SHOP TALK: Words That Hurt: The Sticky Issue of Reviews

(Today’s blog has been revised for nefarious security purposes.)
Today, I want to talk about authors and reviews. Particularly negative reviews, and what we are told—by editors, by publishers, by marketers, by common sense: Don’t respond. Don’t engage.
I’ve been very, very blessed to have met some of the most Ah-MAZE-ing bloggers and book reviewers in the last year or two, and most of my reviews have been positive. Most of those that have been critical have been fair, and I have absolutely no problem with that. After all, if a person takes the time to read my books he or she also has every right to like them or not like them, and to say so.
Some reviewers take pride, however, in being as snarky as possible. You know what, folks? Words are powerful. Words can hurt. Especially to a new author just starting on a career.  I’ve developed a bit of a harder shell these days. Things that would upset me a year ago I can laugh at now, because some of them are just so bizarre. But since I can’t say the things to my current tormenter that I want, I’ll indulge myself in what I’d like to have said to some of my favorite one-star reviews. 
–“Total junk. This author is no Stephanie Meyer.” (OMG, thank you.)
–“I don’t understand what all the hype is about this book, and I read it twice.” (Uh…masochistic much?)
–“This book was just too strange. It couldn’t really happen.” (Uh…fantasy?)
–“This author obviously does not know what romance or sexual tension is. It’s no paranormal romance. It should be marketed as urban fantasy.” (Uh…it IS urban fantasy.)
And my all-time favorite:
–“HOLY BATMAN THIS BOOK SUCKED! You see the girl’s facial expression on the book cover? It says…. hurry up and take this photo I need to take a dump! That girl’s facial expression summarizes my reading experience with this book. This is the book you read while waiting for someone to get out of the bathroom to take a dump. And I mean this with the most respect…” (Whew. So glad you held onto that respectful tone. And you might want to see a proctologist or a shrink about that dump-fixation.)
I always wondered why people loved those review websites (you know the ones I mean) who specialize in ripping authors and their books to shreds with clever put-downs and snarky humor.
But I had a bit of an epiphany yesterday as I was scrolling around websites looking for a new indoor grill. I found myself not reading the five-star reviews but instead reading the one-star reviews to see if whatever the people were complaining about was something that would bother me. Often, it wasn’t. Often, they were just bizarre. 
And maybe that’s what readers do as well. They’re trolling on Goodreads or Amazon, see a book that looks interesting, and scroll down to the one-star reviews to see what people hated about it. If it’s because it’s too sexy, or reads like an urban fantasy, or makes some strange person want to take a dump—well, maybe that is a book they’d like. 
I absolutely agree that “do not engage” is what authors have to do with reviews—we’ve had our say with our books, and the reviewers/readers get to have their say, whether we like the way they say it or not. And in the end, we have to trust the readers to make their own decisions and know that the thoughtful reviewers far outweigh the “hit and runs.” My job is to write books; a reviewer’s job, or hobby, or passion, is to review. So I do not respond, and do not engage. 
Do you read the negative reviews with more care than the positive ones? What do you look for in a review that is helpful to you? Do you take the time to leave a review, especially on Amazon where it really makes a difference in how the author is promoted, for books you really love or really hate?
Let’s chat! One commenter from today’s Shop Talk will win a $10 gift card from Amazon or B-and-N.com, or an equivalent-cost book from Book Depository (which really needs to start selling gift cards).

56 thoughts on “SHOP TALK: Words That Hurt: The Sticky Issue of Reviews

  1. I do actually read at least one or two negative reviews on Amazon to get a sense for what people don’t like. If the reviews are written by someone who is clearly illiterate, then, yeah, I ignore them. But if it’s a fair but negative review, I do tend to consider the reviewer’s point. There are a few things I look for in a negative review, such as sexual assault in the book, which is a trigger for many people, and often that will be stated in reviews.

    I do leave short reviews on Goodreads, especially if I “won” the book on a blog or the author is a favorite. If I really hate the book, which hasn’t happened much lately, I will leave a negative review, but I try to be considerate of the author’s feelings and keep comments limited to why certain aspects of the book didn’t work for me.

    And I thought the Stephanie Meyer and UF comments were hilarious, lol!

    • LOL–I thought they were really funny too…and the one that read the book twice. Why would you re-read a book you hated?

      As an author, the three-star reviews are the ones I really pay attention to. They’re usually very thoughtful, and especially with the first couple of books I published, I saw some things that I needed to address in my writing. If I can turn a three star on book one to a four or five from the same reviewer on book two, I know I did it right 🙂

  2. I have heard several different opinions about dealing with reviews lately.
    Obviously, the “do not engage” advice is valid, especially if someone is terribly nasty in a review. But I also heard an author say that she thanks everyone who posted a review, even a sucky one, because they took the time to read her book and think about what to write. I’m going to guess she’s never gotten a review that compared her negatively to Stephenie Meyer, LOL.

    Another friend said that even negative reviews are okay if they get people talking about your book. I’m not sure I’m quite there, but maybe someday I’ll manage to have that attitude. You know, if I’m being panned enough to reap the Twilight or Fifty Shades kind of disdain, all the way to the bank.

    • Yes, at the point I was at a Twilight or 50 Shades sales status, I don’t care how many one-star reviews I get!

      I still don’t like negative reviews, of course. And sometimes I even take them to heart more than I should. If I’ve established some personal connection with a reviewer I’ll definitely thank the person via email or sharing the link. Otherwise, I tend not to respond to positive reviews either because I don’t want to make the reviewer feel awkward about it.

  3. Iun so sorry you have to deal with an idiot in your day job. That guys behavior is ridiculous!

    I tend to read 3 star reviews when I’m unsure about a book. They’re usually the most honest and useful, pointing out both the good and the bad.

    Bad reviews haven’t really bothered me for some reason. It’s surprising given that I’m one of the most insecure people I know.!

    Sandy Williams
    http://Www.sandy-Williams.com

    • Exactly! I’m with you on the three-star reviews. Sometimes they just don’t like the way a plot twist went, or a certain character, or whatever. But if enough of them complain about pacing, or certain plot elements, I do pay attention to them for future books.

  4. I typically avoid reading bad reviews because I find they’re not always that objective or helpful. You’re right, they are usually very bizarre – and as a reader sometimes piss me off! Key words clue me in – boring being a big one. I get the feeling it’s usually more of an indication of the reader’s attention span than the quality of the book.

    That said, I do read reviews. I like to read reviews. A thoughtful review can sway me in either direction with regards to a book but an overly negative one just turns me off of the reviewer in particular (unless it’s a reviewer I’m familiar with and know is not one who makes a habit of being negative just for the sake of being negative).

    I kind of hate the idea that it’s a bad thing to generally enjoy what you read. I come from a bookselling background and recognize that even when I don’t like something I’m not necessarily the right market for it. There’s no reason to be mean about that. A book has to be really bad for me not to find something I enjoyed out of it and since I pick all of the books I read, yeah, I generally like them.

    • The one-star reviews are often quite bizarre….sometimes entertainingly so. I also like to read reviews, and if I’m on the fence about a book they might sway me one way or another.

      I ‘ve heard a lot of authors say they don’t read reviews of their own books, and I’m not quite there yet. I always read them although I no longer obsess over them. And I tend to like what I read as well, or at least something about it. It’s a rare book that I DNF.

  5. If I’m unsure if I want to read a particular title, I will read both positive and negative reviews for said title. Usually I try to find those that actually point out solid reasons for either liking or disliking said title, and if I see any sign of disrespect towards the author, I stop reading and find another review.

    In all honesty, I don’t like the snarky reviews filled with unnecessary cursage. While some books might invoke such language, reviewers can at least put it in terms such as “This book raised such ire in me while reading it” or “I was utterly confused as to where the plot was going without any direction.”

    Regarding the “do not engage” philosophy, I feel that’s really best both for authors and your work situation. Because they’re just trying to get a rise out of you as you well know. And I truly hope that most agents and publishers prepare their authors (especially their debut authors) for the onslaught of varying and opinionated reviews.

    Thank you for sharing your story, and I hope that your work situation is resolved peacefully. 🙂

    ~Amy
    DJ Librarian Dishes

    • Thanks, Amy! I think the thoughtful reviews–even negative ones–are fine. I mean, no book is going to appeal to all readers, and reviews can help a reader see if the things the reviewer disliked are things they should take into consideration.

      I also don’t like reading the total snark reviews, and while reviews are very important to authors in terms of getting the word out about their books, I’m always just as happy that the real snark sites don’t review mine.

  6. I should post more online reviews, especially for books I love. One of my favorite authors is P C Hodgell and I wish more people would read her amazing fantasy books. I do enjoy reading online review; sometimes the one star reviews are the funest.
    Best of luck with your current situation. Sounds like the guy is a total idiot!

    • You should, Susan! Reviews are especially important on Amazon because the algorithms include the total number of reviews, and total number of five-star reviews, to determine when a book gets included in Amazon’s promotional emails. So if you’ve read a book and really like it, posting even a one-sentence review on Amazon really helps the author out.

      In some perverse way, I enjoy my one-star reviews because they’re quite often just funny 🙂

  7. I never leave reviews on Amazon for the most part. Don’t read the reviews there either. I stick to Goodreads and trusted blogs & friends 🙂 But yes, I do read reviews. A lot of them. Both positive and negative so that I have a clearer picture of what I’ll be picking up. I don’t like reviews loaded with hyperbole and gifs and I’m probably not the only one. But I can appreciate someone that takes the time to analyze why it did or didn’t work and what’s good & bad about the book 🙂

    I write both positive and negative reviews, but I do make sure to keep it strictly to the book.. and not speculate or use wild hyperbole.

    I’m really sorry about your work situation. It sounds like a hassle and a HUGE bummer. That really sucks, but you’re handling it with grace & civility.

    • See my earlier note about Amazon reviews. I think Goodreads reviews are valuable to other readers while Amazon reviews are valuable to the authors (at least the positive ones) because they have a direct impact on sales.

      I LOVE LOVE LOVE me some five-star reviews. If trying to decide on a book I want to read, the three- and four-stars probably tell me the most info.

  8. I read both positive and negative reviews but I ignore snarky ones. If a reviewer presents a valid reason why they didn’t like a book such as writting style or an annoying character it may help me decide if it’s something I want to read. And the same goes for positive reviews – I want to read about why the author liked the book – not just because it’s a clone of something else.

    Hope you get your work issue resolved.

  9. I don’t rate books on my blog I will confess. I do rate on goodreads, but it’s the rare book that gets one star.

    I sometimes post on amazon, but to be honest I don’t like amazon because it’s so monopolistic.

  10. As a reader, I absolutely read the negative reviews. Just on Amazon, though. I review books on Goodreads that I’ve read, and I follow a few bloggers/reviewers there whose opinions I trust, but otherwise I don’t read the reviews on Goodreads for a book I haven’t read yet. Most of the time I’m reading them for books I’ve already read, just to see what other people thought of them compared to me.

    On Amazon, I check the 1- and 2-star reviews for ANYTHING I buy. For books in particular, since a lot of the time I’m trudging through the free kindle books, I use these reviews to gauge if the book will be worthwhile or a turd. Because a lot of books that are free are that way because they wouldn’t sell if they charged even 99 cents (most often self-pubbed). Plot holes, not edited, typos galore, etc. So I check the poor reviews to see what other people didn’t like, to consider if it is something that I would hate too. For free kindle books in particular, it is important to know what you’re potentially getting into, and I pass on a lot of them if the poor reviews consistently mention the same problems. Or if the reviews (good or bad) compare it to Twilight or 50 Shades (since I read a lot of YA and romance). Those books are a plague and I want nothing to do with any books like them.

    I ignore the poor reviews if they’re like the ones you reference above (e.g. “this is too profane and has too much sex!” when the book is an erotic romance. I mean, duh), or if the reviewer can’t be bothered to use complete sentences or even punctuation or correct spelling, for god’s sake. Obviously their opinion is useless.

    I look at the negative reviews and also the positive reviews. Especially on Amazon, I can’t just trust that a positive review is the truth, which is why I want to see what BOTH sides think. But either way, I take all reviews with a grain of salt and the understanding that some dealbreakers for others aren’t going to be the same for me.

    • Ah, good point about the freebie and almost-freebie books, because there are SO MANY of them. I admit to being shallow when it comes to self-pubbed books these days. I look at the cover and if it’s really amateurish, I don’t go further. Then I look at the blurb, and if it’s a grammatical or logical trainwreck, I don’t go further. Only then might I go to read a review.

      When I first got my Kindle, I downloaded all kinds of freebies…until I quickly realized I didn’t have time to read books I’d only gotten because they were free. I ended up removing most of them. But that’s a subject for another day!

    • Yes! When I first got my Kindle, I was giddy with all of the free options. And then I started reading one that was just…terrible, and I realized I needed to check into what I was “buying,” because even if it’s free it still costs me time that I could have spent reading a good book instead of utter crap! I did find a couple of my now-favorite historical romance authors through the free books though, so i still think it’s definitely worth it to wade through the pile once in a while to see if I can get some gems. And that’s where the reviews come in!

  11. If there are reviews, I’ll sometimes look at a couple of them- both any positive and negative. Don’t like positive reviews that just say they liked it, but not why. Those aren’t helpful to me as a reader.

  12. I am first a reader, and secondly a blogger/reviewer. I do review everything I read, but not if I DNF a book. Which basically means, I only review the books I like, otherwise I don’t finish that book. Secondly, because 95% of my books are from those authors I already love to read. Which makes my blog too positive for some. But I do read for fun and entertainment, and don’t do many review requests.

    I do post my reviews at Amazon and Goodreads since a few months, when I learned that that helped the author. Which will make her able to write more books in the series I love 😉

    I do read reviews, but only on those blogs I follow, and of which I know the reviewers have a largely similar taste in that particular genre they blog about. I do come across some really sarcastic book reviews some times, and as a reader, it is also hurtful if someone bashes a book you really loved. I cannot believe they read for fun and entertainment at all. Or I think: did they read the same book I did?

    I also wish more reviewers would write in Word first and use spellcheck. Badly written reviews make me undervalue their opinions.

    • I hear you! I think the best blogger/reviewers are always readers first. I love that so many readers now have forums where they can share their enthusiasm, concerns, or opinions about the books they read. It’s good to hear that so many readers don’t like those snarkalicious reviews, either.

    • If I know I am going to read the book myself, I don’t read reviews of it, until after I have finished it and written my own review. After that, I am always curious to find out what others think of a book I loved.

  13. I do read positive and negative reviews at Amazon and Goodreads. A well written review, positive or negative, still makes me take a closer look at a book I might purchase. However, I write very few reviews. I read at least one book a day. There have been times I finished a book and didn’t like it, only to read it again at a later date and really enjoy it. Sometimes my head is not in the right space for a certain book at a certain time. That’s why I don’t write reviews. Spreading the word amongst my book buddies is still my favorite way to learn about new book and share new books.

    • You make a good point. Reading is so subjective, not only between people but from one day to the next, or one year to the next. I know with the Sookie Stackhouse books, after someone said my books reminded her of them, I went and got the first one out of curiosity. I couldn’t get into it the first couple of times and put it away. A few months later I went back and tried again, and ended up really liking the series (though that first book still isn’t my favorite and I honestly don’t see a comparison to my books except they’re both set in Louisiana).

  14. I tend to read both positive and negative reviews on Amazon mainly and book blogs. If the book has all positive 5 star reviews then I get suspicious of sock puppets or “friends” just reviewing. Then I make a deliberate attempt to read the negative reviews to balance out. If it’s relevant, real reviews I will take the negative in account. If it’s just petty nitpicking or I hated the heroine stuff, I’ll try and see what my trusted book bloggers have to say.

    • I understand the sock-puppet concern. But I also think, well, I have a book on Amazon now, my latest, that has all four- and five-star reviews. I think that’s awesome. I don’t know those people who reviewed the book. They aren’t my relatives or close friends. So I’d hate to think people would avoid reading my book because it had good reviews. (At the same time, I sure don’t want everyone rushing over to give it bad reviews–LOL.) But I have heard of cases where there were sock-puppet review campaigns, so I understand why readers are wary.

  15. I’ve read a lot of my reviews, both good and bad. I only respond if someone lets me know they want me to see it. At first I worried that this policy might make me seem indifferent to the positive reviews, but I figured it was the easiest policy to maintain long term. And if I wasn’t invited to comment on the review, it just seemed inappropriate to do so. I try to make a habit of letting everyone know how much I appreciate any interest in my work and how grateful I am for reader/reviewer support.

    Many times reviews speak for themselves (as your examples above show). Other times it’s just a matter of different tastes. I try to remind myself than most readers are discerning. As you said, they are capable of sorting through comments and filtering information.

    I only have one book out, but those reviews were helpful to me in identifying common reactions. Some reactions I intended but some I didn’t and that was eye opening. For me, the most interesting thing was how polarizing my MC’s love interest was. I turned it into a discussion question.

    Great topic. I follow your blog for many reasons – it spotlights great books for one! – and also bc your Shop Talk posts are honest and thought provoking.

    Give my chance to win the giveaway to someone else. I just wanted to drop by and show some support because it seems like you’re going through a tough time. Hang in there!

    • Thanks, Jill! It has been an, um, “interesting” year thus far on the personal homefront. I also have learned from my reviews. For instance, until Royal Street (the first book) came out, I had no idea people HATED love triangles. I mean serious hate. I’m gradually resolving that but it was an eye-opener. But I’ve also finally realized that readers can tell a thoughtful review from a kneejerk reaction. Thanks for stopping by!

  16. I read both the good and bad reviews on Amazon if I’m on the fence about something. After a few good reviews, I then look at the bad and see if I can find a pattern. I automatically ignore the odd ones, but I do consider bad reviews.

    • I think you have to consider them, Stacey–totally agree–if they have consistent criticisms. They can also be useful to the author. If you hear the same problem with a book from a lot of different sources, it’s wise to consider it.

  17. Suzanne, don’t pay too much attention to that because 1 star reviews sell your books just as well as 5 stars. people get curious and want to read what reviewer was so enraged about or I for example always look at both 5 star and 1 star reviews for the author I don’t know to judge if the book suits me. Often it’s 1-star reviews that sell the book for me because what another person might hate I might really like ;)))
    *hugs and support*

    • You know, I keep hearing that! I’ve been very fortunate to not have received many one-star reviews. A few, but they’ve tended to be the whackjob ones. I have heard authors say that getting creamed on one of those snarky sites is great publicity but I’m not quite brave enough to send my books to them!

  18. I sometimes make a review on Goodreads, really want to make it on amazon, but not allow me because I’m not a customer *sigh.

    Honestly I don’t like reading negative review, especially a really bad one, sounds that they are really expert in judge what people wrote which I know they have any right to say what they feel or thought after reading book that they really don’t like or hate, they should think first : how if they try to write (which I’m sure they even can’t write *drollingeyes) and let people judge them lol. And why I don’t like reading negative review bcoz it’ll kill my mood to read (˘_˘٥)

  19. I’m a book blogger and I try to stay away from reviews on books I want to read until I’ve written my review. At that point I do go to Amazon to read some of the reviews of others, both the positive and the negative. I find myself nodding to some of the comments and sometimes I wonder if I and said reviewer actually read the same book. I probably don’t review a fifth of the books I read (if I reviewed them all I’d never get a chance to read). Needless to say everyone doesn’t have the same taste in books or men. And both of those are necessary for life.

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    • OMG. I might have to quote you on that: Books and men: both necessary for life. LOL. I also enjoy reading reviews on books I’ve read, especially if I’m having trouble pinpointing what I did or didn’t like about it. It’s always interesting to sort of “compare notes.”

  20. Yikes, so sorry you are having so much trouble at work! When I first started reading book blogs, I thought I might like to set one up myself. I started writing reviews on Amazon, but after awhile, I realized that I didn’t enjoy writing reviews for books I didn’t like. That made me decide not to blog, since the bloggers I respect are the ones that tell you their honest opinions, both good and bad. I still post reviews on Amazon, and do post uncomplimentary reviews occasionally (just this morning I wrote one for a new urban fantasy that has gotten a lot of hype), but in general, if I don’t like the book, I tend not to review it.

    I read Amazon reviews, especially the 1 and 2 stars, for exactly the reason you noted. Oftentimes, people give 1 star for something that wouldn’t bother me, like cursing or sex. With self-pubbed books, I’m specifically looking for comments on grammar/spelling as those books are notorious for being poorly (or not at all) edited and that usually drives me crazy. It seems like poor editing doesn’t bother most people, but since I don’t like it, I check the reviews before I even bother to download a sample.

    • I also don’t review books I don’t like–it’s awkward for me as an author, and I don’t want to pretend to like a book I really can’t endorse. I also have such limited reading time it’s crazy.

      Grammar/spelling/punctuation. Gah. Those also drive me crazy, probably because I work as an editor. I know a lot of folks don’t care but it is a big issue for me. If I spot an error like that in a blurb, I will not pick up the book.

  21. I don’t look at reviews at least on Amazon. I used to but now I read the excerpt on the Look Inside feature and decide for myself. I’ve gotten only a few negative reviews and one where the reviewer actually contacted me ahead of time and said that a particular scene really upset and offended her so I was both ready for it and understanding of her POV. It was fairly snarky but again, I understood that it colored her reading of the entire book. She didn’t have to contact me at all and I thought it was quite honest on her part to do so. I do not engage or respond. I know it’s difficult to resist (it’s like a knee-jerk reaction that’s hard to control) but I’ve managed to muddle through it by remembering I’ve sent out the book for review and I have to accept that chance of a negative one. I get upset of course like everyone else and it usually takes a day or two to get over it (okay sometimes a week…month lol!) I try to discipline myself to try and never make whatever mistakes/weak spots, etc. that were pointed out again. But then I’m weird.

  22. LOL. Not weird at all. I don’t argue with negative reviews–it’s part of the business and readers absolutely have every right to their opinions. It’s the deliberately mean-spirited ones that bother me, because people do it to make themselves look clever and funny without much thought as to how hurtful words can be.

    I agree about the “Look Inside” feature, and also the ability to download an excerpt or first chapter of a book and test-drive it. I think it’s a fabulous feature and you can tell a lot about an author’s voice and style from the first pages.

  23. I am a total book lover so I always look for positive reviews. I only read the reviews of the books I’m interested in reading in the first place so it tempts me to read the book sooner if it has a glowing review. If I come across a negative review I may go through it. Usually some things in a negative review are just plain silly and have nothing to do with the book itself. I try not to let it weigh that much if I really want to read it I go ahead anyway 🙂 I most;y read reviews on Goodreads. The people who post there are usually more supportive of the book than the Amazon reviewers I think.

    • I agree about the constructive negatives–if the reviewer really says why he or she doesn’t like it. I have no problem with those at all. But the nasty ones that are mean and bizarre, I call “hit and run” reviews 🙂

  24. Oki 3rd attempt^^ i don’t know why but i tried to comment yesterday but it never appeared ( not even the captcha box)

    First now that you explained how the review on amazon were more important than goodread ones for the author i will try to post some there more often. Until know i did only post on amazon when it was a review i was asked to write ( or offered to) not when it was a book i’ve read on my free will with a book i did buy etc. now i will try to do it since it a good way to give back to the author who did help us to escape with their books

    i do read negative review, if their are well written and constructive because sometimes the reviewer would said he doesn’t like something that i’m looking for or fo,d of. after all we do all have differents taste. When, it’s just to critized and being mean i don’t read i even stopped following blog that did only that because i can’t believe you will read only book you hate.

    When i do review a book, i want first to be honest but i also try to be attentive as how to said what i think as not to hurt anyone. I always try to say what it’s positive too because even in a book i didn’t like i believe there is at least one thing that i liked ( the plot, the setting, the way character were described, constructed, the pacing etc) there must have something. The same with the opposite even in a book i did love i will try to be fair and precise if their was something i liked less or not at all.

    i really hope your stalker will find his/her head back and let you in peace. Take care ^^

    • Thanks, Miki! I think you do a wonderful job with your reviews. They are always very thoughtful, and you include the things you did and didn’t like. You’re doing it just right, in my opinion!

  25. I will look at the low reviews to see… most times it’s crap and doesn’t deter me from buying the book.

    Recently I vowed to quit reading reviews for my stuff, especially the free book. Because it’s free a lot of people download it who would normally not read the genre. Then they feel the need to comment… of course.

    Jeez, on the stalker business. Take care.

  26. I do actually read the negative reviews to see if what they did nto like might be the same for me but I do still read the 4 and 5 star ones just not as much.

    pefrw at yahoo dot com

  27. I sometimes read negative reviews if I am on the fence about a book. I come across really harsh negative reviews that make me roll my eyes. Some people take it a step to far to being ridiculous. There is no need to attack an author, focus on the story and where it fell apart for you and don’t warn everyone away from it. I know I have different tastes from other people and something someone else may like, I may end up loving and vice versa. I read the reviews, but if I am already intrigued with a book, I will most likely still read it despite bad reviews. If I am on the fence about a book, I look for reviewers who have simimar tastes to my own and read through several reviews, good and bad

  28. I don’t usually read reviews until after I’ve read a book. But after I read the book I go to goodreads when I’m posting my review. And I check out other reviews. Often the 1 star reviews are listed first.

    I personally have never given a 1 star review. But I do read reviews to get an idea of what others thought about the book. But getting nasty is just mean.

    Even in my higher star reviews I usually do try to say if there is anything I didn’t like about the book. But I still try to be kind about it. And think about what the author would feel like if they were reading it. So I never get nasty.

  29. I always go for the one or two star reviews when I’m deciding on buying or reading a book 🙂

    If they were written by someone that is literate and knows what they’re talking about then there’s a high chance the book might be bad (Especially if the reviewer describes glaring plot holes. I really get annoyed by those).

    If they were written by shall we say “strange” people with tenuous grasps of grammar and spelling that have complaints about strong language or not liking the main character because he is not a nice person (for example in a noir mystery novel…go figure 🙂 ), and sometimes those reviews are written only by them, then I figure that I might give it a try 🙂

    Of course there’s the third category of reviewers: the grammar nazis that give a one star review to a book because they found a few typos or a subordinate clause that wasn’t properly introduced…*gasp!*. Those I ignore completely 😀 [I’m an English teacher by profession and once, on a whim, spent half an hour going over a first page of a book that some reviewer claimed had numerous errors, which made him stop reading in disgust, and frankly found only two or three that could be classified as colloquial and in my opinion didn’t detract from the story at all]

  30. I have written negative reviews but I actually never been snarky. I try to point out why I didn’t like it (world building, story arc, characters, writing) and I always state that it’s MY opinion, maybe other people will find it engaging.

    I know that sometimes those reviews for readers can be quite funny but I ttry to remember that I am talking about someone’s hard work and being respectful is a MUST.

    When I read reviews I either read the ones of bloggers I know and trust and I avoid the 5-star and 1-star reviews. I keep it to the 3-star.

  31. I read both but it’s usually the ‘lesser star’ ones that make me want to buy a book more. The reviews I read are usually by bloggers I’m already following and ones from people whom I’ve known to have similar reading tastes to mine. They list the good and bad and I find them fair enough. I don’t mind a little snark as long as they aren’t just attacking/ripping at the book or author for no reason.

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