In previous posts we’ve discussed how important it is for readers to put up reviews for the books they like because people do buy based on word of mouth more than anything. But what about negative reviews?
Inevitably, when you read a lot of books you will read plenty of bad ones. Some books start well, but by the time I hit the end I feel like saying, “I read 300 pages for that?” Other books are so bad I can’t make it past the halfway point. That’s just the way the book universe is.
But I should I leave a negative review on those book? My answer more often than not is, no. I might have very definitive tastes on what is and is not good writing when I’m reading, but when it comes to criticizing that writing publicly I tend to look at the situation as a writer.
After all, I know firsthand (and from the mouths of several of my fellow writers) that we can get very emotionally attached to our work and negative reviews tend to hit hard. But even more than the emotional side, I have to think of in terms of their sales too. Why should I threaten another author’s sales by publicly saying I don’t like their books when there are plenty of people who would read that book and like it just fine? Some of the worse books I’ve ever read are bestseller. If people like their books, that’s fine with me. Just don’t ask me to agree. ;)
Now, I am NOT talking about books that I dislike because they are immoral. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with bringing up those issues. But in general, if it’s just a personal opinion I have about the type of writing or story I find it better to leave it alone. I might discuss what I don’t like about the book on this blog, but I try not to name the title or the author.
HONESTLY, the reviews that irk me the worst are the ones that boil down to, “Yeah, I liked it, but it wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read.” Sorry, but that’s just lame! It’s like talking for the sake of talking without thinking about what type of an impact it might have. I often want to ask those people, “If you were the author, would you appreciate that comment?”
So, I simply say, if you don’t have anything nice to say just leave it alone. ;)
What about you? Do you think we should leave negative reviews? If so, why?