I Don’t Like Posting Negative Reviews and I Need to Get Over It

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Hi everyone! So, I guess today I’m finally ready to admit a thing that’s been plaguing me since I started this book blog. What I want to talk about is already in the title of this post so let’s just cut to the chase, shall we? I do not like posting negative reviews. At all. And today I kind of want to talk about the why and the how of it all, and why I want to change it.

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This post was inspired by my review of The Battle by Karuna Riazi, which I will hopefully be posting soon. The Battle was a book that I was highly looking forward to but that ended up disappointing me a whole lot, and as I sat here, staring at my screen willing myself to write the review, I found that I just couldn’t do it. And then I started wondering about why I couldn’t bring myself to write the review. Was it the fact that I just didn’t really like writing negative reviews? No, not really. Because I like letting all of my frustrations out over a book and ranting my heart out. It feels almost therapeutic and I kind of love it. Is it the fact that I’m scared it’ll turn loads of people off of the book? No, because I know I’ve read books because of people’s negative reviews before, because stuff they didn’t like were things I absolutely love in books. But then what is it?

I honestly think it’s mostly my fear of an author seeing the review. I mean, in the book community we’ve probably all heard of the author who stalked a reviewer after she posted a negative review of the book, or have heard of authors emailing reviewers to take reviews down or just blasting the reviewer on social media, which definitely comes into play for me when I don’t really know about the author. In those cases me not wanting to review a book is driven by fear, and I think that’s valid. I don’t want to put myself in danger, and I hate that I even have to think about that. It’s ridiculous. But in this case it’s definitely not that, it’s the fact that I think the author is wonderful and I’m really scared she’s going to see the review and it’ll make her feel bad. I mean, if I put hours upon hours of work into a book and I saw someone who really didn’t like it I’d definitely feel bad, and it’s never my intention to make authors feel that way.

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But then the question is: should I care? There’s clear boundaries between authors and reviewers, and authors shouldn’t go looking for reviews of their book (unless they’re tagged or it’s a trade review, those are pretty much fair game) (but also, don’t tag authors in negative reviews), and that’s repeated time and time again. And yet I still see authors making fun of reviews on Twitter almost everyday. I know most of the reviews authors cite are usually ridiculous ones filled with racism and homophobia and it’s good that that’s being called out, but it still sends a clear message to all reviewers out there: we see you and we’re watching. And that makes me overly aware, every time I write a less-than-positive review, that an author could read it, and that makes me hold back. Because again, I don’t want to hurt their feelings. And I’m scared.

But if an author goes looking for reviews, isn’t it their own fault if they end up reading a not-so-great-one? Why should I hold back when the author-reviewer etiquettes are right there? I mean, I’m a reviewer after all and reviewing books is what I do. I want to be able to be honest, even when that means writing a 600 word review that’s solely about what I didn’t like about the book.

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So, what I basically think I should do is start focusing more on being a proper reviewer and sharing my real, unfiltered thoughts about books on here and not tone reviews down just for the sake of an author who might see it, but probably won’t. And I also should stop being a dumbass, because it’s not really all that deep, is it? But I’m also very curious to see what you all think: do you struggle with this too? How do you approach negative reviews? Please let me know!

Some Thoughts on the Bookish Community and Loneliness
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14 gedachtes over “I Don’t Like Posting Negative Reviews and I Need to Get Over It

  1. Esmée zegt:

    Girl, you should always be honest. There is also a HUGE difference between a negative review, a rant and just completely downtalking the book/author. The first is what you should do, the last two things are usually things that end up getting stalked or outed online. Just state your opinion and you’ll be fine ❤

    Liked by 1 persoon

      • Esmée zegt:

        See it like this: Every book gets negative reviews, every book will be disliked by someone. If someone doesn’t want to get their feelings hurt, they should either not read the reviews, not care or not publish a book to begin with. They chose to do any of those things, so they shouldn’t be hurt if someone has written a negative review.

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  2. Emily @ The Wicked Pages zegt:

    I totally agree with this whole post! I used to rate books higher than I actually felt about the book because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but it’s exactly like you said. It’s an unspoken thing that some people aren’t going to like some books and as reviewers it’s important to always be honest!

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  3. Miri ♪ Book Dragoness ♪ zegt:

    Ohhhh I totally get it!! I’m an aspiring author myself so I’ve decided to stop writing negative reviews (beside I enjoy most books I read anyway) and if I do mention a flaw, I try to be gentle about it unless it’s some problematic content or so. Haha just in case I publish a book and meet an author at a book event whose story I wrote negatively about and they found out…think of the awkwardness!! But I do really find negative reviews useful as a reader and I’m not doing it myself but I’d like it if other bloggers continued!!

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  4. emme @ a literary latte zegt:

    This is such an interesting post & I 100% understand the struggle! I luckily haven’t had any books less than 3 stars since I’ve started my blog (thank you hyped books!) so haven’t had to think about writing negative reviews. But I admit the thought of writing and posting one doesn’t sound appealing. It’s mainly because I worry they could see it and then feel bad! I know how much work must go into a book so to then write negatively – I’d just feel so bad?!

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  5. Julianna @ Paper Blots zegt:

    Omg me too!! Actually, I’m really often overly negative in my reviews, but like… I always feel scared when I post negative reviews on my blog (on Goodreads I’m okay with ranting a lot) especially because I have a lot of authors following me on Twitter, and like… what if they see their own negative review on there?? Or if they see one of their friends’ negative review? I also used to have a YARC thread to keep track of my progress and what books I read, but… one of the authors of a book I rated three stars follows me on Twitter so I just discontinued the thread completely AHH. It was wild.

    Also, sometimes reviews that aren’t even homophobic or harmful in any way are still blasted by authors on Twitter (it happened by an author I really love) and I was just… shocked, because the reviewer put on blast was one of my closest blogger friends? The thing is, I think that the author could have interpreted the review to be harmful, and it’s fair of the author to be hurt, but I know that the reviewer wasn’t trying to be harmful in the way that the author interpreted it as, and it was just… messy.

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  6. whatthelog zegt:

    I totally understand where you’re coming from Laura! I don’t really tend to write negative reviews either, but I think I’m more worried about the author’s fans rather than the author themselves. I don’t think that my anxiety could take a pile-on from someone’s die-hard followers :/

    I’m really glad that you’re going to write negative reviews, as I always value your opinion!

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  7. Xandra @ Starry Sky Books zegt:

    I usually don’t read books I do not like, or I tend to put them down if I don’t like them, but I’ve always been afraid of having to write a negative review! But I also value honest reviews from the heart, and I wouldn’t mind reading your real, unfiltered thoughts! Reviews should be mostly honest, so that others really know what you thought about the book and if they’d feel the same way. I personally don’t mind reading negative reviews every once in a while!

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  8. bookaholic1blog zegt:

    I get the being scared of what the author or fans about the book are going to say after posting a negative review. However I feel like as long as you are respectful in the review it should be okay. Not everybody likes the same book or writingstyle and that is okay. See it this way you have a lot of people who value your opinion about books and you owe it to them to be honest. Besides I think when you keep the review respectful and say why the book may not be for you people will respect your opinion.

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  9. Marie zegt:

    I love this post so much and this is so, so relatable to me, too. I don’t really remember hating a book so so much in the past few months, but there were some books that I didn’t love as much as I thought I did and, I was so nervous to write about them on my blog, because what if authors saw it, despite me not tagging them at all or informing them of the review whatsoever? This always makes me so nervous to write negative reviews, too. Thank you for sharing your struggles with us, Laura, and I hope you will be able to write this review and negative reviews more in the future. Your blog’s readers, at least I, would love to read all of your opinions on all the books always ❤

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  10. Marta zegt:

    I understand! When I first heard of those author – reviewer stories, I got really scared it might happen the same to me. I’m always hesitant when posting a negative review, but I always end up doing it. The worst that has happened to me, thankfully, was an author answer to a tweet – that she wasn’t tagged in – suggesting I might have enjoyed her other book best. It wasn’t rude at all, but very awkward. I always feel bad about it. But at the end of the day, you gotta be honest!

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  11. Molly's Book Nook zegt:

    I totally get where you’re coming from. It can be a little scary sometimes but, for me, I just remind myself that I started my blog mainly for myself and the conversation it can create with fellow readers. There’s more to that thought, but then this would be too long of a comment lol. I just really try to ignore how other people (authors) might take my review since I’m not really looking to connect with them anyways? If that makes sense haha

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