Negative Reviews and Why They are Good for Everyone

Negative Reviews and Why They are Good for Everyone

Recently I have struggled with the idea of negative reviews. They are much more difficult for me to write because I try to be respectful of the author and my fellow readers while I write them. But as awkward as they can be to write, Negative reviews serve a very good purpose.

If I take an honest look at the way I utilize reviews, I realize that negative reviews often convince me to read a book instead of turning me away. When I actually read the content of the review I look for one thing and one thing only, information. As much fun as it is to read a gushing review that consists of nothing more than variations of “I LOVE THIS BOOK”, and ranting reviews that boil down to “THIS BOOK SUCKED”; those reviews don’t really help me decide whether I want to read the book.

In the case of negative reviews, I won’t always be turned away by what that person hated. As an example, I don’t like reading books that have a lot of sexually explicit scenes. So if the main reason the reviewer disliked the book was because they were expecting a steamier romance, that will make me more excited to read the book not less.

I like to keep this in mind when I write my negative reviews. I am not a fan of most love triangles, and they have ruined more than a few books for me, but I always make it clear when this is the case. Some of my book buddies adore love triangles so I want to let them know just because the book didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean they need to pass on it.

But as often as I have been encouraged to read a book based on a negative review, I have also been convinced it wasn’t the right book for me, and I think this is a great thing for authors and readers alike. I can only imagine how much it stinks to read a negative review, but I can also imagine how many negative reviews have not been written because someone had the good sense to listen to a reviewer they trusted and pass on that particular book.

Basically no book is right for everyone, and reviews, both positive and negative, serve the purpose of letting people know whether the product is what they are personally looking for. Someone can write the best possible book about vampires, but if I don’t like vampires, I am never going to enjoy that book so why waste my valuable reading time and lower the book’s overall rating by reading it.

I know that debates on reviews have been and will continue to go on for years to come, and this was not my attempt to enter that debate. I think reading should be fun, and both authors and reviewers should be allowed to express themselves. I am entertained by ranting reviews of books I love and raving reviews of books I disliked because I read them for that person’s opinion not my own, and their opinion doesn’t have to effect my own.

I didn’t write this post to teach readers how to write reviews or authors how to handle them. I wrote this post to express my gratitude of an unappreciated form of commentary.  Sometimes reviews get a bad rap, and negative reviews are labeled as the worst of the worst. But if you think about how most people view them and how useful they can be both to the reader and the author, I think negative reviews are good for everyone!


I’d love to hear your opinion on negative reviews so talk to me in the comment section below!

Until next time…

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10 thoughts on “Negative Reviews and Why They are Good for Everyone

  1. I recently received a giveaway from GR, about poetry. Poetry without rhythm, without rhyme, without assonances, and without interesting words or story. Just nothing. I feel bad, but to offer poetry without anything, what is left? nothing.., . How do I review that? Can you give me idea? there is nothing worth while.

    1. You clearly have a love of poetry, and your review would be helpful to others who are just as passionate about it.

      What you just said in that comment was very honest and informative without being cruel.
      If the poetry din’t speak to you or you simply think it was not well written, then that’s what you should say in your review.

      Giving negative reviews are never fun, but they are also necessary. 🙂

  2. Negative reviews are always tough but they are important. If you’re an indie author and you have 50 5-star reviews, people are going to assume you asked 50 friends to review it. I’ve seen so many reviews that are sometimes obviously fake (sometimes they couldn’t even bother to vary their single ‘sentence’ reviews).

    It can be hard but it’s so important to be honest when reviewing.

    1. That’s very true. And when I see reviews like those, I move on and don’t give the book a second glance.

      It’s nice to have a balance between positive and negative reviews for every book.

      1. Yeah, negative reviews do build up trust. Then you know the author isn’t just faking them all.

        I’ve even respected some authors more based on their reactions to negative reviews. I believe there was a book called “Beasthood” (I think that’s the right name) that I reviewed before. Didn’t like it at all, the relationship was far from something I was comfortable with. Very abusive. I gave it one star, but I like the author herself and I hope she does well, and other people had obviously enjoyed the book.

        1. I’m the exact same way. I love it when authors don’t freak out over a negative review.
          I always think of books as any other art form, and art is subjective. Everyone isn’t going to like the same thing.

          Just because I didn’t like it, that doesn’t mean someone else won’t love it.

  3. I have to agree with you. Negative reviews can be good. After all, they are only an opinion, and it doesn’t mean the book is horrible completely. I think that if the person writes a good, respectful negative review where they list the reasons why the didn’t like it or it wasn’t for them, then others can see if the book is for them because of the same reasons. Which is why I think Negative reviews are good. Great discussion topic!

    1. Thanks! I have a hard time writing negative reviews so I needed to remind myself why they are good for everyone. It’s not an attack on the author if I am just expressing my opinion of the book. 🙂

  4. I find it incredibly awkward to write a negative review as well… especially if the author contacted me directly asking for a review. So whenever I do give a bad rating, I try to accompany it with a well thought out review that sums up exactly what I didn’t like and why it might work for other people. I like reading reviews that detail what exactly worked and what didn’t rather than ones that just say ‘everything about this book was great and you should read it!’ mostly because that doesn’t really tell you anything and I might end up hating it because we all have different opinions. Great topic!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. Thank you! I feel the same way. It is so awkward to write a negative review when the author asked you to read it, but I think it’s more important to be honest.

      I have never had an author get mad because of a review though. I’ve been really lucky to work with nice and understanding people so far. 🙂

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