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message 1: by April (new)

April Recently I left an honest review of what my opinions were of a book on another website. In my review I referenced another book that was in the same genre (western zombie), but that I thought was done better. After 2 hours of the post being up, I received scathing comments from the publisher and author because of my reference to the other book being done better.
Do you think that reviews should be allowed to reference other books?
What is your opinion of publishers and author lashing out over negative reviews?


message 2: by C-Cose (new)

C-Cose Daley | 34 comments April wrote: "Recently I left an honest review of what my opinions were of a book on another website. In my review I referenced another book that was in the same genre (western zombie), but that I thought was do..."

Greetings April :)

Without knowing the details of the website, book(s) and authors (whether they have comparable followings, publishing history, etc.), it's hard for me to give you a definitive answer. For instance, it would be unfair to compare the work of "new" author to that of one with 50+ books under the belt in the same genre.

However, if your review concentrated on what aspects of the book you enjoyed and compared those to the works of another book / author that you didn't feel was as successful, I can't see a problem writing an honest and respectful review.

Authors and publishers are humans first so it's entirely possible that they just had their feathers ruffled by your review.


message 3: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 42 comments Of course reviews should be allowed to reference other books. Publishers' marketing departments are quick enough to say things like "If you liked Harry Potter, you'll love...", so they can't really complain when the comparisons are negative.

Authors and publishers should know better than to respond to reviews, the fact is that even if your review was misguided, unfair and badly written (and I'm not saying it was, obviously I've not read it), to respond with scathing comments in that way is pretty unprofessional.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suspect that the author and the publisher might just be the same person in this case ;)


message 4: by Ian (new)

Ian Loome (lhthomson) | 18 comments It's a review. It's your own opinion. As long as you're honest, they have no say in this process. No one gets to dictate to you what you do or don't like simply because they can change the emotional tone by being a bully.

I would thank them politely for their feedback and ask them if they'd like to have a broad community discussion about their behavior in an open forum on Goodreads.

That will likely be the last you hear from them.


message 5: by April (new)

April @ C-Cose its funny because both authors are new and both books consist of zombies, outlaws, and the wild west.
I tried to say what I liked about the book, (even though it wasn't much) and only mentioned the other book as a "... I really enjoyed..., as a book along the same lines." At the very end.
Its the amazon website and I've never claimed to be a good writer, I simply try to write reviews that would appeal to to a reader like me. Short and to the point, I hate long drawn out reviews.
Amazon is a market place and it seems reasonable to reference a book that you did like. It seems win win for the reader and for amazon, but apparently, according to one publisher, I am evil and a spammer.


message 6: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Angell (heidiangell) | 211 comments First of all, the privilege of a review is that it is up to the reviewer how to do it. Whether what you say in the review is true, an opinion, or something totally outrageously false reflects on your reviewing ability. Readers are smart and we all know that there are some reviewers who share our taste and we trust them, and there are other reviewers who couldn't find their way out of a paper bag! (Not saying you are one of those.)

Reviews are opinion-based. Now sure, as a reviewer you run the risk of other authors not being willing to give you free copies of their books. I look over every reviewer before I even request a review. If they did not give positive reviews to books I consider similar to mine, then I would not ask them to do a review. A lot of reviewers will state on their site that they refuse to give a review if they do not like the book. That bothers me. I'd rather have a negative review (especially if I gave you a free copy of my book) than to have no review at all!

As far as the publisher and author responding to your review, shame on them! That reaction was completely unprofessional! The reality is that it is because of these types of responses that some book reviewers won't do a negative review. Readers compare books all the time. Sometimes it is favorable, sometimes it is not. Most readers don't know if an author is new... and they don't care. (Hard for me, as an author, to admit that, but it is true.) Feel free to quote me if you even want to respond to the author/publisher.


message 7: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Angell (heidiangell) | 211 comments Ahhhh.... they may not have realized that yours was a "legit" review. Some authors, particularly indie authors, have been doing things like this on Amazon as another form of marketing, piggybacking on big books and writing a review to mention their own book. It is a legit tactic in my opinion, and if someone did that to one of my books, I'd think "Cool, there's another book sale!" as you can't post reviews without having bought the book on Amazon. It is similar to product placement in my mind.


message 8: by April (new)

April Andrew wrote: "Of course reviews should be allowed to reference other books. Publishers' marketing departments are quick enough to say things like "If you liked Harry Potter, you'll love...", so they can't really..."

As of two hours ago, they deleted their comments after I responded as nicely as I knew how.
I suspect that an author has to know that some people will simply not enjoy their work. Why put it out there if you can't handle any type of criticism?


message 9: by April (new)

April Heidi wrote: "First of all, the privilege of a review is that it is up to the reviewer how to do it. Whether what you say in the review is true, an opinion, or something totally outrageously false reflects on yo..."

I have found quite a few books I ended up loving because of reviewers mentioning other books that follow that same vain as the one being reviewed.
I can see how some authors would be pissed about this practice, but we readers tend to be passionate and usually appreciate reading about other readers "book affairs."


message 10: by Terri (new)

Terri Bruce (terribruce) I'm so sorry to hear this happened. :-( As an author, I am with everyone else in saying this is not professional! Of course you can reference other books - Roger Ebert does it all the time in his movie reviews! I'm glad they removed their comments but I'm still sorry they did it in the first place - how can there be free discourse if people fear speaking their minds? :-(


message 11: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Hayes | 109 comments I'm with most everyone else. The author and the publisher shouldn't have responded like that. A review, even a negative one, can work in an author's favor. It seems like this author and publisher haven't figured that out yet.


message 12: by James (new)

James Thompson (jamesthompson) | 11 comments I've received just under a thousand reviews over time. Twice, I've responded because I felt they weren't reviews, but attacks. Both times, I ended up feeling like a jerk, and realized I really was a jerk, because no matter what defense the author puts forth, he/she sounds whiny and childish. Better to just suck it up, mouth shut. One of those, I felt, was dogging me around the internet, so I emailed her to try and kiss and make up and did so, but before we made it that far, she made a comment that interested me. She thought I was trying to intimidate her. I pointed out that I'm just some guy sitting on the other side of the world with a laptop, and that, as an author, decorum dictates that no matter what is said about me, I have to ignore it. The reviewer may say anything. When the reviews turn personal, I feel intimidated. Reviewers should realize they hold all the cards, we authors are at your mercy. I'm not suggesting that reviewers should do anything differently because of it. Just pointing it out as I don't think most have considered it that way.


message 13: by Denise (last edited Sep 24, 2012 02:13AM) (new)

Denise Baer April wrote: "Recently I left an honest review of what my opinions were of a book on another website. In my review I referenced another book that was in the same genre (western zombie), but that I thought was done better. After 2 hours of the post being up, I received scathing comments from the publisher and author because of my reference to the other book being done better.
Do you think that reviews should be allowed to reference other books?
What is your opinion of publishers and author lashing out over negative reviews? "


Hi April,

In my opinion, outside of personal attacks, a reviewer has a write to put anything constructive in their review. Reviewers compare books, and as a self-published author, I wouldn't mind my book being compared to a well-known author.

I think publishers and authors should stick to writing and accept negative and positive reviews. Any argument an author would raise against a review would only come out sounding defensive--like an attack.

Writers can only hope that others reading the reviews can tell the difference between an honest critique and a personal attack.

You shouldn't have to worry about your reviews being challenged, April. If anything, the publisher and author should appreciate that you took the time to write a review.

Take care.

Denise Baer
http://www.authordenisebaer.com/


message 14: by Maria (new)

Maria Schneider (bearmountainbooks) | 111 comments April wrote: "Recently I left an honest review of what my opinions were of a book on another website. In my review I referenced another book that was in the same genre (western zombie), but that I thought was do..."
You're the reviewer. I think you can review the book however you wish to--and I personally love references to other books (whether it's "this was better/not as good as" or "it's sort of like" or "I liked this one better than."

I'm not a fan of author or publishers commenting on reviews, but it happens.


message 15: by TJoseph (new)

TJoseph Browder (TJosephBrowder) | 10 comments C-Cose wrote: "April wrote: "Recently I left an honest review of what my opinions were of a book on another website. In my review I referenced another book that was in the same genre (western zombie), but that I ..."

C-Cose said: For instance, it would be unfair to compare the work of "new" author to that of one with 50+ books under the belt in the same genre.

I suppose that would be unfair if the new author were the one being bashed. However, I recently received a review on Amazon stating that my short story collection was superior to a similar work by Peter Straub. I was VERY pleased.

Publishers aren't going to be very happy with anything that detracts from their book sales. They are struggling against Indy sales, ebooks, and the lot. The simplest rule in business (or life) is adapt, or die. And they just aren't doing it. I'm not surprised they lashed out. Just ignore them. You can not be penalized for your opinion.


message 16: by Maria (new)

Maria Schneider (bearmountainbooks) | 111 comments Just for the record, I think it's perfectly okay to compare a new author to an experienced one--whether in flattering light or not. It's not up to the reader to go check a pedigree to figure out if we've written 9 books or 2. If the reader wants to compare it to Dickens and it isn't even in the same genre, go right ahead.


message 17: by Tracy (last edited Oct 07, 2012 02:45PM) (new)

Tracy (tjohn33791) T. wrote: "C-Cose wrote: "April wrote: "Recently I left an honest review of what my opinions were of a book on another website. In my review I referenced another book that was in the same genre (western zombi..."

Publishers of traditional books are the publishers of ebooks in most cases. Independent books are a very small percentage of total books available. Publishers aren't the ones who need to adapt because they are the ones who are pushing the technology. If publishers didn't want ebooks, you would be downloading public domain and sub par indie books, no offense intended.


message 18: by Tracy (new)

Tracy (tjohn33791) I had an author, who happened to be a prosecutor. threaten me with a libel suit because of a criticism of how his books rating was near perfect when his novel was far from it. Lawyers seem to lack the sense of humor gene. It was obvious his friends and family were stuffing the ballot box and I pointed it out to him. Boy, prosecutors don't like it when they are the ones accused.


message 19: by L.Y. (new)

L.Y. Levand (lylevand) April wrote: "Recently I left an honest review of what my opinions were of a book on another website. In my review I referenced another book that was in the same genre (western zombie), but that I thought was do..."

I agree with most everyone else. I'm an indie author, and even if I got a full-on nasty review, I wouldn't reply to it. I might be sad for a few days, but what's the point? Arguing with them is not going to change their opinion.

I think it's fine to reference other books, whether they be of similar writing style, or genre, or the main character...I would enjoy it, I think, if someone did that on a review for some of my work. I could file it away in my brain, and it might be of use later in promoting, or further writing projects.

So, if there's going to be communication between reviewer and author/publisher, it should be civil and professional on their side, at least. Even if you get someone who's just giving a one-star, scathing review for the fun of it.


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

I've read about certain authors leaving rude comments on negative reviews. In my opinion, it's rather unprofessional. I mean, if you just spent your money on a book, you should be able to give your opinion of it without getting hassle. Everyone is different and opinions are subjective, so not everyone is going to love a book. If I got a rude comment from an author on a negative review I wrote, then it would leave a bad taste in my mouth and I would not be inclined to buy anything else from that author. I would also probably tell my friends and family not to buy anything they wrote.

I understand that it is upsetting to receive a negative review (I have had them on Wattpad occasionally), but that doesn't mean that they should retaliate nastily. 'Don't bite the hand that feeds you' comes to mind here.

On the other hand, I disagree with reviews that personally attack authors (I'm sure yours didn't do that, I mean in general). There's no need for it really.


message 21: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Angell (heidiangell) | 211 comments Becca, I totally get the "Don't bite the hand that feeds you..." idea, but for some authors a bad review is like taking food off their table. You AREN'T feeding them, and that is why they are upset. Especially if you are influential in the business. I've had a few bad reviews where I have yelled at the computer screen for 20 minutes, stomped and cried. My fingers never touched the keys. More important than that person's opinion, is my reaction. Once I calm down, I go and thank them for their honest opinion. That says more to their readers and if they decide not to give my story a go this time, they might give the next one a go. I probably wouldn't submit to that reviewer again, but their readers might find me somewhere else.


message 22: by Martin (new)

Martin Reed (pendrum) | 16 comments Never understood the antagonistic mentality some authors harbor as a result of negative feedback. It screams artificial.

Every piece of criticism should be seen as an incremental rung on the long ladder to success.


message 23: by Troy (new)

Troy Jackson | 19 comments As a new writer and a realist, I can see both sides of it. I have a new book, The Elementals, coming out any day now, and will be clamoring for reviews. It is a major part of becoming successful. But the realist in me knows that not every review will be positive. The writer in me means I am biased towards my work, and it's definitely hard for many to separate themselves from that, and when someone says something bad about it, it's hard to stomach it. But they WILL come. Your work will not be for everyone. Even the best of books have some bad reviews.


message 24: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Yoffa (webbiegrrlwriter) | 12 comments In response to April's query, C-Cose wrote: "Without knowing the details of the website, book(s) and authors (whether they have comparable followings, publishing history, etc.), it's hard for me to give you a definitive answer. For instance, it would be unfair to compare the work of "new" author to that of one with 50+ books under the belt in the same genre."

See, now, actually, I feel this is a totally fair thing to do. I'm an Author and I definitely "expect" to be compared to the leaders of the field who came before me. I haven't yet but I do it myself (when I describe promote my SciFi writing anyway) and definitely expect it at some point. That's how a genre grows, evolves, develops new "standards" and reality is, readers develop expectations based on what's been done before--and again.

If an author cannot handle being compared to other authors, I'm not really sure what they're doing in this business. As for the publisher, that's simply outrageous, April. A publisher is a business. Businesses function on the basis of competition. Resenting being compared to other businesses who have competitive products for sale is like expecting to be alone in the universe--and likely to result in being alone. Period. ;-)

I write honest reviews and don't normally think of comparing one author to another but if I see something that is distinctly and deliberately paralleled, copied from, modeled after or otherwise similar to another author's work, I am sure as youknowwhat going to make a side-by-side comparison. If you cannot handle being compared to others, then stop copying them!

It's said that good writers, copy/imitate but great writers steal. That's what WRITERS & AUTHORS say about our own industry. It's totally true. I've seen it, I've done it, I've applauded it. If you can't handle that truth, get out of the kitchen! No matter how much someone asserts that their idea is "original," once it's released to the public for general consumption, it's no longer your private idea--you released it for publication. That's defined as being offered for sale...or wide distribution...to the general public.

It's like a newbie writer claiming some big company "stole" their story idea before they had a chance to write it. Uhh, try again. There are only 5 story ideas in the history of Mankind. The success isn't in the idea; it's in the execution so get over it. Better, write your own version and make it a bestseller despite the big wig company. If an author can REALLY write, it won't matter who else does something similar. The better work will overshadow lesser quality. It's inevitable...if the work actually *IS* better ^)^

-sry
@webbiegrrl


message 25: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Winn (goodreadscomjonathan_winn) | 6 comments Sarah, The Webbiegrrl Writer wrote: "No matter how much someone asserts that their idea is "original," once it's released to the public for general consumption, it's no longer your private idea ... The success isn't in the idea; it's in the execution so get over it. Better, write your own version and make it a bestseller despite the big wig company. If an author can REALLY write, it won't matter who else does something similar. The better work will overshadow lesser quality."

Well, yes and no. Although it's true that an idea is not copyrightable -- and, therefore, if someone has an IDEA that someone else steals and turns into a book or movie or whatever, they're kinda screwed --, writers do have certain protections when they create their work.

For instance, someone writing a book about a boy wizard named Harry who goes to a school named Hogwart's and has friends named Hermione and Ron will probably run into some pretty big copyright issues, even if the execution is stronger than what JK Rowling did.

"Better version" or not, it's just not something one can legally do.

I think every writer with an interest in publishing or self-publishing or whatever should spend a tiny bit of time educating themselves about copyright law. This is a business, after all. :^)


message 26: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Winn (goodreadscomjonathan_winn) | 6 comments As for negative reviews, ignore them. Same thing with positive reviews. Chances are your book isn't the biggest piece of doo-doo in the entire Universe forever and ever nor is it OMG the best thing since sliced bread (which, in my opinion, is overrated anyway). Try not to accept it as a referendum on YOU as a person or on your work. Oftentimes, negative reviews reflect more on the reviewer than they do on the work.

That being said, if you're receiving the same criticism again and again, it might be wise to take a look. Especially if it's an issue your beta readers mentioned as well.

Personally, my hope is that I get to a point where I'm not affected on an emotional level by any review, positive or negative.

Something tells me it's going to be a lifelong process. ;)


message 27: by Sarah (last edited Nov 01, 2012 12:25PM) (new)

Sarah Yoffa (webbiegrrlwriter) | 12 comments Jonathan wrote: "Sarah, The Webbiegrrl Writer wrote: "No matter how much someone asserts that their idea is "original," once it's released to the public for general consumption, it's no longer your private idea ......"

Jonathan, choosing to use the same names as someone else's work is NOT copying or imitating their idea and executing it in your own voice - that *IS* stealing. And stupid.

Regarding your comment about taking the feedback to heart, this is precisely what I did with my science fiction works. I got a lot of people complaining about the novel not having enough description, having too much dialog and despite that being MY PERSONAL STYLE, I deliberately did otherwise when I cranked out the short story to use as a loss leader. Both stories have gotten great reviews but if a large number of people keep saying the same thing, chances are, it's not just chance ;)

Oh and I still had a lot of dialog and did NOT change my personal writing voice / style, just my approach to the execution. It was still me, just better ^)^ I just wish I could get those useful kinds of comments prior to publishing rather than after. I use Beta Readers but they are nowhere near as constructive or useful as cold-hearted reviews (which often are praising my actual writing but complaining about something or other to do with my creative/artistic choices)


message 28: by N.R. (new)

N.R. Grabe (nrgrabe) | 4 comments I reviewed a photography book once on a job and the publishers and the writer commented on my three star review. I thought three stars was generous, but they acted like it was a one star. They kept commenting and commenting no matter what I said, so now I use a pseudonym when I review for work. I don't want these people tracking me down on FB. I thought it was immature of them to be so upset about an honest review.

You should be able to reference other works in reviews. Why would that be a problem?


message 29: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Yoffa (webbiegrrlwriter) | 12 comments Alexandria wrote: "I have only commented once in my career so far, and that was only because the reviewer attacked me personally.

I was fine that she didn't like the book, that was okay, but she went on to say that Interracial romance sucks, and people who write it are delusional, and should stick with their own kind and a bunch of other hateful stuff."


Alexandria, I was curious (stemming from a sort of outrage) when I read this part of your comment so I went to check out your books and see the comment for myself. However, your book list is too long for me to sort through them all without spending half an hour searching. Which book was it (or would you link to the comment itself)?

My response to hearing someone said this is mixed now that I've read a couple of your book descriptions and some of the comments. For one thing, I know your intention in writing the blurbages for your books is to get a certain tone across but by using specific terms (such as "colored"), you've dredged up a connotation--maybe inadvertently on your part--that actually begs for a negative reaction. I mean, the terms used in your book blurbage start the discussion so they make a difference in how the conversation is going to go. Your blurbage should sound more commercial and less conversational ...from what I saw and admittedly, I did not read all of your books' blurbs, just a handful, quickly.

Setting aside that your blurbage is (gawwwd, I hope I don't choke on using a phrase like this!) "asking for it" (shudder) I strongly urge you to report the COMMENT to Goodreads Admin so that the COMMENTER who made this racist, bigoted and hateful remark can be officially investigated by Goodreads for possibly attempting to incite a negative discussion on a book thread. It's like the digital equivalent of attempting to incite a riot or lynch mob in the Old South. Bullying is a problem that has been prevalent on Goodreads and they are actually taking it seriously. The fact this bully is also a racist is just...that much worse.

There is absolutely no question, if the term "stick with their own kind" was actually used in the comment that the commenter was being racist and making hateful remarks. He or she was angry that you had written something which challenged contemporary mindsets about inter-racial interactions. When I go to vote, still today, I always try to remind myself that men and women DIED so that I could stand there in that line free to make a choice...whatever choice I felt like.

Most people (young or old) today seem to forget that people were actually LEGALLY regarded as property (like 10 horses and a woman was an inventory list)--and I'm just thinking of women gaining the right to vote 100+ years ago. Never mind that Black women and men had to go through it all over again about 50 years later! We cannot just take it for granted. Too many people of all colors and genders fought and died for these rights to just take it for granted because "this is 2012" now.

These were not personal attacks. These were racist attacks. Ironically, precisely the kind of hate against which your books speak out...from what little I can tell of the quick scanning I did of book blurbages.

You need to knock the commenter off the soapbox and not stand there and let him/her tell you your books are wrong. I've never read your books (or heard of them) but there are few enough Black women today writing multi-cultural books and putting them out there. Sadly, Black women write of a Black-only world and White women write of a White-only world. The real world has a lot of different people in it and no matter how much racists don't want to believe that humans are all ONE SPECIES, we are and we all interact (and inter-breed, it's how our species survives actually....diversity strengthens a breed!)

The world cannot afford to lose even one Black author who's willing to try to write about a realistic world instead of the idealized fiction that has been around for so long. We certainly cannot lose the author due to some ignorant bigot's hatespeak!

Now I'll put my money where my mouth is (so to speak). If you'd like to get some reviews from me, my queue is 3-5 mos out but please submit a book (or several) via my Author Features. Be sure to mention this thread to remind me where I first saw you and even if you feel alone when hatespeak like that shows up in your comment thread, know you are not alone. There are 10 million users here on Goodreads. More of us than you can know are reading...but silently, to ourselves. Your voice is being heard.

-sry
@webbiegrrl


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

This is an interesting discussion. I noticed that it seems to focus mainly around if a reader paid for a copy of a book. I'm curious what some of your opinions are regarding a free copy to a reader for an honest review. Basically do you think it raises the bar for the reader's responsibility to be more impartial in their honesty? To try harder to cite positives and negatives for a balanced review? To actually finish the book regardless if they like it or not? And if they can't finish the book... then what? Since it's a free copy, do you think that changes the game a bit?


message 31: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Hayes | 109 comments H.G. wrote: "This is an interesting discussion. I noticed that it seems to focus mainly around if a reader paid for a copy of a book. I'm curious what some of your opinions are regarding a free copy to a reader..."

H.G. As an author, I expect an honest review no matter if the reviewer paid for the book or not. I've gotten one star reviews from people who have gotten a copy of my book from my publisher via netgalley, and as long as its honest, I have no issues with it. What do I consider NOT an honest review? One that ends with 'here is a link to other negative reviews on Goodreads'. To me that isn't what I'd call a fair review or honest review. If the reviewer would have said, 'here is a link to other Goodreads reviews', then that would have been fine, but they didn't. They linked their readers to ONLY the one star reviews.

I think, just like what so many do with actors and actresses, people forget that authors are still people. We get our feelings hurt like everyone else. I have no problem with reviewers being honest, even if that means they hate my story, but I do expect them to be 'fair' and not personally attack me. I think that is reasonable.


message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

Links to other negatives reviews! Geez... that's uncool. And really spiteful, imo.

I agree. I think readers/reviewers (not authors) tend to forget their compassion in the verve of their review, especially when very emotional (if they strongly disliked a book).

I also think an honest review should consist of full disclosure. Not just how the reviewer received it, but did they finished it? I think if someone disliked a book so much that they couldn't finish it but decided to review they should disclose that. Since it's really only a partial review and highly biased at that.

I don't have a problem with honest reviews either, even if it's all negative, but I do expect full honesty on the reviewers part as well.

I've just been wondering about this because I see a lot of readers snapping up free books and yet they don't seem to hold themselves to a high responsibility of balance or compassion sometimes. Negative reviews are fine, but some aren't willing to be so honest about their own reactions/triggers/reading percentage.

It's made me wonder about the frustration of other authors trying to balance being thick skinned yet still finding useful concrit.


message 33: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Hayes | 109 comments I agree H.G. It was extremely spiteful, imo. I think it's happened twice to me, and I've only been published for two years.

I also agree with full discloser. I have a friend who is a book blogger. She reads and reviews a lot of taboo type books on her blog. There are some of them that hit triggers for her because of their subject matter, so when reviewing she always mentions that information. I have a lot of respect for her reviews because of it, even if I wouldn't read most of what she reviews. At least I know she's giving a fair and honest review of a story, and so do her followers.


message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

See, that's exactly what I'm talking about. Not that authors can really do anything about it, but reviewers (especially on a forum such as GR) are basically allowed to write anything they want as long as it's 'an honest review and not a personal attack' but authors are seen as immature and petty for defending themselves. Yet reviewers (other than maybe getting a bad rep) are allowed to continue the behavior.

They're also allowed to couch their honest reviews in less than honest formats as longs as they fit the above criteria. Your friend sounds like a reviewer to be highly respected. It's brave and valid to admit to everything that one experiences. Too many, I think, like to blame the book for triggering responses without taking a step back and recognizing that they're the ones with the unresolved issues which were triggered by the book. If the book was that intensely negative, maybe there's something personal to be addressed. If I don't like a book, I don't hate it or the author, I just stop reading it. Meh... done. I don't even bother leaving a hate review. Just not worth my time since I didn't finish it and I obviously can't be impartial for the good and bad.


message 35: by Tammy (new)

Tammy | 53 comments I have sometimes compared similar books, especially if they are basically the same. The brilliance of a book review, or movie or music, for that matter, is that it is solely based on one person's opinion. Positive or negative reviews do not necessarily affect the sale of a book. In fact, there is one rather famous reviewer that can guarantee an author I will purchase their book with a bad review! That's because that everything she hates I love! I firmly believe in the power of free speech, spoken or written, and I think authors should appreciate the attention. I have seen reviews that run the gamut of the review spectrum and probably would have never read the book at all except for all the attention. A good example was 50 shades of Gray. I was so incredibly curious how so many people had very different visceral
Reactions to this book. I purchased it, read it and posted my own review; however, without all the attention, including the negative, I would have never given that book a second glance!


message 36: by [deleted user] (new)

Tammy, that's very insightful, and I agree with you that negative reviews can quite often gain more attention for a book. Any PR is good PR, as they say. I, too, have read books based on that reverse psychology.

I guess I'm just frustrated a the double standard between authors and reviewers (specifically reviewers who seek out free books to review). But then, after being a medic for almost 20 years, I should be used to double standards between public reactions and professionals' decorum, LOL!

Yet I would rather cut my wrists than eliminate free speech, so of course it comes with all the bad with the good. I very much agree with you on that aspect. We're lucky to live in a country that has such liberties, but it's tough to stay impartial sometimes.


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