-read-this-book-but-I know-I’ll-hate-it reviews, and of course, author-bashing reviews.
These taint a book’s review history and it can be difficult for the genuine reader who includes reviews in their book-purchase decisions to know what to believe.
However, the ‘review’ which annoys me the most is the response to a review, or as I call them, the review’s review… and it goes something like this.
A reader leaves this review:
It was an ‘ok’ read but not what I expected. Jill (the heroine) whined like a child for most of the story. Jack (the hero) couldn’t open his mouth without F-bombs falling out.
I have no problem with profanity or sex, but that’s all this book was. Where was the plot?
This just didn’t work for me.
And the response:
How old are you, 12? People swear, they scr*w. Grow up! Romance is different things for us all. Did you miss the part where Jack and Jill stopped scr*wing around and became a couple? Maybe you should download samples first, so your delicate sensibilities aren’t offended, and you won’t leave crappy reviews like you did hurting a book and the author.
This is a paraphrasing of an actual review—and it’s one of the nicer ones.
And it pissed me off.
The first reader is called juvenile, overly sensitive and accused of bashing because she didn’t think the book was the best piece of literature written since time began.
Who made the second reader the Review Police?
We have all been there. Someone gives a book we loved a 1-star review.
We’re like “Wait, what? Are you serious?”
Or we read the book drowning in 5-star reviews and think we were given the wrong book.
“5-stars? THIS? Really? I can’t find enough good in it to give three stars.”
But that’s how it goes, and we’re adults and understand no two people read the same book. No harm. No foul.
The review-reviewers, depending on which side of the book they’re standing, want everyone to love or hate a book… end of story.
That’s not their call, but they win quite a bit of the time.
Think about it.
How many times have you finished a book and your first thought is, “Ugh! Talk about a 2-star read.” But you either didn’t leave a review or changed it to a 3-star (and wrote ‘3.5’ at the beginning of the review) because you didn’t want to be attacked by the masses, make waves, or be singled out.
We can find a question about reviews every week on blogs, websites, Facebook, and Twitter, asking how readers rate reviews. A popular response is if three stars can’t be given, no review is left. Keep in mind that some readers (and most definitely, authors) consider a 3-star review an insult too.
So, what can you do?
Not much you can do except keep being you. Don’t let the possibility of what someone else may do or say affect YOUR review.
Good or not so good, authors need reviews. And, people who read and use reviews to make book purchases need HONEST reviews. Those could run the gamut from “I loved this book so much I want it placed in my casket when I die,” to “I wish I could unread what I just read.”
You don’t have to please the review-reviewers. You don’t even have to please the author. You simply need to know you gave the book the review you felt it deserved… in your opinion.
Because in the end, isn’t that all reviews are… personal opinions?
Keep reading and keep reviewing!
Have a great week!
East coast U.S. – stay warm!
West coast U.S. and desert states – stay cool!