Book reviews are an important part of an author’s career, especially when they are a newbie. The major online bookstores such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc, all allow customers to post reviews. Many authors are beginning to wonder if the system has become flawed, though.
Recently I become aware of a petition that was created asking Goodreads to not allow authors to be abused by comments on their website. You can see or sign the petition by clicking here. Apparently at least one undisclosed author has experienced a physical threat made by a reader in regards to a book. Sadly this is not the first time I have heard of this.
Author Charlaine Harris has been very vocal about the threats and attacks she’s received over how she ended her Southern Vampires series. Even if she weren’t, the news is widespread throughout the literary world. Unhappy readers of her book, Dead Ever After, blasted the series on every available avenue, even going so far as to insult her on her Facebook page for how she chose to end it.
A book review should be an honest evaluation of a novel. The reviewer should realize that just because their taste doesn’t extend favorably in that particular direction doesn’t mean that someone else will feel the same way. A review should be written objectively and focused on the book itself. A review should not be written by someone who proclaims they have not bought or read the book and never will. In fact, reviews such as these should be moderated and removed. It’s impossible to write an accurate book review of a book when you’ve never even read it.
Novels and series are the products of the imaginations of the authors that write them. Authors should not write what they think the readers want. An author should write the novel the way they feel it should be. Anything else is not being true to the book…. Or the vision you have for it.
Book Reviews Go To Far When:
1. They contain inaccurate information, such as saying that the book has bad grammar, spelling, etc, when they don’t. I’ve seen reviews left on various books making these claims. When I purchased and read it for myself, lo and behold, there was nothing wrong with it. Reviews like these should be removed, immediately.
2. They attack the author as a person. I don’t think we have to expand on this one. Personal attacks against a writer have no place on a book review.
3. When they threaten to not purchase from the author again, simply because the author didn’t write the ending or plot as the reader would have wanted it. I always disregard reviews like these. They have no business even being up.
4. When the reader tries to tell the author how they should have written their book. This is similar to the above. I’ve seen reviews consisting of nothing more than the reader telling the author how their book should have been written. This is not a review.
5. When the reviewer states they haven’t read the book, won’t be buying it ever, etc. This is obviously a personal attack against the author. A review like this needs to go…
6. When a review says that the book is garbage, not worth paying for, etc. This is obviously personal opinion, and not a very good one. For every book out there, someone took the time out of their lives to write it. Calling their thoughts garbage is completely inappropriate. Behind every book is a human being. They deserve common courtesy, whether the book suited your personal likes or not.
I’m sure there are many more reasons why a review should be removed. It’s unfortunate that it should have to come to that, though.
Many authors wonder if book reviews really have a place anymore. After all, personal like is so varied. Does the opinion of one really make such an impact on another, when their interests could be completely opposite of one another?
Each bookstore website has rules about what’s considered unacceptable in book reviews. As an author, make sure to check into this…. Or not. Many authors never bother checking their book reviews…. and for good reason. Regardless of what reviews are left, you want to remain true to yourself….. And your books.