CAUTION: RANT AHEAD!
“You know what really grinds my gears?” –Peter Griffin
I need that “someone is WRONG on the Internet” cartoon printed and placed beside my laptop when on the Internet. It serves as a reminder to calm down and laugh at myself.
And I laugh at myself a lot. I get outraged at other people’s outrage, which is a bit ridiculous. But I can acknowledge my own ridiculousness 😉
I drafted this post to calm down, because sometimes I just get so angry when someone’s opinion differs from mine. I forget that people have DIFFERENT standards, not LOWER standards. Of course, I choose to BELIEVE they’re lower, but in actuality they’re just DIFFERENT. Interpretation of…well, anything, can vary from person to person when it comes to books, reviews, reviewers, authors, and readers.
DISCLAIMER: I’m a reader, reviewer, blogger. NOT an author.
Some authors rate everything they read, and the ratings range from book to book. Reviewing and rating are separate things. I RATE everything I read, but I REVIEW only the ones I could be arsed reviewing. Because I’m lazy, and I can be because I’m not getting paid to review. I give my reviews away for free 😉 (Though if you see my reviews getting plagiarised – I’ve heard that can happen – PLEASE inform me. Nothing’s happened so far that I know of, but bad eggs do exist.)
Some authors choose not to review at all, minus the official blurbs that are put on book covers to promote a new author’s work. (eg “Character is the perfect blend of snark and heart. New Author has crafted a riveting plot that is nothing short of amazing. I am gobsmacked with envy.” –New York Times Bestselling Author.) Though hopefully they’d come up with something less generic than that fake blurb I just wrote 😉
Some authors choose not to review, but announce to everyone that they’re not reviewing and why. Review or don’t, but announcements in regards to one way or another make me snarly. I am strange 😉
Some authors only post “positive” reviews – and announce so – because they don’t want to spread “negativity”. When this policy is specifically announced, that’s when I get angry. “Positively” review all the books you want, but if you ANNOUNCE that you’re only rating/reviewing the ones you love, that’s when I can no longer trust your judgment.
Believe it or not, but trust is everything for a reader to connect with a reviewer. That doesn’t mean you necessarily agree with them on every book, but you can tell by the things they point out whether the book will work for you or not. Trust builds from review to review, which often turns into friendship. Finding a fellow reader with a high compatibility to yours is gold 🙂 I would never choose to read a book simply because of a review, but it can be a contributing factor.
Interpreting a review for its relevance to you is quite simple, but authors – whether just as themselves or as author-reviewers – can unfortunately misinterpret something as “negative” when that was never the case.
Here are some important things for readers, reviewers, and authors to consider (note I didn’t say “agree”):
-A review of an author’s book probably won’t break that author’s career. If reviews DID break careers, no fan fiction would be pulled to publish, but (unfortunately, in my opinion) it is. Don’t stress about a “bad” review.
-If you’re reviewing a book that’s less than “perfect”, perhaps don’t send the author a link. Do you WANT them to get any more neurotic? 😉 But I do send to the publisher. (Self-publishers, or self-publishers masquerading as “indie” publishers…I have no advice either way.)
-“Negative” reviews often form the strongest trust bonds between reader and reviewer. These are the reviews I’m more likely to read, instead of just scrolling to another post.
-Not every “negative” reviewer is a “bully” or a “troll”. Be sure to investigate what those words actually mean. When used incorrectly, those words lose any power they may have had. It’s like crying “wolf”.
-Generally speaking, ratings tend to mean this:
5 stars = LOVED IT!
4 stars = really enjoyed it
3 stars = it was okay/neutral (yeah, this number causes trouble in interpretations)
2 stars = I understand why this may work for some, but it pissed me off
1 stars = HATED IT!
-Speshul Snowflake authors who freak out publicly about less-than-“perfect” reviews are the exception, NOT the rule. Most authors know when to speak and when to shut up. But they don’t always know when to shut up about shutting up 😉
-If I disagree with someone directly, I say, “We’ll have to agree to disagree ;-)” Winkie included.
-It’s okay to block anyone who makes you seethe. You don’t have to respond. If it goes against the website-in-question’s guidelines (ie Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter), report it to the relevant authorities.
-An attack on a book is NOT an attack on the book’s author. The two are different, though they’re often unfortunately lumped into the same boat. Know the difference, and learn to differentiate one from the other.
-A person’s opinion only has the power you give it.
And yes, I do realise the ridiculousness of me advising not to advise your blog readers of your review-positive-only stance. Told you I laugh at myself 😉
P.S. I spent over three hours drafting, deleting, rewriting, revising, and editing this post. What the eff?! 😉