I am sitting here, not quite sure what to think. Today I published a review of a book that I'd been requested to read by a self-published author. I read it, found it dreadful and said as much and more in the review as I prefer to be completely honest. I've before given a bad review (though not as harsh as this one) and have subsequently been ignored by the author when I mail them and tell them that the review is back. That's fine.
Just now though I've received a very angry comment on the review (which you can see on the review page) *and* a very very angry mail from what appears to be from a friend of the author - who hasn't said anything. Maybe I've shocked her into silence.
Now I've said it before and I'll say it again. The review is harsh. But I stand by it completely. I would usually try and showcase some more redeeming qualities but I honestly didn't find one. I honestly don't like being the evil bastard and am slightly shaken because being attacked and insulted is never fun. You might argue that if I didn't have anything good to say I shouldn't have said anything at all. But that's now how it works.. I've taken the time to read it and I *will* review it.
The mail? Have a read:
What a tremendous jackass you are! You not only have the nerve to ask for a copy of the book but your criticism is in no way helpful to a fledging writer. Your “keep writing regardless” is a throwaway comment and does in no way encourage anyone; your criticism is snarky and mean spirited. If you can’t come up with something constructive rather than designed to tear down the ego of someone who worked hard to get her vision out there, then just shut it. My friends and I all enjoyed the book. I admit it’s a bit rough and could benefit from a good editor, but that isn’t worth the criticism you leveled at the book. I see from your web site that you enjoyed the Potter books, and let’s face it, they were dreck. Popular dreck, but dreck just the same. I honestly can’t see any child re-reading these now that they’re finished, and I lost interest about book four. They’re no Lord of the Rings. How old, exactly, are you, anyway?
Now, everybody is entitled to their opinion. Me to mine, her to hers. But when reading this, all I could really think was.. Harry Pottter? You're.. saying it marks how lousy I am, because I enjoy reading Harry Potter?
(On further notice I didn't ask for the book. I was contacted out of the blue and after reading a small blurb about it, agreed to read it.)
Read your review. I personally don't see much wrong with it. If I was the author, I can see myself being upset, but at the same time, I have read MUCH worse reviews, and you have not personally attacked the author from what I can tell.
This person who sent you the message is NOT worth your time, and I hope he or she knows that he/she is just making the author look REALLY bad. See, now I don't want to read this book because I know the author's got a crazy group of "fans" behind him/her who'll try to tear you apart if you don't like the book. Which is ridiculous because not everyone is going to like the book, and if he/she hoped for that, then that's crazy.
Also this person is obviously wasting their time -- their whole message had no point to it except to say "You didn't agree with my opinion, therefore you're stupid. And also everything you like is stupid because it is not the same things that I like."
Keep writing your reviews. Reviews are for readers, not for authors to use to boost their self esteem. If an author doesn't have the guts to realize the fact that negative reviews WILL exist, then they should seriously reconsider putting their work out their for public consumption in the first place.
The review is harsh. But I stand by it completely. I would usually try and showcase some more redeeming qualities but I honestly didn't find one. You might argue that if I didn't have anything good to say I shouldn't have said anything at all. But that's now how it works.. I've taken the time to read it and I *will* review it.
I've done a little editing of what you've said above, and I think a paragraph like this included in a negative review would be helpful. When I notified the author of the posting, I'd inform them it was negative (advanced warning) and thank them for providing the book (which you probably did).
With comments like that, I think it's probably best just to say something neutral about different opinions, and a general reminder about politeness. If they keep coming back, just a simple, "Again, thank you for taking the time to comment" type of remark and nothing else.
As an author, I will also agree that negative reviews are difficult to swallow, but even the best selling authors in the world get them. It's part of life. And it can help make you a better writer. For what its worth, I think that honest reviews are good.The responses, frankly remind me of the Jaqueline Howett meltdown. It went viral, so I think it's best just to ignore bad reviews altogether.
Holy crap. Sorry you're having such a rough time of it. I didn't find your review all that harsh... like you said, it was your opinion. Whoever kept commenting needed to stop with the nerd rage and just shut it themselves.
On the opposite side of this coin... I'm sure the author took a very hard blow to the ego and will need time to gather her senses and take some time to realize that yes, the book DOES need work.
You can't just write a story, have no one look it over and just pop it out there on the internet. The friends are great for supporting the author, but quite honestly, friends don't give you the honest criticism you need to better yourself as a writer or help your work. :D
The references to Potter... a joke. The references to Twilight... worse.
Keep doing honest reviews! Hell, when I get a book out, I'd love for you to review it, good or bad.
I've read the review, and posts of the friend in your blog before posting here.
My opinion, yes, you were a little harsh, but everyone has been outraged at a book before and as book readers and reviewers we exercise out right of freedom of speech to the max. Could you have given constructive criticism? Maybe. But that's what editors are for. And if she couldn't get her book out there to one, there are plenty online that can help for $1.25 a page. A message to the author, friends are the worst people to ask for an opinion because they won't want to hurt your feelings and if they aren't long time readers its worse.
And the Harry Potter comment? Pretty immature.
Gotta say, I'm interested in reading the book and throw some constructive criticism if it makes her feel better.
And I'm now following your blog,
Aquiria @ Written Musings