I’m not going to go into detail about what made me want to talk about this topic, because I don’t want to open up that can of worms and stir up drama. This post is not directed at a particular incident, but rather inspired by it. Because let’s face it, this has happened many, many times.
So called ‘negative’ reviews
If you publish a book, you are knowingly putting it out there for criticism. That’s the risk you take, period. No matter how amazing it is, someone is going to hate it. It’s all a matter of opinion. And, as I like to say: Opinions are like buttholes; everybody has one. Just because someone’s opinion is different from yours does not make them wrong. Some people get so worked up when someone else thinks differently from them. To me, this is ignorant, immature, and narrow-minded.
Friendly debates are great, as long as both sides maintain maturity and professionalism. BUT – there’s points where debate crosses the line. And the word ‘bullying’ gets tossed around. Writing a ‘negative’ review – or, a rant review – is NOT bashing or bullying. There is a huge difference between being honest and being mean. If you write a negative review, and give specific examples (i.e. quotes from the book) of why exactly you did not like it, that is simply stating your opinion. Yes, sometimes negative reviews can get ranty and snarky, picking apart the book in gruesome detail. Still, this is not bashing. Bashing the author would be saying, ‘this book is a piece of crap,’ or ‘this author sucks at writing,’ or something else along those lines. That is mean. Hating a book is not. It just means you have an opinion. God forbid anybody think for themselves!
As Aprilynn Pike said once in a panel I attended: Reviews are not for authors. They’re for the consumers.
Under no circumstance should an author comment or respond to a negative review. (I’ve been lucky enough not to have one attack me, but I did have a couple different ones try to politely defend their book, which just made me feel awkward.) If the curiosity is killing you and you feel the need to read one, take it as constructive criticism, brush it off, and move on. Leave it alone. Because you do not want the fallout that comes with attacking a reviewer for their opinion. Especially since many Young Adult reviewers tend to be young these days. How does that make you look that you’re talking down to a teenager and you’re a grown ass adult? C’mon now. Instead of making yourself look like a badass, you’ve made yourself look like an unprofessional asshat and ensured that many of us will never touch your work in the future.
I personally love snarky rant reviews. Those are my favorite to read as well as my favorite to write. When I rant, my sarcasm comes out. It’s not that I hate the author, it’s just that the book was not for me (which is a nice way of saying I hated the book itself) and I feel the need to vent about it. That is just me, giving my honest opinion about a book I read. Isn’t that the point of being a book blogger? I think too many people have lost sight of that. Too many hardcore fans get their panties in a twist when someone doesn’t like that book they loved. If you’re going to say anything on anyone’s negative review about a book you loved, it had better be nothing more than ‘Oh I loved this one, sorry it didn’t work for you.’ I personally avoid making those comments at all, unless it’s a really good blogging friend.
People just need to live and let live. Accept that everyone thinks differently and everyone has different tastes. Stop being so damn sensitive!
Things can get out of hand waaaay to fast. One person says something, someone else gets offended, then it blows up and soon friends and followers are getting involved and it turns into an internet lynch mob, complete with virtual pitchforks. Sometimes over a mere misunderstanding. If someone says something that offends you, why don’t you ask for clarification? Perhaps they didn’t intend it that way. Things can get misconstrued very easily online because we don’t have body language or tone of voice to judge intent.