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.
I think I'm missing something. I have read many reviews on Amazon and from book review blogs. I was under the impression that negative reviews meant reviews that were not for the authors favor. I'm started to see that you all mean there are people who are insulting authors... maybe like calling them names or asking the question why they were even published. If so, I agree that reviewers should not be allowed to verbally bash anyone. There's a big difference between giving constructive criticism and insulting someone.
I have to admit, sometimes I have more fun writing and reading negative reviews on goodreads. It's like getting something off my chest, and there's often a lot more of interest in it. I have noticed that I get more "likes" for my negative reviews than I do for my positive reviews. I sometimes think people are just kind of looking for kindred spirits, who didn't think the book was all that, either.
My personal philosophy regarding negative reviews is this: I won't give a negative review to a book that is not well known or widely reviewed. Unknown or new authors will get a minimum of 3 stars from me on goodreads, 4 on my site -- otherwise, I simply will not review it at all. (I won't lie.)
The reason: I review books as a way to engage in a discussion with other people who may be interested in the same thing or have read the same thing. Negative reviews of unknown books don't facilitate discussion -- they end it -- because I'm encouraging people NOT to buy a book they probably hadn't even heard of and weren't going to pick up anyway.
Negative reviews of popular books, on the other hand, generate lots of opinions and discussions. For example, I rather disliked Twilight, and have spent many hours of my life over the past couple of years talking about why to both like-minded people, as well as those who loved the book (and the series). Being honest and opinionated about that topic has gotten people talking.
BUT...always always always review the BOOK, not the AUTHOR! There is no more important rule, and in fact, I have reported users to goodreads support when I've seen them going off on authors, as this is clearly against their site rules.
(The only time I even mention an author is to discuss my experience with their other books -- for example, if I don't like a book by an author I love, I'll usually say so, to encourage people to read other books by him or her. Or if it's the first book I've tried by an author, I might say that as well. I've also been known to make observations about common plot elements or themes.)
I like your philosophy about sticking to positive reviews for lesser known books.
Something else I have started doing when I read a book that I don't like is give the author a second chance with a different book. To date, I have given a negative review to a book by Berkeley Breathed and to a book by Katerine Pateron, but followed up with positive reviews to another book by them. I still have to do that for Meg Cabot. I didn't like her Princess Diaries series, but have enjoyed columns by her, and so plan to read another book by her with hopes that I will like it.
The most riduculous thing? Giving a book 1 star because you never got it in the mail! Maybe Amazon needs to have a star rating system for itself where people can leave those types of comments!
It seems that some reviewers enjoy the sound of their own voice so much that they get carried away. If book reviewers treated it like a job instead of a hobby, they would probably approach their reviews with more professionalism.
If book reviewers treated it like a job instead of a hobby, they would probably approach their reviews with more professionalism.
I actually take my hobbies very seriously--maybe even more seriously than I take my actual job. =P But I don't think it's fair to expect hobbyists to act professionally.
I think this is just a simply misunderstanding. The consumer obviously thinks the review is for the seller. When I come across anyone like this I'll let them know that we're reviewing the product itself and not the seller. There are places to review the seller after all.
I just visited Amazon again to read reviews of a book I had no immediate plans to buy, for the simple reason that someone recommending it to me didn't have her own review of it, but directed me there.
Reading through the reviews, I didn't notice any which attacked the author on a personal level, but the few critical reviews which there were had some very insulting and sarcastic comments challenging them. When I saw that all those commenters had names with the initials "K.C.", I started suspecting that an overzealous fan (Let's hope not the author himself!) had set up a bunch of sock puppet accounts to attack those critical reviewers for simply having an opinion he disagreed with.
That experience reminded me of this thread, because it's really the other side of the coin, isn't it? People who write critical reviews also get the most "Unhelpful" votes (which are even more anonymous) and sneaky comments.
Negative reviews should always be constructive. Authors should not be personally bashed and if a book is disliked then the review should include a valid reason.
I've written a couple of slightly negative reviews recently, but as I made it to the end of both books I also included some positive aspects.
As they say, the Dark Side has power. LOL
I'm like you, there is a right (or write) way to do it, putting together a list of reasons why the book didn't work for you is fair enough.
I write reviews. As a writer that reviews, I find reviewing really tough. More difficult than it was before I was a writer. Heres why:
You have a niggling fear that telling the truth will hurt your own work. Ie an eye for an eye. A 'bad' review is really scary stuff!
I know what goes into writing a book, both physically & emotionally. I really don't want to tear someone's life work apart.
A good book is subjective. What one person loves, another hates. For example, I can't stand Nicholas Sparks. just too mushy and perfect and predictable. But, everybody else LOVES him.
I try to be honest, fair, and real. I hope I'm doing a good job.