The Mookse and the Gripes discussion

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message 1: by Antonomasia (last edited Aug 25, 2018 08:34AM) (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments This began as a discussion / question about writing negative reviews - or one particular negative review I was apprehensive about - and then moved on to talk about ARCs and other aspects of online book reviewing. It is now retitled so it can be a general thread for any discussion and questions about reviewing.


Last time I had to write a negative review of a debut novel by an active GR author (also an ARC) I managed to find a few constructive things to say. The author even Liked it, which was ridiculously decent of him.

I'm struggling to find much that's constructive to say about one I'm reading at the moment. The other one, I could see what could have been done with it (and what an editor could have said ... this one needs the sort of advice that would sound better from an experienced novelist.

It's from a small country so it'll have far fewer books published each year, and therefore some books that wouldn't have been published in the UK or US get into print, and even win awards. I think that in terms of what the novel looks like from within UK/US literary culture, and from the perspective of the demographic most likely to read it, it was a poor choice to translate into English - although in the long run the translation will be useful for people from many countries who read English as a second language. And that last bit, apart from a handful of nice sentences, is one of the few positive things I can find to say about it. I disagree with not writing negative reviews, a policy some bloggers have, but it's a bit of a frustrating situation. If this was a novel by some big-5 big beast that thousands were reading, I'd relish laying into it on GR, but this is slightly different. It's also important to give opinions like this one, though, so not everyone takes the blurb at face value.

I'm looking not necessarily for direct advice, but would be interested in hearing people's experiences of writing negative reviews that you knew were likely to be seen by authors, especially newer ones.


message 2: by David (new)

David I think you should say all of the things you just said in the context of the review. The most important thing to remember in reviewing is that honesty is absolutely essential and non-negotiable. That extends to things like if you hated 95% of the things about a book, but only talk about the 5% of the things you liked, giving the impression you liked the book overall, you have been deceptive by being extremely misleading. As someone who sometimes reads reviews, a dishonest review is worse than useless to me. It actually is an insult to readers who might read it and use it as a criterion for deciding whether or not to read it.

I can see why you might be sensitive to the effect a bad review can have on a less well known writer from a less well established publisher, but if you see your role as a reviewer as one where helping them is more important than helping the readers who want information about books, then reviewing is not for you.


message 3: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments That is exactly what I think in principle. Publishers do reportedly advise authors not to react to negative reviews from members of the public on social media these days, and one has to hope they take notice.

Much of what's in my notes and in my head isn't just a review though, it's a hatchet job.


message 4: by Robert (new)

Robert | 2261 comments As a reviewer, I personally do not like writing negative reviews but sometimes you have. What really is important is how you word it. I try justify why I did not like it rather than saying 'this sucks it is so boring' When you put something in the public eye you have to expect some people not to like the piece of work so I see constructive negative reviews as a learning process.


message 5: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 350 comments Well, if you're genuinely interested in the writer, you can make your critique as specific and constructive as possible so they know what worked and what they might improve. There's a probably a fine line between a review and feedback that you'll have to negotiate. Sometimes it's hard to get past the hatchet job in my head, especially if the author has done the kinds of things that push my buttons. Of course, I'm not considering myself any type of reviewer besides someone who posts on GR.


message 6: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments In a few months, the page will fill up with more English language reviews. That's something to be borne in mind. If there were as many reviews on the page as for some of the publisher's other books, I wouldn't hesitate.

Can't remember now which blogger it was, who, several years ago, had a well-known author post repeatedly in comments to hit back at his bad review - but it's extremely unlikely to work out as badly as that did. That was before publishers started giving guidance, or being public about it. And the author came out of it looking worst - or at least from the perspective of everything I read about it.

I might not get any more ARCs from this publisher but I would definitely rather that than be dishonest about my opinion. It's clear from threads in GR Feedback that some people won't read reviews by posters they suspect of soft-soaping to keep getting free books.


MisterHobgoblin Antonomasia wrote: "Can't remember now which blogger it was, who, several years ago, had a well-known author post repeatedly in comments to hit back at his bad review - but it's extremely unlikely to work out as badly as that did."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gre...


message 8: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments This was an established author of the sort who gets reviewed in broadsheet newspapers. It was rather surprising he was bothered by a review on a blog. Might have been as much as ten years ago now.

There are tons of incidences of self-published authors getting irate and causing problems, especially on Goodreads, though I get the impression it's much less of a problem now than it was 3-5 years ago.


message 9: by Lark (new)

Lark Benobi (larkbenobi) | 424 comments I like the now-and-then contact that authors here on GR make with me, whether it be a quiet "like" on my review or an email. One of my favorite responses was to a 3 start review, where I wrote I thought the market placement should have been YA--here is the book, which I recommend to everyone even though I think it should have been in the YA section: God in Pink by Hasan Namir.


message 10: by Lark (new)

Lark Benobi (larkbenobi) | 424 comments Also even though there is a sense that authors should not respond to negative reviews lest they come across in a sour-grapes way, Sometimes I wonder why it's so frowned upon, because it can be interesting to me as a reader. Reviewers aren't infallible.


message 11: by Antonomasia (last edited Aug 20, 2018 05:21PM) (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments Goodreads actually instructs authors "Don't engage with people who negatively rate or review your books. We cannot stress this enough."

People who were heavy users of the site, and in particular readers of the Feedback group c. 2012-2015 will have seen the flame wars (off-site as well as on) that led to this. People who remember those days, and those who know about it and review the types of books most frequently involved in it, can be uncomfortable about any contact from authors whose books they've shelved and didn't otherwise know.

A couple of articles that give accounts of it:
https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/b...
https://www.salon.com/2013/10/09/good...

This one may read as relatively emotional and subjective but reflects the user sentiments seen about it back then: https://bookriot.com/2015/06/10/dear-... (and is a helluva lot quicker to find and read than gigantic old Feedback threads).

Responses to creative works are inherently subjective. And although with non-fiction works there are obvious grounds to respond to people with incorrect knowledge, it can look belittling when it's towards members of the public - whereas if it's a professional reviewer in a newspaper, you can write to them and they may print your letter, or add corrections under the review.

Twitter and blogs of course don't have the same rules as Goodreads, but having spent quite a while reading about these things over the years, I've noticed a tendency coalescing to see it as bad form to react to bad reviews from members of the public. (Which newer writers, or writers from different literary cultures, may not have noticed.) Back and forth with people on the same professional level - other authors, paid reviewers, journalists and publishers - may be a different matter. But again it's never been considered the ideal way to go about it: http://observer.com/2009/06/is-alain-...


message 12: by Lark (new)

Lark Benobi (larkbenobi) | 424 comments I totally agree that authors blowing a fuse and threatening reviewers isn't ok but I personally would cherish a dialog with an author who is genuinely responding to my review. "Dialog" being key, that it's a give and take. I wish more authors would reach out.


message 13: by MisterHobgoblin (new)

MisterHobgoblin I like it when authors acknowledge reviews. I enjoyed a brief exchange with Adrian McKinty regarding a broadly positive review here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/customer-...


message 14: by Ang (new)

Ang | 1685 comments That is interesting, MisterHobgoblin. I can confirm that "mate" and "sheilas" would not have come from the US.


message 15: by Isobel (new)

Isobel (isblrthrfrd) | 32 comments I think bad reviews on goodreads are fine and authors need to toughen up about them. I at least post reviews here for other readers, rather than to give an author an ego boost. Most often when I dislike a book I blame the editor anyway, as usually my frustration is that the book could have done with another draft or a a bit more trimming down.

The thing about goodreads is that the more a book is read, the more likely it is to have a rating of 3.something, no matter what it is. That’s because for every book some people love it, some hate it and some don’t care much for it either way. If you have a wide readership, they’ll come with a wide range of opinions and tastes. For every person that really dislikes a book there’s usually someone raving about it, it’s all part of the fun!


message 16: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments Done.


message 17: by David (new)

David Antonomasia, I'm not looking to start writing book reviews here (or anywhere else for that matter), but I am curious about how someone gets free books from publishers as review copies. My (very vague) understanding previously was that people who have their own review blogs that reach some level of popularity can get them, but I really don't know how it works. Can you (or anyone else) fill me in on how reviewers and publishers get connected? Thanks.


message 18: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments There are guides around on a lot of blogs for people starting from almost nothing.

I didn't start requesting until I had about 500 reviews on GR, so I had an obvious platform and solid record of reviewing already.

You will need to be comfortable with e-readers to take advantage of Netgalley and Edelweiss. It is easier to get the book emailed to your Kindle - this produces better formatting for reading than trying to load PDFs onto ereaders.

You can get books from the 'read now' sections on Netgalley, and the 'download' ones on Edelweiss, which don't require publisher approval, and then review them promptly, to build up a record. (My habit of reviewing comics from Netgalley to boost my stats wouldn't appeal to everyone on here.)

If you want to focus on literary fiction, you may find more to your taste on Edelweiss. I haven't been on there for over a year, but Pushkin Press and Deep Vellum offered quite a few 'download' titles that didn't require approval.

I just hope Edelweiss don't introduce stats as prominent as Netgalley's as I used to download dozens of books just in case they later appeared on some longlist. Don't download more than you realistically can read, and watch out for books you don't think you really want to read.



If you are involved in book discussion in other places online such as Twitter, or you work in a bookshop or library, you should add that to your Netgalley and Edelweiss profiles too.

I have never really wanted to get involved in receiving unsolicited paper review copies, as happens to bloggers. (Which is kind of odd as when I was a teenager I would have thought it a great badge of success.) I would guess being active on Twitter and telling publishers when you've reviewed a book of theirs you liked would be a good way to get their attention. And then with a decent number of reviews built up, and being part of online discussion networks, actively approaching the relevant departments to request copies when they don't use Netgalley or Edelweiss.


message 19: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Pool Antonomasia,
Very interesting insights. That has answered a number of questions I had never dared to ask!
To establish a base of about 500 reviews online is really going some; but I see the point of testing the reviewers sincerity. At present reading rates I’m on course for consideration in about 2022.


message 20: by Antonomasia (last edited Aug 23, 2018 02:15PM) (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments I think you might be better asking Paul and Gumble how many reviews they had posted before they started getting ARCs. That will probably be more typical.

I was quite unusual in building up so many first. I had and have ethical reservations around ARCs and the way they set some members of the public (i.e. people not in the book industry) apart from others, but by the time I'd written so many reviews, and being less able to afford books than I was, even I felt I'd earned it.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6977 comments I have only (*) had ARCs from NetGalley and I am not clear what criteria publishers use for deciding whether to grant them.

To be honest I don't really like NetGalley

- I much prefer paper books to e-books
- I find the e-books on NetGalley of variable print quality, one in particular (Census by Jesse Ball) I found unreadable
- I dont really like the whole percentage thing which makes me feel obliged to prioritise the books.

And I am also not that keen on ARCs generally as I feel they run the risk of compromising my independence. It might be a coincidence but since I have a book 2 stars on NetGalley I have started to have requests declined.

What I do use it for us to get advance copies of well known books some time before they are published. Or more recently to get copies of some of the Booker longlist quickly.

(*) I did accept an ARC direct from an author recently. I suspect he offered it due to my RoC involvement. Before I accepted I checked out the small press that published it and the authors own blog which had a number of excerpts from the book - and realised I would really like the book. The book was I thought excellent - more ambitious than any of the Booker list. I was then very pleasantly surprised to see it chosen for the Guardian Not The Booker Prize shortlist.

I declined a few other ARCs I was offered directly recently l, as I could not check out the book first.


message 22: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments Yes, not being able to preview them is definitely a problem. I've abandoned and negatively reviewed two books I would have decided against on a sample the size of an Amazon preview. And there are a few others I managed to finish, but never would have requested, had I been able to read the beginning first.

It's not outside the bounds of possibility that one negative review might have affected acceptances from that publisher (have heard similar from a few people). But I wouldn't worry about its affecting requests to other publishers on Netgalley. Some, as a friend was saying to me earlier today, will think it makes the reviewer seem more genuine.


message 23: by David (new)

David Thanks Antonomasia (and GY) for your answers. I was surprised that there were even some books made available to everyone. Like I said, I have not written reviews before and don't think I'll start, but it is interesting to know a bit more about how it all works.


message 24: by Robert (new)

Robert | 2261 comments When I restarted my blog in 2017 my aim was to start reading ARCs and become a proper book reviewer (I was already doing this for our local newspapers but I didn't like the restrictions put on me) Thankfully my backlog of 250 read books convinced some publishers to send me ARCs (The first one being Frankenstein in Baghdad)

The more reviews you amass means the greater the chance a publisher will want to send books. At the moment I've got quite a juicy ARC (I can't give details at this point) and that was because the publisher took a look at my stats and read my reviews.

Patience is the key and also establishing contact with the publishers who gave you a chance when you started out.


message 25: by Tommi (new)

Tommi | 579 comments I used to review music and did in fact write hundreds of album reviews many years ago. Now at the end of my English degree I decided to extend my wings to reviewing books, and with a few bucks established a professional-looking website, which has since grown quite well (and I’m finally on the brink of having other writers beside myself). Asking for review copies has never been a problem because I was used to doing it when reviewing music. I don’t do electronic copies. I often suffer from impostor syndrome in this business, but try to remind myself that for the most part it’s just in my head, and keep going. Otherwise I’m doing research into early modern lit in the academia, under the illusion that it contributes to my analytical skills in reviewing more contemporary lit!


message 26: by Robert (new)

Robert | 2261 comments Tommi wrote: "I used to review music and did in fact write hundreds of album reviews many years ago. Now at the end of my English degree I decided to extend my wings to reviewing books, and with a few bucks esta..."

Coincidence - I started out as a music reviewer from 2003 -2009 (albums- website, uni and local newspaper), 2011- 2017 (tracks). Sadly those sites are now gone. During the album years I used to receive physical copies but then when the recession hit, all record companies refused to send physical copies but were eager to send one off tracks.

With books I'll refuse e-copies, the exception being graphic novels as I understand that they are expensive to ship abroad.


message 27: by Neil (new)

Neil | 2063 comments I was slightly confused recently to be pre-approved for an ARC on NetGalley by a publisher who said I was something like a regular and thoughtful reviewer of their books. On investigation, I have read one book from that publisher and I gave it 1 star (grudgingly).


message 28: by Antonomasia (last edited Aug 24, 2018 08:27AM) (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments Antonomasia wrote: "If you want to focus on literary fiction, you may find more to your taste on Edelweiss. I haven't been on there for over a year, but Pushkin Press and Deep Vellum offered quite a few 'download' titles that didn't require approval. ."

I thought there was nothing 'literary' on Netgalley Read Now, but it turns out that Text Publishing, the Australian publisher that has recently started a UK arm, has a couple - Marie Darieussecq's very short Our Life in the Forest (MBI eligible) and two older books in one volume by Helen Garner.
The Darieussecq is described as 192 pages on GR (and a baffling 320 on Amazon), but in Kindle counts the ARC is considerably shorter than a lot of books of circa 200 pages, at only 1250.


message 29: by Neil (new)

Neil | 2063 comments GY - you must be a more influential reviewer than me - I have given a few books 1 or 2 stars on NetGalley and my requests are still approved!


message 30: by Neil (new)

Neil | 2063 comments Oh, and Census was fine if you stuck with the PDF on an iPad. It was the conversion when you emailed it to your kindle that killed it. This is often the case, so much so that I now read all NetGalley books as PDF on my iPad rather than bothering with the Kindle at all.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6977 comments I don't have a Kindle but read it on the Kindle app on my iPad. I can never get the iPad PDF option to work. To be honest I am happy wait for the paperback or for my library to get it.


message 32: by Trevor (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1859 comments Mod
Would folks be at all interested in a thread about book reviewing in general, a place to share thoughts, tips, or the like?

I know we have quite a few reviewers in the crowd. I’m not sure if there’s more general interest in the practice.


message 33: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments Trevor, I could change the title of this thread (it's possible on this one, just checked) and add a preamble before my original post. The discussion has already moved into more general conversation connected with reviewing after all.


Nadine in California (nadinekc) | 262 comments Trevor wrote: "Would folks be at all interested in a thread about book reviewing in general, a place to share thoughts, tips, or the like?

I know we have quite a few reviewers in the crowd. I’m not sure if there..."


I think that's a great idea, Trevor!


message 35: by Trevor (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1859 comments Mod
Anto, I like your idea. At the same time, might be good to keep a thread dedicated to writing negative reviews as a side topic. Either way!


message 36: by WndyJW (last edited Aug 25, 2018 08:23AM) (new)

WndyJW | 6591 comments I am not a reviewer that anyone counts on, but my small contribution as an average reader is that knowing authors read our reviews has changed my reviews. I gave The Gallows Pole a glowing and sincere review, Ben Myers thanked me for my review, which surprised me and left me a bit star struck I admit, so I looked into his other books, all of which I liked or loved.

However, another author on another social media platform started a discussion with me, I mentioned I was going to read their book and the author said they looked forward to my thoughts. I didn’t think it was good, but I told them I thought it was and didn’t review it on GR.

When it comes to indie press books and new authors I couldn’t write anything negative because I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings and I wouldn’t want to dissuade other readers.

A problem I have not seen here (at all!) is the worry about offending other group members by not being effusive about their beloved favorites. There are readers who take a negative comment about books they like as a personal attack.

I have to add that when I hear of new books I come here first to see what this group thinks of the book. The reviews from all of you are excellent, fair, and give a clear idea of what the reader can expect. I can’t imagine any author having an issues with your reviews, positive or negative.


message 37: by Neil (new)

Neil | 2063 comments It never worries me when people hate books I love: I know we all like different things.

I’ve been sent a couple of books by authors only to discover I really did not like them. In those cases, I thought the fairest thing to do was to tell them they weren’t for me and offer to not post a review. Wrecked my reading stats for that year, but...


message 38: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments Trevor wrote: "Anto, I like your idea. At the same time, might be good to keep a thread dedicated to writing negative reviews as a side topic. Either way!"

Done! I like being able to recycle threads, as long as they are not too unwieldy. I could re-title this one but not the one from 2016 on WITMonth. Strange!


message 39: by Antonomasia (last edited Aug 25, 2018 09:34AM) (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments WndyJW wrote: "However, another author on another social media platform started a discussion with me, I mentioned I was going to read their book and the author said they looked forward to my thoughts. I didn’t think it was good, but I told them I thought it was and didn’t review it on GR."

Awkward! Makes me glad (again) I don't post on Twitter. Would be interested to hear about how others who do use Twitter and do post negative reviews (Paul?) deal with this. (I also wouldn't mention I was starting a book, though, in case I didn't finish it because of circumstances.)

When it comes to indie press books and new authors I couldn’t write anything negative because I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings and I wouldn’t want to dissuade other readers.

I also talked about the above review with a GR friend who's a small-press writer around the same age as the author, who said that if it was someone who was totally unknown and new (unlike this author who has won prizes and runs a literary magazine in his home country), he either wouldn't review, or would save the post for months until other reviews had appeared.

A problem I have not seen here (at all!) is the worry about offending other group members by not being effusive about their beloved favorites. There are readers who take a negative comment about books they like as a personal attack.

Yes, that is very tiresome. I sort of grok it, and it is sometimes disappointing, but when one of my closest friends abandoned Darkmans (and has interests that would seem to fit well with the book) it was, as far as I was concerned, the final nail in the coffin of the 'íf you don't like [one book] I know I won't like you' principle. It wasn't even a blip, it was just "what didn't you like about it?" and then on to other subjects.

Years ago, I also stopped going to a RL bookgroup which had groupthink pressures like that. I obviously just wasn't going to fit in with them, as even deliberately toned down versions of some of my opinions got funny looks. I managed to find another one that was much more relaxed and heterogenous in opinion, but I eventually moved away from the area so had to stop going.


message 40: by WndyJW (new)

WndyJW | 6591 comments I don’t post my reviews, even if I have time to write them, on Twitter because no one care what I think, but excellent reviewers like Paul, GY, Meike, and the others here do the literary business a service by posting reviews on Twitter. And because there are readers who look to well written reviews for suggestions I think the reviews must be honest. I haven’t seen any hatchet jobs from this group.

I think perhaps that is good advice, I will not announce that I am reading a book, I will wait until I see what I think of it.

I haven’t ended friendships over differences in book tastes, although I left a group that was insufferable, but I did end a friendship with a person who said that she does not read fiction because the characters aren’t real.


message 41: by Nadine in California (last edited Aug 25, 2018 10:25AM) (new)

Nadine in California (nadinekc) | 262 comments Below is Awaeke Emezi (whose book, Freshwater, I adored, but if you don't like it I'll still like you, sight unseen) on her feelings about GR reader reviews. It's from a Rumpus interview.

"I read a lot of my reviews on Goodreads, just because I am always fascinated by how readers tune into books. And writers tell you not to do that, especially not the Goodreads ones, because those are just for readers. And that’s why I read them. Because I feel like when people expect you to be upset about reviews, they aren’t talking about how much ego plays into that. I’m working on dismantling ego in general, so I don’t really mind if someone takes away from the book something I never intended, because that really has nothing to do with me, or the book actually. It has to do with the person. Everyone’s reading it through the filter of their own experiences, and that’s something I have no control over. So, it shouldn’t really matter.

And I think, also, what’s the alternative? If someone doesn’t like the book, then they should lie about it to spare someone else’s feelings? There’s this thing they say where, once you write the book, it doesn’t belong to you anymore. It belongs to the readers. And if it belongs to the readers, they’re allowed to feel about it however they feel about it."


message 42: by Robert (new)

Robert | 2261 comments As a book blogger ( I don't think I can call myself a reviewer) I hate it when I have to write a negative review by a book I have requested by the publisher. Thankfully this has not happened yet - Only in one case I have had a middling book (An American Marriage) If I do get a stinker, I obviously will not contact the author. However I have learnt, as a music critic, that a label will prefer it if you're honest.

Strangely when I read a negative review that justifies that reviewer's distaste for a book I loved (reviews that just consist of 'This book sucks' are beyond idiotic imo), I am ok with it BUT when a negative review is on booktube I get emotional. I don't know why. It seems that the format brings out a certain arrogance in booktubers.

I'm mentioning the above because do you consider booktubers reliable reviewers? because I don's (with the exception of a couple and I do literally mean a couple)


message 43: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments Not sure I've seen a negative Booktube review. Any examples?

I often like detailed reviews, and there isn't the time for that in a YouTube video.

I've noticed that I find polemical essays easier to empathise with on audio, especially if the speaker is expressive - it's listening to someone getting stuff off their chest, whereas I would be more inclined to nitpick at a written essay and feel they should have made a sounder case.


Nadine in California (nadinekc) | 262 comments Robert wrote: "Strangely when I read a negative review that justifies that reviewer's distaste for a book I loved (reviews that just consist of 'This book sucks' are beyond idiotic imo), I am ok with it ..."

Similarly, I've read negative reviews that point out flaws that irk me too in fiction, but then I've read the book, and either not seen those flaws, or not been bothered by them because so much else about the book was good.

What bugs me are the over-the-top, raving publisher descriptions. They might generate more negative, disappointed reviews than a less hyperbolic description would.


message 45: by Lark (new)

Lark Benobi (larkbenobi) | 424 comments Some people here on GR have a lot of sway over me where if they dislike a book then I'm more likely to give it a pass, and if they like it I will read it as soon as I can.

And then there are people here where we mutually acknowledge that we're likely to have opposite reactions to books, and that's fun...we are great assets to one another in a different sort of way.

Quite often if I'm reading something a little obscure, there will be a great review waiting for me on GR when I'm done, and I usually end up friending the person who has written it so I can read more of their reviews.


Nadine in California (nadinekc) | 262 comments Lark wrote: "Quite often if I'm reading something a little obscure, there will be a great review waiting for me on GR when I'm done, and I usually end up friending the person who has written it so I can read more of their reviews."

This is my absolute favorite thing about GR, although I tend to follow the person, rather than friend. I still feel like I have to get to know them better first ;)


message 47: by Robert (new)

Robert | 2261 comments Antonomasia wrote: "Not sure I've seen a negative Booktube review. Any examples?

I often like detailed reviews, and there isn't the time for that in a YouTube video.

I've noticed that I find polemical essays easie..."


The Booktuber Insert Literary Pun is practically a negative review machine (in fact she announced last week that she has to stop her channel because her views on books are ruining her chances of working in the publishing industry)

Generally when booktubers give a scathing review, they remove the video a month later. Here's one I managed to find:

The 3 min mark - Here's an example of the arrogance that dominates booktubers when they view something negative.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwJHC...

The 50 second mark. Note this is not a negative review but I was a bit irritated at the jab he gives at reviewers when this booktuber speed reads his books.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkoHa...

One of the best ones was a rant about Hubert by Ben Gijsemans where the Booktuber pontificated that it was filth and full of behaviour that was inexcusable to her moral values. Later it dawned on her that there was actually a deeper message. This video has been removed.

How can I take their reviews seriously??? I don't understand.


message 48: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments Robert wrote: "The 3 min mark - Here's an example of the arrogance that dominates booktubers when they view something negative.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwJHC..."


This is a book that has a lot of bad reviews, though, so it's not just her. Even a friend who's very much on-board with the subject matter was lukewarm about it. I don't think the video is any more arrogant than thousands (millions?) of 1-star reviews by people on GR, but it is typical of the style you get on BookTube, where people talk as if in casual conversation - where you might say '"I hated..." quite lightly, whereas in a permanent format you need to think more carefully about choice of words. Also things like ""I think she has a PhD""... I'd rather read a written review where the poster looks these things up in another tab as they go.
She looks a lot like someone I knew at university (and who'd now be in her 40s) which was kind of strange to watch.

I've heard a few Booktubers (can't remember names, it was a year or two ago) whose delivery was much more professional, like TV or radio presenters, who didn't use constant uptalk, and had evidently looked up things beforehand. Even though the content didn't go into much depth, I was impressed by their manner and preparation. These two, by contrast, talk as if they are having a (rather one-sided) chat with a few friends. I'll leave them to it - I'm not their intended audience.


message 49: by Robert (new)

Robert | 2261 comments Antonomasia wrote: "Robert wrote: "The 3 min mark - Here's an example of the arrogance that dominates booktubers when they view something negative.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwJHC..."

This is a book that has a ..."


You're right. It's all about intended audience. Like I said there are a couple who treat reviews the way I like them. I do keep up with booktube though because publishers send them ARC's so it is a good way to know what's coming out in the next three months or so.


message 50: by Paul (last edited Aug 26, 2018 04:53AM) (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10564 comments Antonomasia wrote: "Would be interested to hear about how others who do use Twitter and do post negative reviews (Paul?) deal with this."

Nice to see I am getting a reputation for negative reviews! Actually don't think Twitter makes any difference unless

a) you have lots of followers - I don't
or
b) you tweet reviews to the author / publisher

I don't do b) usually except occasionally (and usually to publishers not authors) for very positive reviews. GY tends to tweet more to publishers/authors (again for +ve ones) and it is in interesting to see how appreciative and engaged they are in return.

My big issue actually on GR is what constitutes a -ve review. I've been marking books for 15 years or so - pre GR - on a similar scale (although it won't surprise you to hear I had a lower 0* category as well). But to me 3* is where any book, even one I expect to like, starts and a 3* rating means I enjoyed the book.

But GR seems to be going the way of ebay (where any feedback other than AAAA+++++**** means 'this seller is a crook') and 4 stars means hmmm (which to me is 2/3) and 3 means a poor review (for me 1/2).

Which then does cause me issues when I am one of the first or few reviewers of a new or not widely read book, since even 4* seems not to help. I have resorted on occasion to downgrading ratings once a few reviews are in and I am no longer significantly affecting the average, or in a few cases not even leaving stars at first.

As for Booktube - can't see the point. Few people seem to exploit the visual nature other than waving a book at the screen. And I want to be able to skim reviews to see the key points before I commit to reading which is very hard to do on youtube. Also as with audiobooks most people's natural speaking speed is far too slow.


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