Okay so on Amazon, GR and other review sites I have noticed that the people who write the negative reviews tend to get a lot of followers.
When it comes to negative reviews I feel that there is a right way and a wrong way to write them. When you attack the author on a personal level, that's wrong. Why is it that people seem to feed off this negativity?
I've seen some well thought out negative reviews that say why they didn't like the book, but they don't get rude about it.
Now that I have started participating in book tours, I worry more about what happens if I receive a book I don't like. After all, the whole purpose of a book tour is to promote an author. So I know how you feel.
I agree that attacking the author on a personal level is wrong, though in some cases, like when reviewing a memoir, it might be a little hard to avoid. (Ex. I though the author was sounded really selfish and it turned me off.) I think it's important to articulate why you don't like certain aspects of the book, not just say "I hated it." That does no one any good.
LOL! You remind me of my review of Patty Duke's autobiography Call Me Anna. She wrote it in the 1980s, but I didn't get around to it until two years ago. In the book, she said that John Astin was the biological father of her son Sean--and I think people were perfectly willing to believe that at the time the book came out. But between that time and the time I read it, Sean asked another of Patty's ex-husbands to do a paternity test, and discovered that the other guy was his father.
You can bet I let the book have it in my review! =P But I suppose that didn't make much of a difference to sales.
I think that every writer, myself included, has some area that may need improvement. I'm far from perfect, so I don't harp on things like a typo here and there, because even the big-name books have errors. But if I do have an issue with a certain aspect of the book, I'll point it out. I also point out that this may not be an issue for someone else. For example, I reviewed A Modern Witch. While the story was delightful and fun, it was lacking a protagonist, and I need that conflict to keep me reading. In my review, I said that I always thought I wanted to read a nice book where no one is in jeopardy, no bad guy needs to be caught, and everyone just has a swell time. The author gave me what I thought I wanted, it just turns out I'm more fickle than I thought and realized that I DO want to see the characters in some sort of jeopardy, and I DO in fact need someone in the book to despise. Same with romance, I have a hard time with romances that spring up over night, going from "I hate you" to "I love you" in the blink of an eye. I point out that I am apparently a "love at first sight" cynic.I would never personally attack an author or make it personal, that's just mean. If I read a review that personally attacked the author, I would make a mental note to avoid that reviewer in the future.
In my opinion, any decent review is going to tell us what he or she thought of the book and give evidence to back that up, whether their review be glowing with praise or negative from start to finish. A fair, well written review will probably list the things that they did like about the book, as well as the things they didn't like.
I agree that some people do seem to feed off negativity. In my opinion, some people give more weight to a negative review, because it suggests that the reviewer is intelligent enough to see the flaws in a work (especially if they can back it up with evidence,) and if they can shape that into a well-written and perhaps amusing argument. It also suggests that the reviewer isn't automatically going to like something because it is popular and that they can think for themselves. But a negative review that lowers itself to insult the author or perhaps even fans of the book is not cool and it certainly is not intelligent. I've seen positive reviews that are equally well-argued and intelligent, yet for some reason they never attract the same amount of cool or perhaps even legitimacy as a negative one.
True, there is no point in attacking an author. I did one review that was tough, the book was good but the author, had to add a insulting or snarky comment after any positive statement. Some were down right rude, or hurtful. It really detracted from the story. Since the book was not fiction, it was really hard to write a review for and not say something about the author.
I frequently check the reviews on Amazon, and check the negative reviews first, and then look for reviews that actually say what the book is about. Some people consider them spoilers, but I consider it, as telling me what the book really is about. It has a big influence on me as to whether or not I want to listen to a book. One has to evaluate the reviews as to the legitimacy and helpfulness. Over time your b.s. detector is honed to a fine point.