Sunday, May 18, 2014

To critique, or not to critique? That is the question.

I recently read an interesting conversation that was floating around on a Facebook group I am a member of.  The question asked was…

Do you write negative book reviews?  Do you give a book a bad review?

As writers we are in an interesting spot. We understand the blood, sweat, and tears that are put into a novel. We also understand how readers are bias depending on their own taste and experiences. Because of this I think we all hesitate to write something negative about someone else’s art. 

Several members who participated in this discussion mentioned that they never write a negative review. Most of those said they did not review books they didn’t like.

Others who do write negative reviews, (I found this interesting), said that a negative review gives validity to a book's reviews. They are more likely to read a book with a few bad reviews than one with only positive things to say. This shows the reader that people are reading the book, not just family and friends. fascinating!

As I thought about this, I found it true for myself. When I look at reviews and only see positive five stars, I naturally think that the reviews must not be authentic. 

I do read the negative reviews first. Looking for things that stand out that are a turn off for me as a reader, but also to see if this book is one I would be interested in. I do find more out about the book by negative reviews than the positive because in my experience they seem to be a bit more specific. For this reason, a negative review doesn’t necessarily turn my interest away.

As for whether or not I leave reviews, I usually don’t. My reasoning is a bit different. Writing is what I do. I spend hours a day critiquing… picking apart my own work. Because of this, reading another’s novel is not the same experience I had years ago. Now, more often than not, I don’t get lost in a novel. I usually find myself thinking about their word choice or their character’s development... or a hundred other things. For this reason, I feel that I am not the best person to write a review. I am not the average reader, and definitely not a non-bias one. So, I am not sure if what I may write is really applicable.

Though, there are many times when I do read something and think, Holy Moly this is amazing! Then, I review away.

These are my thoughts. As I have said many times on this blog, it is just my way of thinking, not right or wrong, just mine.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Are you a reviewer?


  1. More often than not, I will buy a book on the suggestion of friends. I seldom read reviews, although I know it is important to an author to have them in order to spur people to buy. When I go to Amazon and look for the title, I'll scroll down and look for any reviews. If the book has been out for a while and there are none, then I'll get suspicious. I have written reviews, but I choose which ones I will do because I will not leave a negative one. I suppose other people may be doing the same thing.

    I still get lost in a good story.

  2. I do review books. Both positive and negative. Knowing that not all book appeal to all people, I share both what I disliked and what I liked. As a writer, I probably shouldn't, but I wish there were a way to know that things I want to avoid (profanity, explicit sex/violence, LGB stuff), so I try to share that as well as whether I liked the story line and where it went.