Before becoming a part of any online community of writers and readers like myself, I have never felt pressured about writing reviews. I don’t think I’ve left comments that bash an author or their work. I don’t believe in that but similar to having an opinion on a movie, us readers have opinions on books. The general public needs to understand that one person’s opinion does not affect the success or failure of a person’s book. Not every book will be loved or perceived as a great piece of writing by every reader. And we should have these discussions.
There are books that I loved and other readers didn’t, and I didn’t feel entitled to pressure them into liking it. I didn’t give them a long list of reasons why I liked the book and why I think they should like the book. Nothing in life works like that. Similarly, I’ve come across a lot of books that I couldn’t get past page one and these books have tons and tons of five star reviews. Bear in mind that readers come in all different age groups, cultures, preferences etc. What works for you won’t work for them.
Then why am I feeling so pressured when it’s time to leave a negative review? Not even negative but like a four star. I feel like if I’m not fangirling as hard as other people, they tend to get on your review and bash the crap out of you. Basically, you are bullied for not having the same opinion as the masses. Hmmm, why does that sound familiar? Look, Goodreads ain’t Facebook and it shouldn’t be a breeding ground of hatred. Writing is an art form, an expression of an author. It can be interpreted in many different ways by many different minds. A reviewer should not feel the need to censor themselves or falsify their reviews to please the majority. No. Instead, take these kinds of reviews as analytical feedback.
I don’t know about you but even if I read a few bad reviews and the book sounds interesting to me, I’ll still give it a chance. As a writer and a book blogger, I feel like I often need to censor my opinion on a piece of writing in fear of being shunned or bullied in online groups. I think it’s unfair. Criticism should be taken in two forms: With a grain of salt, or for improvement. That’s just my two cents here.
Disclaimer: This post is in no way defending book reviewers who leave fake 1 star reviews or spread hatred towards any author.
A reader should be free to express their thoughts and feelings about a book, whether it be in favor or not. One should not be attacked for having a different take on things. Like I said, one bad review doesn’t make or break a book. Good writing or bad writing does. And it will show eventually. JK Rowling was rejected by publishers. Until this day, there are people who don’t like the HP books. I recently heard someone say Chronicles of Narnia was boring, and that they almost walked out of the movie. There is no greater place for my imagination as Narnia. So you get my drift?
I’ll leave the post off from here, because I do want to discuss good writing vs storytelling but that’ll need its own post. Also, in relation to this post, I will be discussing Goodreads as a platform for readers and writers alike.
Thanks for reading, and hope you guys an a fantastic Friday and awesome weekend ahead. For my fellow bloggers, how do you deal with leaving negative reviews? Have you ever been bullied?