My Thoughts on Reviews
I know not everyone likes the same books. Two people can like book A and totally disagree on book B. So, I felt that my reviews could help those that look at books the way I do. I know I didn’t want to waste my hard earned money on a book to find that it wasn’t a good fit for me.
However, have you ever really stopped to look at the reviews on a book. The ratio of good to bad? I mean, I seriously can’t believe that there aren’t more people dissatisfied with books out there.
So, I never read reviews when looking for a good book. I didn’t trust them to be an honest representation of the reading population. But, this also made me feel strongly about posting my unbiased thoughts on my own reviews, because I know many people DO use reviews.
My Thoughts on Bullies
Jump forward, now I have kids. Much like me, my kids are unique and don’t quite fit the mold of what everyone else thinks is the right way to be. As my previous blog post shared, my kids are both diagnosed with ADHD. Due to the way that others treated them, my daughter was depressed as a kindergartener and again as a 4th grader. My husband went to school with many of these kids’ parents and informed me that the parents were just like this in school. My husband was also made fun of as a kid. So, my thoughts… a bully isn’t born, a bully is made.
What does this have to do with books? Well, a lot I’m afraid. I have met so many wonderful, caring people through books; however, not all of them have been. I’ve heard of authors attacked my people with a personal vendetta against them, I’ve heard of authors being attacked by other authors, and I’ve heard of readers being attacked by authors and other readers. How many stories have you heard of an author quitting because of someone who treated them so poorly that they lost their zest for writing. How many times have you seen someone attacked for posting a preference or belief in a book related group? I personally have seen it happen a lot. I have a friend who was attacked by an author for her review and now refuses to leave a review for anyone but those authors that she knows and trusts.
This frustrates me. No one should be afraid to voice their opinions. One of the base principles for our country is the “Freedom of Speech.” But, let me also point out that it does not give someone the right to verbally abuse someone else. That does not give someone the right to tell someone else what they should think or feel either.
Why This Post?
So, I downloaded the book and while I was waiting on my daughter with her friend, we had hours, I sat down to read this book. The book read like a first time author’s book. In my opinion, the book had issues – for me it was dry and confusing. I struggled for hours to get through 21% of the book, at which point I couldn’t stand it anymore. If you know me and my reading habits, you would know that I read pretty quickly (a book a day in some cases) and I always finish a book. After hours, I just wanted it to be over. So, I stopped reading. This book was on my friend’s wish list and I felt the need to write a review to let others know of the issues I found. I posted a 2-star review. I clearly stated that I did not finish reading the book and why.
Now, jump ahead about 2-months. Out of the blue, right before my book released, I receive a PM on Facebook from an author accusing me of “slamming” her book. She called me a “newbie author” and flat out told me I was wrong. She went on to say I lied.
This flabbergasted me. I do not slam, I do not lie in my reviews. I admit I responded back. It went back and forth a few times. I realized that it wouldn’t make the situation better and I asked her to not message me again. When she did, I blocked her from my account. The next day I received another message on my author page. I did not respond, just marked the post as spam.
This was days before my book released and I was already an emotional mess. I could not handle this woman’s drama. However, I did go back and read my review. One thing she had said was that the review was condescending. If you remember, I stated that I thought this was a “newbie author,” so I could understand why she felt it was condescending. So, I re-wrote my review to take out that language. I left my review, because my opinions were my opinions on what I had read. If she had approached me with the respect she was adamant that I wasn’t showing her, then I might have updated my review sooner for her. As it was, it took a few days as I tried to understand why this author felt the need to send me such awful messages.
As I said earlier this book was on a friend’s wish list. And, a friend of mine gave the book a review after I had posted mine. This is a good friend and I had discussed this lady with her and she had agreed to read the book and let me know if she felt the same way I did. Her review was lower than my own. My friend does not like to write reviews and only left a star rating. So, now we are at this past week. I once again received a message from this author. This time on Goodreads where she accused me of having my friend “bash” her book. She also tracked my friend down and not only messaged her on Facebook (she had to friend her first – after she posted her message she revoked the friend request and blocked my friend) but she also messaged her on Goodreads.
So, I sit her thinking to myself, “what should I do?”
Some would argue that I should let it go. However, this lady threatened to report us to Amazon. Could I just sit back and let her do this? How many individuals like this lady are there that are getting away with similar attacks because people are scared of looking unprofessional or causing a larger stink.
For the reasons I shared with you, I don’t like bullies.
My First Review Was a 2-Star
I sat for hours thinking about that review. I decided that I could understand why a person would have thought some of the things that the reviewer said. I don’t agree with most, but it’s their opinion and my book, right? We don’t have to agree. However, as I go into book 2, I feel stronger and more ready to write. I took what I could learn from that review and I plan to make book 2 even better than book 1.
You will notice, I did not report the review. I did not contact the reviewer about the language they chose to use. I learned and moved forward.
I WANT You to Post a Review
I do not want you to message me privately (unless you feel more comfortable doing that), I want you to post the review on Amazon, Goodreads, Nook, Kobo… post it where you normally post your reviews. If you seriously feel the book deserves 1-star, then give it a 1-star. All I ask is that you be polite in what you write.
Le me reiterate, if you are a reader post a review. I don’t care if you write books, scoop ice cream, or eat bon bons on your couch. If you read the book, you deserve the right to write an honest review about my book. You can feel confident that I will respect your opinions and use them to make my future work better. Maybe, you will try another book I write and find that it is more to your liking.