“I Don’t Like Your Novel”

In my observations the last few months, it has become quite clear that reviews will either be an indie authors joy…or an absolute nightmare that could potentially sink them.

Personally, I’ve yet to experience this because I am not published. I do, however, have friends who have experienced this and people are way less kind than just saying “I don’t like your novel.” They are actually really insulting and some will even go so far as to insult your intelligence or tell you that you should just stop writing because, well…you suck.

Why do people feel the need to be so mean? Is it that hard to just say “Wow, this story really wasn’t my cup of tea. I’ll just put it down and move on”? Is there a need to give a 1 star review and talk about how you want to bang your head against a wall or stab your eyes out after reading the story?

In a world where self-publishing is more prevalent, you are bound to run across books that you feel are less than adequate. It doesn’t mean you need to write horrible or mean reviews for every single one of them. What exactly would you achieve by doing so? Many eBooks by unknown authors are relatively cheap – and I’d rather waste a little money and say nothing, than talk about how terrible the book is in my opinion and end up stopping someone who would enjoy the book from buying it.

Everybody is entitled to their opinion – but even if it is the internet, it doesn’t give anyone the right to put another person down personally. There is nothing more annoying than hearing “It’s just the internet, don’t take it personally” because behind every computer, there is a real person, with REAL feelings! That author, whether you like their story or not, is a real person.

The internet tends to give people more….”courage” (yeah, that’s what I’ll call it to keep it clean) than they would have in real life. How many of you would go up to someone and start ranting to them about how their clothes, their looks, their cars, their shoes…are ugly and stupid and lame, etc? Would you go up to the author in person and tell them how badly their book sucked and you wish they would just stop writing?

It’s one thing to give a critique and any author who wants to succeed and grow wants to hear feedback. It’s the rudeness and pettiness and absolute cruelty that isn’t necessary. And a one or two star review for a book that has nothing wrong with it except for you not liking the plot line or a character, is ridiculous.

I’ve come across books I absolutely hate or find has too much head hopping and gives me a headache – I don’t write a scathing review or tell the author the book sucks – I just stop reading it and read something else. I have plenty of stuff I could be doing that is a more productive use of my time, energy and thoughts.

Life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns – sometimes a story is ugly, the people are witchy and unlikeable and you may wish that you could stab a particular character who makes the story less ‘pretty’ than it would be without them. So here I am to give you some tips on how to be a great reader and reviewer!

  1. If you get a book for free and like it, review it! One or two sentences and 3 to 5 stars is all that is necessary, you don’t have to give details about what you liked if you don’t want to.
  2. If you don’t like a book due to major errors, inaccuracies, etc. why not send a message to the author – who I am sure you could find somewhere other than where you bought their book and tell them? They can’t fix it if they don’t know there is a problem!
  3. Don’t be a jerk! If you don’t like it because it is just a horrible story in your opinion, that is fine but is it necessary to put other people off of the story who may actually like it? Don’t recommend it, don’t tell your friends, don’t review it – I am sure there are plenty of others who will like it and will review it. Move on and don’t be mean for the sake of being mean. If it is for other reasons – see #2.
  4. Share the books you like in any way you can. Promote the authors you love, even if its only one or two a day. Word of mouth is one of the strongest forms of advertisement for authors.

I hope you liked my post today. If you didn’t, that is okay too. Really, even if this post keeps one person from posting that nasty review they really don’t need to post, then I’ve done my job.

Have a great week everyone!

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15 thoughts on ““I Don’t Like Your Novel”

  1. Pingback: Publishing & Social Media | novelnook

  2. Oh thank God! I have been slammed as an amazon reviewer for only reviewing stuff I like. My response to this is–why waste my time reviewing something I don’t want to tell others about? I do give critical reviews occasionally, but only if I feel I have something to say that may be helpful to the author/readers. Being intentionally cruel or judging the author rather than their work makes a person look petty and rather juvenile. Excellent post!

    • Thanks for commenting :)
      I, too, think its perfectly acceptable to give a “bad” review if you feel the advice you give will help the author. Absolutely! I don’t review things I don’t like because I also don’t feel right being overly critical of someone for their writing style. If I don’t like it, that’s not THEIR problem. I read to enjoy & somebody else may enjoy the story.
      I still see name calling and stuff – it makes me sad. :( I try to support all authors, especially indie ones!

  3. Pingback: What Can WE Do For YOU? | novelnook

  4. I think you hit the nail on the head with the statement that the internet gives people courage. I’m sure if they came face-to-face with the author, they’d be a lot nicer and possibly even helpful to the author’s growth. There are other mentalities though. I have a friend who writes a review on everything he buys, whether he likes it or hates it. He’s explained that he writes long, detailed negative reviews to explain exactly what turned him off in the story. His hope is that the author reads his review and considers his opinion to improve future books. If not then he doesn’t take offense, but he tries very hard not to be insulting unlike other reviewers. As an author, I’d appreciate a thoughtful, polite 1-star review because at least I feel like they read the book and tried to like it.

    • Absolutely, Charles. I didn’t mean to say somebody should not give a review at all. A helpful 1 star review, while not desirable, is understandable. It is just the insulting I find ridiculous and unnecessary. :) I think your friend sounds quite nice and helpful!

      • Yeah. The insulting goes a bit too far. Though, I’ve seen some reviews that aren’t so much insulting as condescending, which I think are more damaging. I mean those reviewers that think their dislike of the book should be universal and they write in a way that isn’t insulting to the author. It’s hard to explain this exactly. Basically, on the surface it looks like a polite review, but when you read it the thing really boils down to ‘I hated this book and everyone else should too’. So far my worst review is a 2-star that only read the first 20 pages (couldn’t handle the present tense), but he admitted that he should have read the sample and went entirely off the reviews. I can respect a person that says ‘wasn’t my thing and I should have investigated it more’.

  5. Don’t be a jerk would be a life rule for everyone, if I had my way. Sadly, freedom of expression or manners without concrete consequences gives some that “courage” you wrote of. I’ve seriously seen some writing websites, by WRITERS, say that if you’re reading this, you should stop writing, the world doesn’t need anymore books by crappy authors. ??? Who are these people?

    • No clue. It would the same for me if I had my way :) And I’ve never seen what you speak of but that seems silly. Somebody’s writing may not be our cup of tea, but it doesn’t mean the story is without merit or that others won’t like it. Thanks for reading :D

  6. Pingback: A rant about reviews… | eBook Lovers Co-Op

  7. Precisely my thoughts on this particular matter. It makes no sense to me why some people feel the absolute necessity to be such heartless jerks toward writers, published or otherwise. I mean, constructive criticisms are great! I want more and more of them. I love them! All writers do, for it makes them grow and learn in the Art of Writing and as a person. But there’s a fine line that lies between that and blatant insults with a sole intent: to break a writer for the sake of, as you said, “being mean”. Alas! I guess the Internet makes it easy to do that, but still…it is awfully wrong and it saddens my heart that it happens. :( Persevere, writers, persevere the tumultuous storms!

    • Yes. See, constructive criticism with a 1 star review? I can totally see that. It’s the blatant insults that I’ve a problem with. Being cruel is just unnecessary and then people want to be mad at children who are bullies…If their parents are jerks, why wouldn’t their kids be the same way? It’s sad all around.

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