Yesterday I was directed to a blog post written by a newish author (who shall remain unnamed) who was having a bit of a whinge about reviews and reviewers. This author had provided a (misnumbered) list of how they thought reviewers should go about writing reviews, especially reviews of said author’s work. Yes, you read that right.
Oh, but it gets better. This particular author loved five-star reviews (fair call; who doesn’t?), and was happy to accept a four-star review, but when it came to anything lower than that, well, things got a little creepy. If a reviewer wanted to give this author’s work a three, two or one-star review they wanted the reviewer to get in touch before posting the review so they could chat about the raising that little star-rating to an acceptable four or five-star.
The author’s reasoning? Well, once you weeded out all the ‘woe-is-me’ bullshit, it was pretty much… woe is me. It affected sales, it was mean, they don’t understand the book (ie the reader is stupid), it was mean, it hurt my feelings, it was mean, it was mean, it was mean!
If that wasn’t bad enough, the author went on to say that those reviewers who’d received ARCs should always post positive reviews, regardless of whether they’d been asked for an honest review. You see, if they give you a free book, you must write a good review. Right? Right?
As someone who reviews the books I read, my back went up. Who are you to tell me or anyone else how to review a book? Not that I ever plan on reading anything this writer offers. And that’s not just based on the cluster-fuck of the blog post, but on the blurb of said book that was garnering those meany-mean-mean reviews. It was awful, that blurb, truly awful. Long-winded, confusing, and so poorly written it gave me enough insight into what lay inside.
It’s clear the author didn’t employ an editor to look over their work, but has rather written the book then chucked it up on Amazon wanting to make some quick cash. That is not a writer. A writer labours over their words, each and every one of them; a writer ensures the plot works and that the characters are more than clichéd cardboard cut-outs. From the reviews I’ve read of this book, there’s a whole lot of wrong with it and not a lot of right.
It would be these reviews that had the author throw a hissy-fit – a lot of which were removed by Goodreads, it seems. Poor form by the author and equally poor form by Goodreads.
What the author failed to understand is that reviews are opinions of readers, and no book is going to appeal to everyone. The author believed there was an implied contract: read the book and love it or don’t say anything at all. Sorry, kiddo, time you entered the real world where people can form opinions that differ from yours.
This writer appears to be relatively new to the game, and a blog such as theirs could be career suicide. Readers remember, as do publishers. There were some scathing comments, and word had spread quickly about the pomposity of the post, but the author kept defending their position, digging that ugly hole deeper and deeper.
Most authors aren’t like the one that garnered this post. They’re thankful for anyone who takes the time to review their work – good or bad. But there are those out there whose sense of entitlement eclipses good sense. You wrote a book, but you’re not alone in that endeavour. You sold a book? That’s great! You got a sucky review? Thems the breaks.
I review books for other readers, not the author. The author gets my review as a by-product only. I’m honest, hopefully amusing, and deal with the story and characters and the writing. I take my time with them – and there’s the kicker: MY time. No author has the right to demand anything from me. I paid for your book; be happy about that. If I don’t like it, then I’m the one out of pocket. You? Well you’ve still got my cash. I think you’ve got the better deal here, no?
Oh, and if you don’t like my review, you could always return the cash…
Addendum: It seems the author has seen the error of that ridiculously self-important post and removed it.
Addendum to the addendum: The author has since issued an apology for said post.