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Suggestions & Questions > Why are Goodreads reviewers so BRUTAL?

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Mandyma | 3 comments Often I go through reviews before buying a book, and I have never seen such negative reviews as here on Goodreads. Why is everyone so negative? Many of the books I've gotten anyway and they were good! You'll write up a long review and your description of the book sounds pretty good but then you only gave it three stars! It will be a paranormal book and you'll be complaining about how 'out there' it is! Or it will be erotica and you'll complain that the sex was kinky! And those are the good reviews! The bad ones seem to be intent on destroying the author. Literally, I have seen these scathing reviews simply because you hated one of the characters in the book! Seriously, the fact that the book and characters moved you so much, even to the point of anger, is what makes it good! And you're giving one or no stars! If you feel strongly about a subject after reading a book it means the author got you emotionally involved. You do realize that your horrible, insulting reviews affect the author's livelihood, right? I mean, if a book is badly written that's one thing. But if it's well written and just isn't your thing, you should make that clear in your review. I don't think it's the author's fault that you hate the topic they are writing about(why are you reading erotica if you hate it...or paranormal if you don't like stuff that's 'out there'?). I've never seen such derogatory reviews as on this site. I honestly think you are all very hateful and uptight. This fifty shades of grey thing especially has got me going. Honestly, why did so many of you buy the book? If you can't have fun with it and just enjoy erotica, do the author a favor and don't buy it. Your bad review will cost her more than the few bucks you pay for the book. And no, I'm not the author. Just tired of the hatred spewed on this site.


message 2: by Elizabeth (Alaska) (last edited Jun 09, 2012 07:35AM) (new)

Elizabeth (Alaska) | 7382 comments I haven't seen negative reviews that attack an author. Maybe I read other than contemporary publications. You do realize that people have the right to express their opinion, don't you? Most of us aren't here for the author's ego or bank account.


Mandyma | 3 comments I do realize the free speech thing Elizabeth. That's why I hesitated to post this... But I just notice that the ratings are always, on every book, more negative here on goodreads than Amazon, Barnesandnoble..etc. And I've almost passed on some good books because of it. Read some of the reviews for erotica and paranormal in particular. There is a nastiness to the reviews that is unnecessary. These come up everywhere online. The reviewers seriously lambast the authors, and I'm sorry, but the books aren't that bad. Just my opinion.


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 7382 comments Well, d'oh. We're not trying to sell a book and they are. Think about it. If the reviews at Amazon and B&N were negative, would they be selling books? No. People wouldn't buy them. It's not in the financial interest of Amazon and B&N to post negative reviews. So you don't get a true picture at those sites.


Paula (Paulaan) | 403 comments That's because Amazon practices censorship or at least used to

http://www.amazon.com/is-Amazon-remov...

I no longer use amazon so that practice may have changed


Mandyma | 3 comments I review on Amazon and Barnes and noble all the time. They are posted exactly as I write them. The reviews on those sites accurately reflect the feelings of the people who buy them. I disagree that Amazon or Barnes and Noble make the reviews better to sell books. Anybody can come on this site and review these books. You have to actually buy it on Amazon before they'll even let you review it!


Becky (Beckyofthe19and9) | 3580 comments Mandyma wrote: "I review on Amazon and Barnes and noble all the time. They are posted exactly as I write them. The reviews on those sites accurately reflect the feelings of the people who buy them."

I don't think so. Amazon regularly removes reviews because of complaints about the content. Authors are able to get negative reviews pulled from the site easily, so that's not an "accurate reflection of the feelings of the people who buy the book" to me.


Sheila  | 572 comments Mandyma, you mention reviews that sound pretty good but then only give a book 3 stars.

Reviewers here on Goodreads are free to use whatever meaning they want for the star listing, but actually, the suggested meaning for the stars (which you can see if you hover your cursor over a star rating on a review) is:

1-star: didn't like it
2-stars: it was okay
3-stars: liked it
4-stars: really liked it
5-stars: it was amazing

So using the suggested (but not required) Goodreads meanings for the stars, a 3-star review means the reviewer liked the book, which would match with you saying it made the book sound pretty good.


MissJessie--former librarian (MissJessie) | 1610 comments Amen Sheila--three stars is my average rating for books that I read but which didn't knock me out or were no so memorable that I'll remember them for a long time. Just, no pun intended, "good reads".

The kind I may or may not keep in my library.

Most books are average, after all. If not, what's average?

I do agree that I have seen a few nasty reviews but not too many. Some people just hate a particular author and enjoy reviewing their books in order to put them down, but not too many luckily.

Also, as far as paranormal being too "out there", i think books do have to be believable within their scope/sphere and sometimes they are simply to fantastic to be believeable, even if one allows for the existence of vampires or whatever.

And of course there are some out there who are just jerks by nature and enjoy the free unfettered forum of GR. Those I just skip over.

Cheers.


Jennie (jmayhp) | 18 comments Sheila wrote: "Mandyma, you mention reviews that sound pretty good but then only give a book 3 stars.

Reviewers here on Goodreads are free to use whatever meaning they want for the star listing, but actually, th..."


I was going to make the same point. A three star rating is NOT a bad rating, it is an average rating here and indicates that the book was enjoyed by the reviewer. I for one appreciate that the ratings are not as over-inflated here as they are on other sites.

And as to why the reviews are negative, well, sometimes you read something BECAUSE its popular and then you end up hating the messages that the book is sending. It is completely fair to then review what you didn't like about the book. Most of the reviews I have seen (and written) are really clear about what didn't work and if it didn't work on a technical level or if it didn't work for the reader. And for the most part, most reviewers don't attack an author personally, they pick apart the work that they have put out for the public. (Admittedly there are always those few people who attack the author, too.)

If you aren't finding GoodReads helpful to your ability to find new books perhaps you should try using it differently? Maybe you don't want to read other people's reviews and instead just utilize the recommendation function from your shelves? Just a thought.


Brooke | 507 comments Mandyma wrote: "You have to actually buy it on Amazon before they'll even let you review it! "

Unless this has changed in the last couple months, this is simply not the case. Amazon will mark a review with a "Amazon purchase" note if the reviewer did purchase it there, but anyone can write a review on Amazon. I did so myself a couple months ago for a book that an author sent me a copy of to review.

Since you mentioned 50 Shades in your original post, I went and looked at its page on Amazon to see if its reviews were any kinder than the ones on Goodreads. The first one listed is titled, "Did a teenager write this???" and gives it 2 stars. The next one is titled, "Bestseller? Really???" and gives it one star.

50 Shades has 2,543 5-star reviews and 1,735 1-star reviews on Amazon. It has 31,441 5-star ratings and 5,547 1-star ratings on Goodreads (not all ratings on Goodreads have reviews attached, unlike Amazon). I'm not sure how you came up with your hypothesis that Amazon denizens are kinder than Goodreads reviewers, but it couldn't have been from that book in particular.


Lacrima_Atra | 7 comments If you don't want to read negative reviews, you could also use the filter option on the book page and just read the 5 star-reviews.

Personally, I only read the negative reviews, because they can give me a clearer idea, whether I want to read a book or not. But that's just a question of personal taste. And I really appreciate GoodReads for not censoring the reviews.


message 13: by Rozzer (last edited Jun 09, 2012 08:51AM) (new)

Rozzer | 55 comments To the extent that GR reviewers really are brutal (and I've noticed it at times in myself as well as in others), it may well be the general ease of expressing negative opinions on the net. Unrestrained by the usual social limits on hostility and negatives, people seem automatically to feel freer trashing other people or books or opinions far more frequently on the net than IRL. And some folks, like me, who haven't had prior practice in expressing their literary opinions (in my life it's just never been relevant), only find out when they're writing a review here on GR that they really detested an author or a book. In my reviews I've trashed Hemingway, Celine, James Jones, Rudyard Kipling and a bunch of others. They're a small minority of the reviews I've written, but my own negativity is a surprise to me.


Michael | 72 comments Mandyma wrote: "Why is everyone so negative?..."

Everyone? That's quite a brutal review of the Goodreads community.

Mandyma wrote: "You do realize that your horrible, insulting reviews affect the author's livelihood, right?..." What's wrong with my reviews? That's quite a brutal review of me!

Interpretation and intent count for much. You should bear that in mind when reading what other people post, and also consider how your own posting might be read. Just saying... :-)


Dee | 1331 comments personally, when I look at reviews I do look at the low reviews more frequently than I do high rated ones, because they tend to be the more honest. i also look at how many reviews someone has written and what they have given as a rough average - if I see someone who has only given all 4 or 5 stars, then I am usually hesitant to pay attention their reviews because they do appear to like everything and not give low reviews.

My overall review average for GR is 3.67 for 1145 books that I have rated. Out of all the ones I have read this year, I have only give out 4 5-star reviews, but multiple 3 and 4 star reviews


new_user | 446 comments I read a lot of paranormal, and I don't see that. Actually, usually, I see a lot of four or five-star raves all over the place. I've only seen a handful of trashing reviews at most, but you should be aware that if you are thinking this review is off-base, etc. there are probably other people that also think so, who are passing it over. Even the popular reviews. So don't feel threatened by them, and not that readers have any responsibility to maintain an author's livelihood -she does that herself- but reviews never harm books as popular as 50. LOL.


message 17: by Ms Bubbles SockieP (last edited Jun 09, 2012 10:34AM) (new)

Ms Bubbles SockieP (PetraX) | 4455 comments Mandyma wrote: "do the author a favor and don't buy it. Your bad review will cost her more than the few bucks you pay for the book."

Firstly let me say that your comment was really, really negative and spent 18 lines slamming reviewers. Makes me think you must be an author or the bff of one... But of course that's just a thought. If you are going to write such brutal comments and think that is fair criticism - and I do think you should write what you want - why shouldn't someone else write equally brutal comments, criticism or reviews?

As far as the author is concerned, that's not my problem. I'm very sorry if my review has ever hurt anyone's sales but then I am very sorry I wasted the money on buying a book that I felt was so awful I reviewed it negatively. Especially if I bought the book because I'd read a load of puffed-up reviews by the author/friends who had had all the negative ones on Amazon removed. And before you say it doesn't happen, I have a bookshop and 'look after' many local authors and the first thing they all do is to get friends/other authors to write how great the book was. There are many author groups, public, private and secret dedicated to this tit for tat, this promoting of books whether they have read them or not.

You seem to be saying that people should stop writing negative reviews because it hurts the author's marketing of their product even on a site that doesn't sell books. I, and many others enjoy reading reviews without being the slightest bit interested in the book. I can enjoy a really negative review just as much as a positive one and Lord help us if we have to keep in mind the author's feelings and earning potential before we write a review.

As a bookseller, of course I want people to read such positive reviews about books that they come and buy them, but honest ones. I don't need regular customers coming back to tell me (as they do) that the book had such fantastic reviews but it was a real let down.

ed. for sp.


message 18: by Dee (last edited Jun 09, 2012 09:42AM) (new)

Dee | 1331 comments Petra - if i could give you 2 thumbs up I would! There are several threads on amazon that I still participate on, called Badly Behaved Authors where authors who do the multiple accounts/friends/family reviews have been identified, or those who do review rings/tit for tat reviews...its extremely fustrating to see that because they do trick people into reading books that aren't ready for the prime time


c.o.lleen ± (... never stop fighting) ± (blackrose13) | 295 comments Personally, as for Amazon being nicer, I refuse to leave a review on amazon 'cause the comments can get really nasty. I know that's not the reviews, per se, but the community, as a whole, seems a lot less welcoming, we'll say, than goodreads.

Not that I haven't encountered any bad eggs here, but they're the minority where, on amazon, I felt they were more the norm.


message 20: by Sheila (last edited Jun 09, 2012 10:08AM) (new)

Sheila  | 572 comments Mandyma wrote: "This fifty shades of grey thing especially has got me going. Honestly, why did so many of you buy the book? If you can't have fun with it and just enjoy erotica, do the author a favor and don't buy it..."

Mandyma, I see on your profile that you have been a member of Goodreads since 2009, yet you have only rated 6 books (five given 5-stars, one given 4-stars) and you have only written reviews for three of these books, one being the above mentioned 50 Shades.

You gave 50 Shades your only 4-star rating, and in your review you state "at times the writing was a bit lacking."

As a comparison, I gave 50 Shades a 2-star review, and wrote in my review "Two stars because the writing left so much to be desired...." But I also ended my review by saying "But I have to admit I got sucked into the story, and do want to find out what is going to happen between Ana and Christian, so yes, I will be reading the second book in this series."

So in my 2-star review, which because I gave it 2-stars you might call "brutal", I say I am going to be reading the next book in the series, which I have done. Yes, I have purchased, read, and reviewed the second book, and I have participated in a Buddy Read discussion on a group here on Goodreads about these books, and I have had conversations with Goodreads friends about this book, some of whom gave the book 1-star reviews, and some of whom gave the book 5-star reviews.

So truthfully, I don't think my "brutal" 2-star review hurt author E.L. James in any way, shape or form, and in fact participating in discussions, and being able to openly discuss both the good and the awful of this book, has most likely added to her sales.

edit: and to add my statistics so you can judge how "brutal" I am, I have been a member of Goodreads since 2008, I have rated 853 books, and have written reviews for 526 of them. Of the books I have rated, I gave:
17 5-stars
337 4-stars
418 3-stars
67 2-stars
14 1-stars

which makes my average rating a 3.32 stars.


message 21: by Dee (last edited Jun 09, 2012 10:02AM) (new)

Dee | 1331 comments i haven't falled into the 50 shades fandom, because I read erotica and enjoy it and to me the sample of 50 shades that I read, wasn't sexy, wasn't interesting, it portrays BDSM in a bad-light by someone who obviously has no idea what they are talking about, which in turn is scary because people may try stuff she mentioned and it could end bad


Brooke | 507 comments lostime4me wrote: "I expect reviews on both sides of the spectrum because we all don't like the same things. It would be a very dull world if we did."

Excellent point, losttime4me. It would defy the point of having reviews at all if everyone only said nice things.

I do find it odd, as others have mentioned, that a 3-star rating is considered "brutal" by the OP. In my eyes, and it appears quite a few others, a three-star rating is pretty solid. Not amazing, not something I'd likely re-read, but something that I put down thinking, "I liked that."

If an author has reached a point that someone merely liking her book, instead of turning joyful cartwheels over it, hurts her feelings, then I think it's time for her to find a new profession.


willaful | 745 comments Excellent points, all.

I recently read an Amazon thread on "reviewers behaving badly" -- it turned out that in every instance of bad behavior mentioned, the reviewer was an author.


Robin (ukamerican) | 405 comments Mandyma wrote: "I review on Amazon and Barnes and noble all the time. They are posted exactly as I write them. The reviews on those sites accurately reflect the feelings of the people who buy them. I disagree that..."

Actually, Amazon in particular has known shill problems: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shill - that is not to say Amazon plant the shills but that they are more subject to shills associated with the product. It's one of the main reasons why I don't really consider indie books which have less than 20 reviews on Amazon - I always assume at least a few of them will be shills. GR has less shills because they are not actually selling the products.

"The reviewers seriously lambast the authors, and I'm sorry, but the books aren't that bad. Just my opinion."

And you're entitled to think they aren't that bad but at the same time, you seem to be missing the entire concept of an opinion. Just because you don't understand how someone could have thought the book was that bad doesn't mean they are just "hateful and uptight".

After all, I could say that when I think a book is that bad, it must mean anyone who liked it (such as yourself) is just easily pleased with low standards and lacking the maturity of a critical eye. But I don't say that because it's not fair. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and either way, it does not warrant derogatory comments about other reviewers. Consider the hypocrisy - you're complaining about derogatory comments about books while you yourself are making derogatory comments about other reviews.

I'm sorry but I have to agree with Petra that it sounds a little bit like you might be an author yourself. You are taking the very idea of negative reviews too personally.

"Seriously, the fact that the book and characters moved you so much, even to the point of anger, is what makes it good!"

No, it doesn't. Sometimes, the reason I dislike a book is because the characters are flat or unrealistic and therefore failed to move me at all. Even if I'm annoyed by that, it does not suddenly make flat, unrealistic characters good. I'm annoyed by the lack of quality, not the characters themselves. If you can't see the difference, I'm not sure how else to explain it.


Jain | 57 comments Mandyma wrote: "...And you're giving one or no stars!..."

Just to clarify a small point: giving a book no stars doesn't mean that the reviewer is giving it zero stars (i.e. really hates it); it means that the reviewer is leaving it unrated. This is why you'll sometimes see absolutely glowing reviews that nonetheless aren't given a star rating. As an extension of this, the no-star reviews aren't included when Goodreads calculates the book's average rating.

(Which isn't to say that some reviewers aren't using no stars to indicate for themselves/their Goodreads friends that they really hated a book; Goodreads users are free to use the star rating system however works best for them, regardless of whether their methods match common practice. But any reviewer who chooses to designate loathed books by not rating them is actually forgoing the chance to pull down the book's average rating.)


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 975 comments Yes, GR has yet to introduce the BOMB rating, which would be zero stars. Not rating it is just not rating it. (I've done this in a few cases, the one that comes immediately to mind is Mein Kampf.)


Stefani (steffiebaby140) | 447 comments Mandyma wrote: "I do realize the free speech thing Elizabeth. That's why I hesitated to post this... But I just notice that the ratings are always, on every book, more negative here on goodreads than Amazon, Barne..."

Here was the key to your comment...in yYOUR opinion the book wasn't THAT bad. To another reader they may have been tempted to poke their eyeballs out the whole time just to stop the agony. I have read several books recently that had thousands of 5 star ratings, and I gave it 1. Why? Because there was something about that book that I just couldn't stand. Maybe the characters made me want to gag. Or maybe it was so predictable that I had the whole plot figured out by chapter 1. Or the dialogue was awful, or the author seemed unable to use anything but run on sentences. These things bother me, they irritate me, and I cannot abide by then. For me, that makes it an awful book and worthy of a scathing review. Someone else may not be bothered by these things and so they rate it a 5 star and think its the best book on the planet. That's just the way it goes.

But I never feel a need to sugarcoat my honest feelings and thoughts about a book because someone else might read it and decide not to buy it. That's their choice. I merely presented my honest opinions along with thousands of other people's honest opinions.

I never base my reading off of other people's reviews anyway. Generally I read a few good reviews and a few bad ones and see which ones sound more like things I would either like or not like, then I base my decision to read it on that alone. Reviews are part of the business and if the author can't take it because some are too harsh, its time to put on their big girl/boy panties and deal with it like an adult.

I write harsh reviews when its warranted, because that's how I feel. But I cannot agree that just because I felt something I should automatically improve my rating. I read to enjoy myself, not spend half the book fighting the desire to pull my hair out and throw it out the window.


Erika | 105 comments I don't think reviewers are "brutal" here on goodreads, everyone can use the rating anyway they want to and try to express with it whatever (quality of the story, enjoyment, character development, etc.). But whenever i see a book with a 3 star rating from someone i don't think it's a bad rating. It's a matter of taste and you can't argue about that.

And something i don't understand either is why people or authors feel so attacked when they receive a low rating in their books. I've read some threads of authors saying that those reviews affect them because they turn people down on reading or buying the book. There are many people who are very manipulable, that just because they read a review that says "Don't waste your time reading this book", won't read the book, but not everyone is like that.

I know, receiving a bad critic is always hard, but that's part of the business. Everyone gets them, even the Harry Potter books that everyone seems to love get their 1 star ratings.

An example of the above is the Fifty Shades of Grey, it gets tons of reviews saying it is a horrible book, reviews with many "likes", and still people read them, people who go and read all the 1 star reviews and "like" them still feel interested to go and read it.

So i don't think goodreads reviewers should hold themselves back when reviewing a book just because an author could feel bad. And when someone says they hate the book they are not saying they hate the author as a person.


Synesthesia | 4 comments Because some books are terrible?


Donna (deety) | 906 comments I think authors who worry so much about ratings or reviews don't give readers enough credit. We aren't some mindless horde that will ignore a book if its average rating dips below a certain threshold.

Sometimes those complaints come across as a bit insulting, like they don't trust that I'm capable of evaluating a set of mixed reviews and making up my own mind.


Experiment BL626 | 402 comments Donna wrote: "We aren't some mindless horde that will ignore a book if its average rating dips below a certain threshold."

We're not? I thought we were. Aren't readers some of the stupidest people in the world?

(sarcasm, in case anyone misses it)


Becky (Beckyofthe19and9) | 3580 comments Not only that, but it makes me wonder just how good a book really is if it can't stand on its own without rating and review manipulation to make it appear in a better light.


Mike  Davis (mldavis2) | 101 comments I use the 1-2-3-4-5 stars as A-B-C-D-F, but others have their own unique systems. So ratings don't mean all that much for various other reasons as well.

In the religion and political genres, people tend to read what pre-supports their chosen ideology. Ratings, I think you'll find in these categories will have few 3-star ratings and a lot of 1-2, 4-5's depending on how well the reader agreed with the premise of the writing.

Very negative ratings can also come from readers who have 'won' ARCs in unfamiliar genres and who either do not like, do not understand or do not appreciate the author's work.

That's why I beg for reviews, much to the dismay of those who do not care to write them. A negative review can often tell you a lot about both the reader and the writing, and it's not always bad.


Rozzer | 55 comments Becky wrote: "Not only that, but it makes me wonder just how good a book really is if it can't stand on its own without rating and review manipulation to make it appear in a better light."

It's true. But books are really like an author's children, you feel obliged by love to do whatever you can to help them along in life.


♆ BookAddict ~ La Crimson Femme (lacrimsonfemme) | 427 comments Petra X wrote: "Mandyma wrote: "do the author a favor and don't buy it. Your bad review will cost her more than the few bucks you pay for the book."

Firstly let me say that your comment was really, really negativ..."





♆ BookAddict ~ La Crimson Femme (lacrimsonfemme) | 427 comments Becky wrote: "Not only that, but it makes me wonder just how good a book really is if it can't stand on its own without rating and review manipulation to make it appear in a better light."




Rozzer | 55 comments There's another aspect to this discussion. I get the impression that most posters (and possibly even most reviewers here) are trying, in their reviews, to judge books objectively, as little, separate, standing realities on their own. I can't do that.

My ratings are not ratings of "books," they're ratings of my ENCOUNTERS with books, a terribly personal thing that doesn't necessarily translate into other people's experiences. Books mean more to me than people. Seriously. And have always done so. I've had terribly passionate affairs with quite a number of them.

I can give five stars for those passionate affairs without the books being necessarily amazing reads for someone else with a different personality and a different background. My reviews are, in the main, love stories. Anyone else do the same?


Becky (Beckyofthe19and9) | 3580 comments Rozzer wrote: "Becky wrote: "Not only that, but it makes me wonder just how good a book really is if it can't stand on its own without rating and review manipulation to make it appear in a better light."

It's true. But books are really like an author's children, you feel obliged by love to do whatever you can to help them along in life. "


Perhaps, but like kids, they have to be given their own life to live. Following them around the entire school day and berating other kids who would make fun of the shirt little Susie is wearing isn't helping Susie any... it's just making her look weak and insecure... and an even bigger target.


Becky (Beckyofthe19and9) | 3580 comments Rozzer wrote: "I can give five stars for those passionate affairs without the books being necessarily amazing reads..."

To a point - I generally rate based on my enjoyment first, but then I take into consideration other things, like writing, readability, tone, plausibility, how long it took me to read, etc.


Cheryl in CC NV (cherylllr) | 2692 comments My reviews are an attempt to share stuff like what I loved about a book, and/or how it wasn't effective. Certainly they're reflective of how I read & interact with it, but I also try to talk to potential readers about how they might like it, or why they might want to not bother with it.

I am almost never snarky. And I seldom fill a whole page about how the person sitting next to me on the plane spilled his guts and made it hard for me to read the book.... ;)


♆ BookAddict ~ La Crimson Femme (lacrimsonfemme) | 427 comments I had to read this thread because I've found GR to be less hateful and mean. I'm like several of the others who rate 3 as liked the book. My numbers speak for themselves. I'd like to think I'm consistently fair since my average rating is 3.07 out of...3026 ratings.
Now for the reviews, I have been a bit behind since I'm working on historical data. I have 2170 reviews written. It is very rare that I blast at an author.

As for the original poster's accusation of people hating characters in the book and how they blasted the author...I think that may be only some reviewers. Not all reviewers do this as implied in the original post. Case in point- My review of Call me Irresistible shows how I loathed most of the characters. Check out the star rating. See the same for Caressa's Knees, Mercy, Comfort Object, Comfort Food, Tender Mercies, and Guilty Pleasures.

Then compare to some of the other reviews of characters or plots I didn't enjoy Dead Reckoning, Modern Day Slave Wife, The Submission Challenge, Double Cross, Trading up and Deep Drink.

Basically @ the original poster, most of my friends all review the same way I do. So these hateful spiteful posts you see, perhaps it's just the people you are surrounding yourself with. I rarely see author attacking reviews. What I see more often is shameless begging by the reviewer for the author to write faster, give out freebies, and or include more sex. I think the most shameless ones were the ones begging for ARC or to be a BETA reader. O_o


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 7382 comments Rozzer wrote: "It's true. But books are really like an author's children, you feel obliged by love to do whatever you can to help them along in life. "

Not sure what you meant here. Your children need to hear criticism from those who love them, else how will they learn to accept it from those who don't give a fig about their little egos. Parents do not help their offspring if they don't teach them all sorts of things - including how to improve themselves. And they won't learn how to improve themselves if they never hear they aren't the best at what they do.


willaful | 745 comments Rozzer wrote: "There's another aspect to this discussion. I get the impression that most posters (and possibly even most reviewers here) are trying, in their reviews, to judge books objectively, as little, separ..."

I love the way you put that, Rozzer. Would you mind if I quoted it on my blog?


message 44: by Sara ♥ (last edited Jun 09, 2012 12:46PM) (new)

Sara ♥ (saranicole) | 353 comments When I am seriously considering reading a book, the last thing I'm concerned about is whether or not the review is negative or positive. I want honest opinions of the book, because I honestly don't want to read a book I'm going to hate. I'm MUCH more concerned with whether or not the reviewer writes in a way that makes him/her sound like a rational human being who can properly use the English language. I want to avoid fangirls/fanboys, not people who are just expressing their honest opinion.

Now, there is NO reason for any reviewer to personally attack an author or their character, but their characters? If they suck, they suck, and I'd prefer to know that BEFORE I pick up the book, even if I'm just checking it out from the library. (I have the HARDEST time not finishing a book once I've started, which is why out of 1400 books, my abandoned and on-hold shelves only have 3 books each on them.)


message 45: by Sara ♥ (last edited Jun 09, 2012 12:53PM) (new)

Sara ♥ (saranicole) | 353 comments Oh, and I wanted to add that it IS helpful when reviewers add a bit of personal information, such as, "I don't usually read this genre..." or "I didn't realize this was a [insert genre here] book when I picked it up..." I think when you're expecting one thing and get something totally different or when you're not REALLY a fan of the genre itself, it can affect your opinion of the book AND it affects the way I weigh your opinion. I'm much more likely to take a negative review seriously if I can tell that the reviewer and I have similar reading habits, and I don't want to have to check every single reviewer's shelves to know that.


Bea  (BeaCharmed) | 66 comments Mandyma wrote: "I review on Amazon and Barnes and noble all the time. They are posted exactly as I write them. The reviews on those sites accurately reflect the feelings of the people who buy them. I disagree that..."



Most of the reviews I've posted on Amazon are for books that I got elsewhere. You do not need to purchase the book from Amazon in order to review it. Now, they don't allow reviews to be posted until the book is actually on sale so maybe that's what you've encountered?

As for the meanness of goodreads reviewers, I've seen a few but in my experience the percentage of nasty reviewers isn't higher than what I see at Amazon or on blogs. And I never judge just by a book's rating, I also read the review. Both ratings and reviews are subjective. I look at both to get a more complete picture of what the book is like.


mlady_rebecca | 2008 comments Rozzer wrote: "My ratings are not ratings of "books," they're ratings of my ENCOUNTERS with books, a terribly personal thing that doesn't necessarily translate into other people's experiences."

That's a perfect way of explaining it. Something that's new and original to one person, may sound like the same old plotline to the next person. If a book talks about a career, and you're very knowledgeable about that profession, you're going to be more critical. And then there is the simple fact that we connect with some characters more than others in the same way that we connect to some people more than others.

I've taken 1-2 star reviews as recommendations in the case where they dislike a particular theme or writing style or sense of humor, and I like that same theme or writing style or sense of humor. The same happens in reverse. I've seen 5 star reviews that quote what they thought were the funniest scenes. I may end up avoiding the book because I don't enjoy that type of humor.

By the way, Goodreads removes reviews that attack the author.


message 48: by ♡Karlyn P♡ (last edited Jun 09, 2012 02:22PM) (new)

♡Karlyn P♡ (KarLynP) | 318 comments Of all the problems I see with reviews, the LAST on my list would be any review that is an HONEST account by the reader. 1 star or 5 star, how they choose to express their experience with a book is their call, no one else's. As long as the reviews pass the websites guideline it is a worthy review.

I'm perplexed how the OP could think negative and average reviews are brutal. I gave 50 Shades a 1-star review as I clearly felt differently about that book. My intention was never to be brutal, but you can't write a fair 1-star review without being clear as to why it didn't work for you.

Lastly, to worry about costing an author their livelihood without considering the time and expense we readers also endure is a bit short sighted. It also assumes we have the power to control their careers, but I promise you we do not. Authors who get negative reviews (which makes up 99.9% of authors, btw) are not victims.


Erika | 105 comments Mandyma wrote: "If you can't have fun with it and just enjoy erotica, do the author a favor and don't buy it."

Yeah, you can borrow them from the library!! but you can't go around telling people what they should or shouldn't read. Everyone's free and can read whatever the heck they want to, even if it's a new genre they've never read before and want to see what it's like.


farmwifetwo (Fw2books) | 2 comments Susanna wrote: "Yes, GR has yet to introduce the BOMB rating, which would be zero stars. Not rating it is just not rating it. (I've done this in a few cases, the one that comes immediately to mind is Mein Kampf.)"

I don't rate the one's I read before goodreads for the most part. I use goodreads to keep track of as many books as I can remember reading... and since that now goes back upwards of 40yrs.... seems silly to rank those you read as a child/teen/univ etc unless they have left a huge impression or they are still sitting on my keeper shelves at home.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Mein Kampf (other topics)
When Christ and His Saints Slept (other topics)
The Last Kingdom (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

E.L. James (other topics)