Friday, May 27, 2011

21 comments:

Literaticat said...

Well - I agree, except for number 5.

Blame no-one but the author for the CONTENT of the book.

Do NOT blame the author for a) what the packaging looks like, b) where the book was printed, c) who is or isn't on the cover, d) some egregious thing the publisher did, e) some egregious thing the editor did, f) some egregious thing the author's agent did, g) where you can or cannot buy the book, h) that there were no arcs available, or you didn't get one...

or ACTUALLY BASICALLY ANYTHING ELSE to do with the production, packaging, distribution, marketing or publicity surrounding (or NOT surrounding) the book.

dothutchison said...

I think it's refreshing.

I love reading reviews written by people who clearly, openly didn't care for the book but can still speak quite fairly about what did and did not work (in their opinion). Gushing tends to me suspicious, like there's something so awful no one wants to say it. Seeing both sides- seeing people passionate about both sides- makes me far more interested in checking out a book than just seeing people type "omg so gud!" again and again.

And I think it's pretty amazeballs to find authors like you who embrace the well-written reviews whatever the slant.

hannah said...

Literaticat--such a good point that I'm editing to put it in.

ashelynn hetland said...

I try to be as nice as possible with negative reviews. I have this habit when I'm reading a book I don't like to bash the characters. That's just when I'm reading it, though, and try to keep my rage out of the reviews. I don't want to be bitten in the ass, though. ^__^

I think I'm going to link a good review to my negative reviews. I always say at the end of my negative reviews that it's my opinion, and if it sounds like whoever is reading the review's type of book, then go ahead and read it.

Now, if I attempt to read a book and can't finish it? I say so in my review. I say why I couldn't finish it. I try to review all books I read (sometimes I can't or don't.)

Great post. Made me think about my reviews.

lynleystace said...

I agree with you, Hannah.

I sometimes read reviews and wonder if reviewers know they're putting *themselves* out there simply by offering an opinion. Some readers seem to assume they know all about an author's life, personal issues and motivation for writing, yet any response to a book says as much about the reviewer as it says about the book's author.

Josin L. McQuein said...

I don't mind when people review books they didn't finish, so long as they explain why they stopped reading at the point they stopped, but I'll agree that you should never review a book you havent' read.

If you're reading a book that goes into WTF territory on page 212 and there was no indication that the content was going to be in the book, then you can write a sensible review to let people know there's something coming they didn't sign on for.

I detest bait and switch.

John The Bookworm said...

I agree with it, except for that first sentence of number 7. I think it's entirely okay to DNF a book and review it if you read a good portion of the book and can fundamentally point out why it was promising enough to read into but ultimately failed to make you want to finish it.

However, it's not okay to just read five pages and claim you can write a review on it. That's just stupid. A DNF should at least prove you had some reason to read on enough to identify fundamental problems in the text. Not so tiny that you barely saw the author's voice, let alone what shit was actually going on.

Of course, DNF reviews are personal and not everyone does them. Point being that commenting without reading/attempting to read isn't cool. Finishing the book, however, is a requirement that's not so cut and dry considering a negative review can come from the fact that the book was impossible for that person to finish.

Kate Larkindale said...

I don't review books very often, but I review films for a living, and the process is much the same. A review is one person's opinion, not the be all and end all. Everyone has different tastes and come to a piece of art with their own set of experiences and ideas. No two people can read a book or see a film the same way.

I have reviewers I trust because almost every time I read their thoughts on something, their opinions echo mine. I have reviewers I love to read solely because their opinions seem always to be diametrically opposed to mine.

Kat O'Keeffe said...

I like reading negative reviews. I think the main point of reviews is to help the book find its target audience, and both positive and negative reviews do just that. Not every book is for every person. If someone is going to get bothered by swearing in a book (for example) then that's okay. The book isn't for those people. But there are plenty of people who the book is for.

Sometimes negative reviews have turned me onto books because I decided if what the reviewer said was really the worst parts of the book, then I could handle it.

Besides, nothing gets people on the internet going like a differing opinion. People love having opinions, they love being right, and they love arguing on the internet. If you warn me against a book, I'm so much more likely to pick it up and give it try, just so we can bond over our agreement or I can call you an idiot. But either way, I pick up the book and decide for myself.

Becca C. said...

I REALLY like reading negative reviews, I do it all the time. It's one of my favourite pastimes... is that really morbid and weird of me? Probably. I think it helps me write. I try to check out what people think are the flaws of popular books in my genre and see what I can do to counteract those flaws in my own writing. Plus, when you're in a certain mood, there's nothing more fun to read than a really nitpicky, overly critical review of a book you dislike :P

Rachel Stark said...

Hannah, this is interesting to read as someone who comes from an editor and critiquer's background primarily, as opposed to a book reviewer's. Some vital things differ in the two parts; I'm so used to suggesting fixes (offering constructive criticism, as it were), that it would just come naturally to me. Why you wouldn't want to see it in a review makes sense -- I just never would have thought of it.

Thanks for posting!

Ramsey Hootman said...

Definitely agree with point #8, although I never thought about it that way until I read your post! Couple weeks ago I spent several days being EXTREMELY PISSED OFF at a really scathing, seriously ad hominem review a semi-famous author wrote about a book written by a friend of mine. It was published through a small indie press, and this jerk who has something personal against my friend and a cult following basically just demolished any sales she might have had in one stroke.

So yeah. Not cool. :)

The Empress said...

You're right...it's already out there, done, published...so write to the people.

Phoebe said...

Yaaaaay reviews.

Except the "Dear Author" review blog does #1, and it's one of my absolute fave review blogs, and you should read it if you don't because I think you'd dig. It's like the pinnacle of thoughtfulness.

hannah said...

Cool, I'll check it out.

Paul Anthony Shortt said...

Awesome post, Hannah! I don't do much in the way of reviewing because I'm never quite sure if I'm making a good point or not.

I love reading negative reviews too. I know that if what a negative reviewer didn't like won't bother me, then I'll probably enjoy the book or movie.

I'm still waiting to see a bad review of The Dark Knight, mostly to see if anyone else agrees with me.

Girlinbetween said...

I have a different blog specifically for my book reviews where I am more professional about reviewing books! Unlike my own personal blog where I drop an F bomb every paragraph and whine about the sky being blue :p

I think these are all really interesting points and has given me a lot of food for thought!

ComaCalm said...

I agree with this. My policy is that if I haven't finished a book, I don't review it. I can't give a fair rating to a book when I haven't read it! I usually rate covers, purely because I love covers but that never affects my book rating, that's a separate thing.

Cozy in Texas said...

Great post.
Ann

Risky said...

That is a great post and I agree with everything 100% :)

Kailia Sage said...

Really great and helpful post. I have read reviews where editors have been blamed for a problem and I just don't get that.