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message 1: by Stacy-Deanne (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Hi All,

This is a question some author friends of mine and I were discussing.

Do you think it's rude to email or write an author just to tell them you hated their book? Would you do this and have you ever done this?

I couldn't do that. It's not just because I am an author, it's because I'm not like that. I wouldn't write an author just to tell them I hated their book. What I would do was put my thoughts in a review (politely) if I wanted to express my opinion. I think it goes overboard to write an author JUST to be rude and tear their book down. Sure, authors should expect all kinds of mail from readers but I don't see the good of writing the author personally when you hate their book. I think that's like going to someone's house and making fun of their car. LOL! I just think that's being mean in my opinion. I think criticism would be more helpful in a review as long as it didn't personally attack the author.

Some authors mentioned they've gotten hateful mail and they didn't appreciate being written personally just to be ridiculed when it wasn't helpful.

What are your thoughts?

Best Wishes!

message 2: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
I wouldn't do that. Here are my reasons:

1)It's very rude and uncalled for.

2)My time is too valuable to write a dislike/rant letter to a writer for a book.

3)I try to be a positive person and focus on the good and not the bad. I even feel bad giving a book a bad review on here or my blog. I am definitely not going to write an author just to tell her/him how much I disliked their book.

4)Writers are people too. I believe that it's cruel to do something like that. I try to imagine how I feel when someone is very cruel and mean about something I worked hard on.

It's just not me.

message 3: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6626 comments Mod
I think it's selfish and childish for a person to write an author to tell them that they didn't like their work.

It's okay to dislike something a person wrote, but it's not okay to be rude to the writer. People need to grow up and get a life.

message 4: by Traci (new)

Traci | 6 comments There are only two book that I really HATED and was really upset about the time I wasted reading them. I was upset with the author for the type of book she wrote and the message.. But that was my own personal opinion. I would never email the author and voice my opinion unless she asked for feedback on the topic.

message 5: by JC (new)

JC (ainathiel) I agree with everyone it is rude, childish and just plain stupid. I mean what exactly is the hater trying to accomplish?
When I read any story I disliked or strongly disliked it was because I wasted time trying to understand and know the characters and their world. I wasted my time, that I can't get back and it usually takes some time for me to forget a stupid story. Sometimes it is so revolting, I can't read anything else for a couple of days.
I wouldn't personally attempt to contact the author just to let them know I hated their book or story. It would be another waste of time. I would give it a no-star review.

Also reading bad stories is one of the many reasons I write my own.

message 6: by Stacy-Deanne (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) I love what everyone said! I gotta add something to what Danielle said because she said it wonderfully.

I am a positive person too and I try to spread that around. I feel like if you are doing stuff just to be mean and not to help, you need to get a life. I think that people who write authors and insult them are mainly other writers.

I don't see the average reader writing an author just to be so hateful. Usually folks who do this have a motive and are trying to tear you down for a reason so it makes me believe it could be other writers from jealousy. Why would a reader go out of their way to write an author like that? I am sure some have, but man in my experience, it was other writers who were the main ones trashing books and being hateful.

I remember a friend of mine was in a critique group years ago before she was published. She got a contract and one of the members blasted her book in a review and then blasted the book in an email to the author. Why would you do that to someone who you'd been critique buddies with for years unless you're jealous they got published or something?

I am glad you guys feel like me. I definitely think it's rude and I couldn't go out of my way to be nasty to anyone.

Best Wishes!

message 7: by Stacy-Deanne (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Another great point you made, Danielle.

Authors are people too and I think the public sometimes forgets that. Authors do have feelings and even though it comes with the territory, if someone is targeting you by unfairly being vicious, it takes a toll on you. Some of the reviews I've seen about books lately are ridiculous because they are so hateful and obviously are done out of spite and for no other reason.

Once I read a review from someone and it looks like they had some vendetta against the author, I don't read anymore reviews from them.

message 8: by Debbie (new)

Debbie (halfpint66) | 221 comments I would NEVER do that! That's just WRONG!

message 9: by new_user (new)

new_user I wouldn't do that myself. It's unnecessary. People put a lot of heart into their works. I understand reviewing honestly, but it's quite another thing to send spiteful emails to the author.

message 10: by Arch , Mod (last edited Jan 23, 2011 06:16PM) (new)

Arch  | 6626 comments Mod
Stacy, some readers, who are just readers can be ugly as well. They think they know everything and will make it their point to say a writer's book sucked or that an author doesn't know how to write.

Some readers think they know everything about grammar. Those are the ones that would get highly offended if you point out their writing errors to them.

I can't stand when a reader attack an author and not because I am just a plain writer. When people come at me stupid like that, I put the beef on the table and tell them I want to see just how much they know about grammar.

Again, people need to get a life rather they are just a reader or a jealous writer. Hate only hurts you.

message 11: by Chicki (new)

Chicki Brown (chicki663) | 130 comments IMO, if a person feels the need to contact and author just to tell them they hated the book, that person has other issues going on.

There are a lot of things in life I dislike, but I'm not going to waste time writing letters to the creators to tell them. I'll just never use their product/read their book, watch their movie, etc. again.

Personally, I've skipped doing reviews on books I've hated simply because I didn't want my feelings to influence other potential readers. Let them make up their own minds.

Chicki Brown
Author of
Hot Fun in the Summertime
Amazon Author Page:
Web site:

message 12: by Stacy-Deanne (last edited Jan 23, 2011 05:06PM) (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Arch, so true. You do have a point. I have seen these types of know-it-all-readers. Some have never written anything in their life and think they can tell an author what they should or shouldn't do in their books.

Chicki, I'm like you. If I didn't like an author's book and it's the first book I read from them, I might give them another chance with another book. But if it's their writing style or something that I just don't enjoy, I probably won't read them again. Sometimes an author writes a type of book I just didn't enjoy but I will check them out again if I liked how they wrote despite the plot, etc. But even if I HATED their books and I've read many books I've hated, I wouldn't tear the book down, definitely wouldn't contact the author and I would skip doing a review on it if I didn't have anything good to say about it.

Best Wishes!

message 13: by CaliGirlRae, Mod Squad (new)

CaliGirlRae (rae_l) | 2005 comments Mod
Everyone previously said it best. It's rude and serves no other purpose than to offend the author if it's just to say the person hated the books. I agree with Chicki that there are probably other issues going on with that person. Perhaps they have something personal against the author which is even more suspect!

For books I don't like, I usually state why it didn't work for me but in general terms because that same thing could work for another reader. Either that or I'd just skip the review and possibly the rating as well.

The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (thefountainpendiva) | 1215 comments Isn't that what reviews are for?

I write reviews. The negative ones I've written are not to personally attack an author, but to express what didn't work for me in the book.

message 15: by CaliGirlRae, Mod Squad (new)

CaliGirlRae (rae_l) | 2005 comments Mod
They can go either way if a person likes a book or doesn't (as for what reviews are for). But there is a specific difference between sending a hate mail email to an author and stating thoughts on a review on a public site.

message 16: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
It's nothing wrong with saying why you don't like a book, respectfully. But it's a very deliberate, mean-spirited thing to send a writer a vitriolic hate letter. I agree that there is something going on with a person who wants to spend their time doing that.

Let me make it clear, that I have no problem with emailing an author and asking them a question about their books.

message 17: by CaliGirlRae, Mod Squad (new)

CaliGirlRae (rae_l) | 2005 comments Mod
I agree, Danielle. Plus, I imagine some of them enjoy the questions. :-)

message 18: by Davina (last edited Jan 24, 2011 11:44AM) (new)

Davina D. | 796 comments No, I don't think its rude and yes, I would do it.

It's all in how you approach things. I would never just write someone and say "Hey your book sucks and I hated it!".

But writing an author and being respectful and truthful about your feelings for his/her work, I don't think this is inappropriate. I've done this many times with many authors and I didn't have a problem. These authors and I still correspond today. One of my all time favourite authors, Susan Johnson, knows exactly how little I care for her contemporaries. In emails, she'd laugh and say, "at least I know I have a loyal customers for my historicals!" I just love her for that.

Joey W. Hill, whose BDSM novels push my tolerance to the extreme, is also the same. I told her point blank that I think her heroes are closet wusses (ok not in those exact words but pretty close) and she would say, "Davina I think my next hero is more up your alley."

I love an author who can laugh at him/her self and not take their work too seriously. More importantly I appreciate a professional who doesn't fall victim to their emotions. They KNOW not everyone will think what they write is genius all the time.

When you're an artist you have to realise that you put yourself out their for critique. Not everyone is going to like what you produce and as long as an author has that in perspective they should be fine.

I don't believe in abuse and condescension. I believe in being truthful and straight. I hate when people are too nice and never say what they truly mean. If I'm an author and somebody didn't like my book I'd want them to tell me straight rather than patronise me.

Like I said its all about how you say things, not what you say.

When you decide to live your professional and or private life in the public sphere you have to develop a skin thick enough to take and accept criticism. If not, then you're in the wrong profession. It's as simple as that.

message 19: by Trenice (new)

Trenice I think its wrong to email an author for that purpose. I couldn't see myself being bold enough to do such a thing.

message 20: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6626 comments Mod
This is how I see things. A reader chooses to read a book - the author did not force them to read their material. So, if a reader didn't like what the author wrote, they need to keep their thoughts to themselves and not write an author and tell them what they think about their book.

I'm not an author, but I am a writer and yes, I do have stories online. If a person chooses to read my story, fine, but don't come to me and complain about my story, because you didn't like (?). I don't want to hear it.

My characters, etc. belongs to me and I'll write my story the way that I see fit for myself.

There's a difference between critiquing someone's work and just being rude and ugly.

If a reader wants "their story", then they need to write their own story.

message 21: by Stacy-Deanne (last edited Jan 26, 2011 11:06AM) (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Great post, Arch.

Trashing is not helpful and there is a difference between trashing and giving a valid critique.

I don't think any author does not expect critiques. We know it's part of the business. But there is a difference between me writing an author just to trash their work and me stating an honest opinion out of respect. Like Vix says, isn't this what reviews are for? If the person hated the book that much, why can't you just put it in a review? But I don't see how it can help for someone to trash (and that's what I meant by the topic) a person's book to their face.

I wonder how many of these folks who trash an author's book behind computer screens would do it to their faces? Being an author, we are always talked about on sites, etc. People wanna talk trash on forums and think because we are public people, it's okay. Fine, it comes with the territory but I believe if you wouldn't say it to that author in their face, it probably means it shouldn't be said or is not being said to help but to be an a--.

People are different and yes, I know some would do it in a heartbeat. But even before I was a writer I NEVER just set out to write someone to say, "Your book sucked." or "Man you can't write to save your life! This is trash." I'm not built like that. If it's not gonna have a positive impact on someone, I'm not gonna do it.

Trashing is not a helpful critique, it's trashing. Me saying, "Your house is ugly." Is much different than me saying, "I like how you painted the door but I think the brick could have been a dark brown." It's a difference.

Man if I wrote every singer, author and actor every time I hated something they did, I wouldn't have no life. LOL! Like Danielle said, what's the point to write an author just to be rude and mean? That's what reviews are for unless the person just wants to write the author and make sure they saw it.

And another thing? Why do readers think they know everything about how something should have been done in a book? I don't think I know everything so I wouldn't dare try to tell an author what they should or shouldn't have done in their books. I always say, if you can do better, then you write it. LOL!

I've had friends that had their books trashed and hateful stuff said about them in emails. Maybe some people don't know how far it goes or how much it hurts but it does. Yeah, we're authors. I get that. But hell, we're human too. Just because someone is in the public eye doesn't mean they don't deserve a level of respect.

Best Wishes!

message 22: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Sees Love in All Colors (last edited Jan 27, 2011 06:03AM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
Like you guys have pointed out, part of why I write is to write the kinds of stories I want to read. Is it the writer's fault that she writes the kinds of books she wants to write? It's your fault if you keep reading an author who doesn't fit your personal taste. I've had to let go of authors when we didn't see eye to eye on what makes a satisfying (I didn't say good because that's subjective) to me story. She is free to do what she likes, and I'm free to read what I like to read, and we're both happy.

message 23: by Fiona (new)

Fiona McGier | 128 comments Actually I'd be happy to get any contact from a reader! Even if they don't like the book, at least I'd know it was being read! Those pesky characters in my head demand I write their stories because they want more life than just entertaining me. I've had reviews I was unhappy with, but I've shaken it off, being glad that at least my book was read.

message 24: by Davina (last edited Jan 27, 2011 12:45AM) (new)

Davina D. | 796 comments Kerrina, good point about the author reading the review. Many authors read their own reviews.

When I do a review I'm often brutally honest about my feelings toward the book. If I loved it, that will come across, but if I hated it I'm not going to hold back. I won't attack the author (I'll wonder aloud about his/her motivation to write the book, but I won't personally attack them), but I'll go into detail about why I didn't like the book. I don't do it to be mean, but it's easier to be more honest when you're speaking to a general group of people.

In a one to one with the author, I'm far more considerate and will never say "you're a horrible writer, that character was stupid" or what have you. So in that regard, I agree with Fiona. I've told Joey W. Hill that her heroes are a little too beta for my tastes, and she was a little surprised (because no one has said her heroes were beta before) but not offended.

For me, personally, I'd prefer a more personalised feedback as to way the book didn't work for that particular reader rather than to read numerous vitriolic reviews on why my book totally SUCKED.

Many authors don't care one way or the other, especially if they have a little experience under their belts (for eg have moved pass the first book). They know it comes with the territory and learn to filter what they read. For while I agree that people should not continue to read an author's work if their books no longer work for them, not everybody does.

Besides all it takes is one book to get many readers up in arms.

message 25: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6626 comments Mod
I'm sure some authors read reviews about their book(s) and some probably don't. I know of one author that stated that she doesn't read reviews about her books.

To me a review will always be different than a personal email to the author.

Again, I will use myself. My stories are never for my readers. I write my stories for me, not for my readers. It's nothing for me to write a story for my eyes only and trust me, I would sit down and snuggle up to my own stories. I just recently started sharing my stories online with people. I'm very shy when it comes down to sharing my work.

Trust me, although I have been writing for 23 years - this year will be 24 - I know that I am not the best writer in the world. Writing is my talent and yes, I will never gradute from writing. I have so much to learn. But, yet, I know how to tell a story that puts a spark in my body. I love telling a story.

My characters will never be what another person want them to be, because they are mine and they are written the way I want them to be written.

I'm a make believe writer. Some stuff in my story probably would never happen in real life, but in my stories they would. I do like to bring reality to my stories as well.

My stories aren't for everyone, just as other writers stories aren't for me. Yet, I would never email an author or even a writer's story that I read online and tell them what I didn't like about their story.

message 26: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Sees Love in All Colors (last edited Jan 27, 2011 06:06AM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
I started writing reviews of books on my blog. It's sort of like journaling to me. I talk about my experiences and reactions to a book. I will say why I didn't like a book, or what I didn't like about a book, even if I liked it overall. I will also say what I loved about a book. Sometimes, my reviews get personal and touch on what's important to me, because, as I said, reviewing is as close as I get to journaling most of the time. It's very much my opinion and my view on a book. I always try to be fair and considerate in my reviews, because I don't believe in being mean-spirited. Sometimes I may use humor, but I don't want my humor to come off as cruel. It's just not true to who I want to be. If an author reads my review, they will know how I feel about their book. If that's helpful to them, then I'm cool, but the primary motivation is to talk about my experience with the book, good or bad.

message 27: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6626 comments Mod
You write wonderful detailed reviews Danielle. That's what I like about your reviews.

I tend to write what I like and didn't like about a book. If an author would read my review about her book, she would see how I feel about her book. She would also know if her hero has captured my heart.

Oh, how I love Sam Starrett! :)

message 28: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
Thanks, Arch. I like your reviews as well--it's clear what your perception of a book is, but in your unique way of expressing yourself.

message 29: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6626 comments Mod
Thanks Danielle. :)

message 30: by Stacy-Deanne (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) When I write reviews, I point out what I did like and what I didn't and I am always respectful. I don't think the one-sided reviews are helpful at all. If someone only said what they hated or liked about the book, that's not a fair review.

Arch, I too have read that most authors don't read their reviews. If I know of a review of my book, I read it because I can learn from it. That's why I love reviews folks leave that are helpful. If you didn't like what the cop did in my book, don't just say you didn't like it, tell me why. What problem did you have? If you didn't feel the romance or whatever, why? Tell me. That's what I mean, I think people who read reviews (whether it's the author or not) they expect reviews that are helpful whether the reviewer didn't love the book or not.

I've seen many reviewers who can review a book they hated and kept it respectful. Anyone can do it. But some reviews boil down to personal attacks and go into the author's personal life or the reviewer says some crap like, "Can't believe someone published this." Obviously the publisher thought it was good enough to be published so why would the reviewer wanna think it wasn't worth being published.

I've come to realize that reviewers who personally attack the author (beyond their book) are the ones who lose respect with folks who read their reviews. I love reading reviews and there are certain sites I read. I've stopped reading reviews from some blogs because it really does seem like the reviewer was jealous or something. One woman did a review of this lady's ebook romance and said, "I can't believe this publisher published this mess but turned down my book." So obviously she had reviewed this book just to tear it down because she was jealous that her book had been rejected. Readers can see through the personal attacks in a minute and a lot of them will come to an author's defense.

message 31: by Stacy-Deanne (last edited Jan 27, 2011 06:40PM) (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) And about author's egos. I disagree with it being said that only authors who haven't been around long have egos. Not true. I've been in the business professionally for 13 years now I'm a vet now. I don't have an ego but I can tell you there are many authors old enough to be my parents or grandparents who've released multiple books and they have BIG egos.

There are MANY authors who have been writing 20 or 30 years, are 50 years old and up who act like fools when they get a bad review. Half of those people who raise a stink are authors you'd think would know better. Remember the Alice woman (forgot her last name), she acted a plumb fool and put the reviewers info on Twitter and caused a big mess. She wasn't the only one and this woman has been writing for years. So I don't think ego has anything to do with how many books someone has out. Ego is a personal trait of certain people. It doesn't matter how long they've been out, some folks are always gonna take something the way they shouldn't. Egos have nothing to do with the number of book releases, age or status in the industry. If we believe that, that's not fair to the up and coming authors. Many new authors are not egotistical in the least and many older vets ARE.

Also, when it comes to trashing, it has nothing to do with ego. Ego comes in when someone can't take a review and like we've said over and over, a review is different from trashing.

I mentor a lot of newbie writers and yes, a lot of them don't want you to say nothing about their work even if it's a critique to help or even if they asked. That's not the right attitude. As long as a critique or review is not spiteful it will probably help you learn. But personal attacks and trashing doesn't. It just causes trouble.

With me, I love hearing from readers. But if someone is writing to my personal email just to hate on me or my work, save it. Let them keep their negative vibes. and put it in a review, blog, whatever. Don't bring it to me because they aren't doing it to help but to hate.

And another thing, I know reviewers in the business who have vendettas against certain authors. Nothing's black and white and sometimes what someone says about a person's book really is personal.

Best Wishes!

message 32: by Stacy-Deanne (last edited Jan 27, 2011 06:48PM) (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) And once again I agree with Danielle and Arch. Writers write the types of books they are interested in. Some folks purposely read a book they know they won't like just to trash it.

I mentioned it before about the woman I said who said all those things about, "Melody" and how she didn't like it because she doesn't read crime/mysteries. Yet she BOUGHT my book that was obviously a crime/mystery book, yet her favorite genre is street? Duh. If someone has any sense they should not read a genre they KNOW they don't like in the first place then talk badly about the book because of it's genre.

There are many genres I don't like. I won't read an author in this genre then talk about the book knowing I wouldn't have liked it anyway. That's unnecessary.

As readers we all have the options to stop spending our money on books we didn't like. I've given up on some authors because I didn't like how their books were going. But I didn't expect them to change just to suit ME. Heck I'm not so cocky that I expect my one opinion to be the only source of this author's writing. Authors have many fans and just because I didn't like the author's latest books, doesn't mean her other fans don't.

I'd write an author in a minute to tell them I enjoyed their work but no, I'm not writing them just to be negative. To me there is absolutely no point but just to shove it in the author's face that I hated their work.

Great, great points, Arch and Danielle!

message 33: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6626 comments Mod
:) @ Stacy.

message 34: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Sees Love in All Colors (last edited Jan 27, 2011 07:08PM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
This is a good thread because it's a valid issue, Stacy-Deanne. There are romance blogs that write very snarky reviews of books, why? Because people will read them and laugh along with the reviews. They are considered erudite, romance readers with 'good taste.' In other words, their opinion is more important than the average Jane Schmo who reads romances after work and on her days off. I have some mixed feelings about that. I know that an author should be able to laugh at themselves, and hopefully won't always take themselves too seriously. But, at the same time, I imagine it's kind of hurtful to see their book ripped to shreds in the public eye like that. Yes, it's part of being famous, but that doesn't negate everyone's inherent right to be treated with respect, and for their work to be respected. Now that author that you mentioned, well she made herself look like a horse's rear end and made a matyr out of the reviewer. The author ended up with egg on her face because she showed a lack of professionalism.

My sister shared with me about a book she read for review that was really, really poorly written. And I agree with her about it. It was very sad, to be honest. The author was nowhere near ready for her work to be published (and she actually self-published it). My sister worked very hard to write a constructive review that was not mean-spirited, even though she felt that some of the content in the book was very offensive and stereotypical (and I agreed). Writing those highly critical reviews are the hardest to write, but like you said, they can be done in a way that is still respectful to the author, and can be used constructively.

message 35: by Davina (new)

Davina D. | 796 comments The points being made here can not be disputed by any rational person, imo.

However, the complaint seems to be that you don't want any form of negative feedback from a reader regardless of how respectful they've been.

That's fair and fine enough. Everyone is entitled to their preferences, but if and when they involve other people, not everyone is entitled to oblige.

If you put yourself out there and invite reader feedback it's a bit unrealistic to expect ALL to be gushing and positive.It's just not gonna happen.

A reader is within their right to give feedback to an author if that's what he or she invites. They're obliged to be respectful and considerate, but they're not obliged to tell the author only what she wants to hear.

message 36: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6626 comments Mod
A lot of readers are fast to tell an author off, but I wonder why they aren't taking the step to write their own book and get it published. What are they afraid of?

Many of these so called know it all readers wouldn't dare share a story online.

It's easy to mouth off in the dark, but what about coming to the light?

I will speak for myself. I know my writing isn't perfect. I haven't came across a perfect writer yet.

I'm my own worst critic. It's nothing for me to bash my own writing, because I'm my own worst critic. But, I will not let a reader come at me stupid.

Just because a person have their work out there, it doesn't mean they have to be visited by ugly.

message 37: by Tina (new)

Tina | 22 comments I think we are discussing two fundamentally different things.

One is whether or not it is considered Good Form to contact an author to directly notify them when you have disliked their work. I don't think anyone here disagrees that that is incredibly rude. Especially if you have no other contact or relationship with the author.

Really what does something like that accomplish? The author isn't going to change their writing style on the basis of your one letter. The book isn't going to be unwritten just because you didn't like it. No matter how politely stated or nicely crafted the letter, the bottom line is, it is something that serves absolutely no purpose except to make someone feel bad.

OTOH, as Davina points out above, if you do have a relationship with the author and have had some sort of ongoing dialog with them, then such a communication can be placed within that larger context. That is something different than just a mean-girls letter out of the blue.

The Second thing is the written review of an author's work on a place like Goodreads or Amazon etc.. My feeling is that this is altogether different than a mash note to an author. My opinion is that a review written on a readerly forum is directed to other readers, not to the author. I personally use reviews as a method not only to help myself work through my thoughts about the book, but also to use my voice in some small way to share my experience with other readers.

I love to read reviews written by other readers, both the positive and the negative. Ideally I like for each book I look at to have a good range of response across the negative to positive continuum. I don't trust anything that is too overwhelmingly positive as it is statistically improbable for something to appeal so widely that it is universally liked (or even disliked for that matter). Even negative review can be incredibly helpful in determining whether or not you read a book.

Some negative reviews actually tip me over into the 'must read' column, probably not what the reviewer intended. But like anything opinion is subjective. I think it is valuable information for someone to write what didn't work for them, even if the overall tenor of the review is negative. Because while they took the time to explain what did not work for them, It might be something that does work for me.

And honestly, I think authors need to expect negative reaction when they visit these types of boards. Authors are no different than an actor or a producer who goes on boards only to see 'she can't act' or 'That show sucks' and these are sentiments that are expressed even on this group. But that is the nature of a forum. Forums are exactly that, they give the public a place to express opinion --good, bad or indifferent.

So in sum, thumbs down on negative mash note sent privately to author, thumbs up on publicly reviewing according to your preferences.

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