When I was growing up, I was always taught that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.
Well I think that is very true of book reviewing. (This may be my own opinion and that of no other, but some people really should take a leaf out of my book - so to speak.)
The reason I decided to write this post? Well I've picked up a couple of books recently, not being 100% what the story was about or whether they were set to be any good. So I looked to other people's reviews as a guide.
Boy I wish I hadn't, because what I saw made me mad.
I can't or rather won't say what the books are, or what the few reviews said - that wouldn't be fair, the authors must've already seen them on Goodreads and so don't need me to repeat them.
All I will say is this:
Normally I read about the first 4 or 5 reviews of a book, always including one or two lower rated reviews to see what people didn't like about the book.
But just recently, I have noticed that people rant on about books, totally slating them for no good reason. Slating not only the book, but the author too.
I am a firm believer that if you have a good reason for saying that something about the book didn't meet your expectations, then state it constructively. Don't just rag on the author. Don't assume they are a bad person because you didn't like their book - yes, I've seen examples of that too. The author has invested a lot of time, money and effort in writing the book, and when you slate them in such a manner, you can be sure it knocks their confidence.
In my opinion, authors need a thick skin so that the rude comments can just run like water off a ducks back. Though unfortunately, I can think of authors I personally know who don't have a thick skin and each time they receive a bad review, they are very upset.
I myself have been toying with the idea of writing for a while now.
I wrote something when I was younger and have always wondered about re-writing it. But add my already low self-confidence to the reviews I have read lately, and you get me too scared to write.
I don't have a thick skin, and I know that I would feel terrible every time I received a bad review.
I know that readers like different books, some appeal to some of us and not others. Fair enough. But if I read a book and find it doesn't appeal to me, I either try to be constructive or say nothing at all. Usually choosing the 'say nothing' option.
I am grateful my nan taught me manners, and to be respectful as I grew up. I only wish others had been brought up with the same values.
So what I am trying to say is, please think about what you are writing in your review before you post it. If you feel you need to rant about a book or an author, please don't do it in a forum where the author might see.
Or try what my nan taught me - Write what you feel on a piece of paper and when you are finished, tear it up and bin it! That way no one has to see it. Authors don't get hurt by it. And other readers don't have their opinion influenced by it.
I know that a lot of people won't care about what I just wrote and I know only too well that some people can't be reasoned with. But if it makes one person stop and think, I'll be happy.
Thank you if you took the time to read this!