I am co-hosting Be Our Guest Fridays with Tanya @ Mom’s Small Victories. Tanya’s blog celebrates books, family and life with rheumatoid arthritis…one small victory at a time. Each Friday we will be inviting our favorite bloggers and authors to share a blog post with our readers. Since we have left the floor open for our guests to choose a topic, we hope to share an assortment of posts that will appeal to the various interests of our readers.
When Tanya first opened up her blog to guest posts, and before we became co-hosts of #BeOurGuestFridays, I volunteered to write something for Moms Small Victories. Tanya also said she would post here at My Novel Opinion, and since she is much more organized than me, I have her post to share with you today and mine…well I still didn’t pinpoint what I wanted to write about just yet!
To Write or Not to Write Negative Reviews?
If you look at my Book Reviews by Rating Index, you’ll see that 51 of the 54 reviews I have written are 3 stars (I liked it) to 5 stars (I loved it). Is that because I love every book I read? Hardly, I have read 208 books since joining Goodreads and starting book blogging and only choose to write reviews on the ones that I truly enjoy or if I have agreed to for review purposes.
My Top 4 Reasons Not to Write a Negative Review:
1. I don’t want to waste more time on a book I didn’t enjoy.
I only rate books I have read cover to cover. I’m a slow reader. If I’ve already invested a week in agonizing through a book, why spend another agonizing 4 hours on writing a blog post to tell everyone how much I didn’t like it?
2. My parents taught me The Golden Rule.
Remember The Golden Rule? If you don’t have anything nice to say, do not say it at all? It seems to me these days too many people are trying to tear one another down, bring down the competition or seek bad publicity since it is apparently better than no publicity. I REALLY have a hard time writing a negative review. I know how much time I invest in this blog and can admire the courage and time writers spend working on their novels. I do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings, just because their book is not for me does not mean another reader wouldn’t love it.
3. My blog is about celebrating small victories and positivity.
Stressing out about having to write a negative review can send me into a flare from my Rheumatoid Arthritis. Seriously, when I start getting worked up about something, I can feel the stiffness and pain start to permeate my body. If I don’t get the stress under control, I will be laid out on the couch which is of no use to my health or my family’s well-being. It is not worth it to me. We have enough negativity in the media and on the internet, I want to spread good news about books I enjoy to help me focus on the positive. I can say I will not let writing something negative affect me, but I know I’d be kidding myself.
As if getting rude comments from Goodreads members or commenters isn’t bad enough, there was this disturbing Guardian article that Read at Home Mama shared on her Facebook page. I know it’s all over the internet, but Read at Home Mama’s page is how I found out about it. Apparently, the author got a bad review (and by bad, this reviewer seemed heartless and very mean) and proceeded to hunt the blogger down, find her house and call her at work. OMG, really? Mine and my family’s safety is too important to me. We take precautions for online security but hackers are out there for everything. A free copy of a book is not worth a personal confrontation with a disgruntled author or blogger.
The Case for Writing a Negative Review
In all fairness, I’d like to share the other side of the story, bloggers who write quite convincingly that writing negative reviews is important.
Alternatives to Writing a Negative Review
Rather than writing a full negative review, here are some alternatives to writing a negative review:
1. Write mini-reviews. Short and sweet but making it clear the book was not one of my favorites.
2. If it is a review request from author or publisher, let them know I would rate the book a 1 or 2 star and ask if they would like me to post a mini-review or not review at all. I still rate everything on Goodreads.
I think I will be updating my Book Review Policy to reflect how I will handle negative reviews because I do feel pretty strongly about not wanting to do it. I share my honest opinion on every book I read, I do not want to feel guilty for not writing a review when I do not really recommend it.
How do you feel about writing negative reviews? Do you have a post to share about it?
Thanks Helen for allowing me to express my thoughts about negative reviews on your blog today! I’m so glad to be your guest and happy to have you co-host this feature with me!
Thanks Tanya! I loved reading your insight on whether or not we should write negative reviews. I’ve recently read a book that I have no idea how to rate or review, so your tips will come in useful when I decide to tackle that one.