We are well over half way through “Write a book review on Amazon ” month and this week I’ve been supporting the campaign with some book reviewing themed posts.
At some point in book reviewing everyone will come across a book they really didn’t like, could you still write a review and how could you write it?
Negative and Bad Reviews
I can guarantee this is going to cause a scene.
So what do you do if you really didn’t like a book? People who slam a book and its author publically are often called Book Trolls. Like wise authors who have fans who bully anyone who dares to post a low star rated review, are also connected to the troll label. I suspect this is one of the top reasons why people fear to post a review and it damages the industry as a whole.
Firstly put yourself in the shoes of an author, someone who has toiled hard over their book, you don’t know the mountains they’ve climbed to get this far. Personal, physical, emotional mountains, how would you feel if this was your life’s work?
So you can still write a review, it will be challenging. Find points that you did like, perhaps the overall story, a strong character, a funny moment. You might have liked the first chapter, perhaps it was full of promise, even if it all went down hill from there, still say what you liked.
You can say things didn’t work for you like a fight scene or a love scene. Or you had trouble picturing the mystery building. Some fantasy and sci-fi books need to really make the reader understand new imaginary planets and realms. I once read a book which read like an arcade game with characters leaping from level to level in huge cavernous spaces, it felt 2-D and I longed for depth in the form of the descriptions and the senses, like smell and hearing.
My best advice for a book you don’t like, is LESS IS MORE. If I wrote my favourite character was the mother-in-law and she had a minor part in the book, then I’m hoping the author might pick up that the main characters hadn’t hit the mark. If I said I really like the first three chapters, then there is a hint that the rest of the book may not have lived up to my expectations. If you’ve struggled to write perhaps 10 lines then there probably wasn’t much that made you jump up and down, leave a shorter review. However you still haven’t been rude about the book.
Ultimately the top LESS is MORE tip. If you can’t find anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. A no review speaks volumes. If you’ve been asked to write a review and really feel you can’t, be polite and say the book wasn’t for you. If you bought the book and didn’t like it, move on there are billions more books out there.
A little note to authors.
All authors who put there work out in the public eye, cannot reasonably expect every single person to like their work. We all read a book differently and a range of book reviews and their star ratings is a healthy thing on review sites. I do understand the hours spent on creating a book and often the author is so attached to their work that they cannot stand, that anyone might not love it as they do and see it as they wrote it.
I’ve come across authors who want to disagree with a book review and try to “heavily suggest” that the reader can’t possibly have read the entire book, if they didn’t enjoy, “the romance between the characters”, or they didn’t comment on the brilliant ending. You can’t tell someone how they should read your book.
I have an author who came back to me several times in the last year, to tell me how brilliant some other readers have thought his work, he doesn’t tell me about the other readers who gave it a 3* review as I did, instead he is insistent that I couldn’t have read the book as it was intended, that I “didn’t get it” and I feel he is trying to wear me down, either to withdraw my review or to reconsider. Nope, nada, not happening, don’t do this authors, it makes you look petty and word gets around the book community that you are to be avoided.
Tomorrow I shall be looking at my book community.