Recently I’ve seen several discussions about the value or harm of book reviews. Authors need them to help with sales and even negative reviews aren’t necessarily going to hurt sales.
Negative reviews Evidently, some people write negative reviews and go so far as to tag the author in them. I’m not sure why anyone thinks that’s acceptable. Bad manners are never okay.There are also many reviews I’ve seen (I only read them after reading a book) that go out of their way to be mean.
The value of reviews Feelings about reviews range from “they are important and I depend on them before I make a purchase,” to “I never read them and I don’t write them.” I weighed in on a Twitter discussion saying I only write reviews if I like a book. I read 50 books in 2017 and liked the vast majority. I don’t think that’s because I’m an “easy grader.” I believe it’s because I choose well. I ask people whose opinions I trust for recommendations and make an educated decision of what to read. Of the 50 books, I didn’t finish one because I just couldn’t get through it. I know it is a beloved book by most people who’ve read it, including people I know well. I didn’t review it because my opinion wouldn’t be helpful to someone considering reading it. I didn’t choose well when I tried reading it.
Writing community on Twitter weighs in Back to the Twitter discussion: One response argued that it’s not helpful if I only write positive feedback. Another went so far as to say, if they read something they don’t like, they feel a negative review might be helpful to the author as a way to improve in the future.
Opinions My opinion, and that’s what a review is – OPINION – is that when you are weighing in on someone’s art, your voice is only helpful to those who share your frame of reference. I occasionally read genres I don’t really care for to expand my horizons as a writer, but I wouldn’t write a negative review. Obviously I’m not the target audience and my opinion isn’t going to be meaningful to a person who likes the genre.
What are your thoughts on reviews? Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.