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…