Lions, Tigers, Reviews! OH MY!

I typically leave the McRanty posts to my girls Lou and Has for two reasons. One – I think they are both a lot more eloquent at telling us why they are upset (and really… they are both just better than I am at calling people idiots.) Two – I don’t like confrontation. I’m very laid back, go with the flow, please don’t rock my f-ing boat! But today I saw something that makes me so angry, I knew I had to speak up.

There has been a TON of Internet buzz lately about book reviews. Ilona Andrews, Jeaniene Frost, Shiloh Walker, and so many other great authors have all written blog posts about it. And you know what, they all say pretty much the same thing. As an author, you just have to kinda take a review about your book and let it roll off your back, regardless of what it says. That is, in my opinion, the best advice an author can give or get.

As a book reviewer, I like to share my thoughts on different books I’ve read because I love interacting with my fellow book lovers. Some of the best friends I have, both online and in my every day life are fellow book lovers that I’ve met on Twitter, author forums, or through my/their book blogs. The book blogging community is huge, and we all love to sit around and talk about the books we’ve read. I don’t get paid to do this. I have a full time job I go to every day, and the reading and reviewing is something that I do because I love it. Most of the other reviewers out there are in it for the same reasons.

As a review reader, I respect the bloggers that are honest. Do I always agree with them? Hell No! Would I write the same review as they did, even if we both thought the same thing? Of course not! Reading a book is a very personal experience. I might love a romance book because the hero and heroine are long time friends that have gone from friendly competition to true love. Someone might hate that exact same book because they were once in love with their best friend who ended up with another. Either way, as a reader we form our own views and opinions. It’s personal. As a reader, you may or may not agree with my opinion, but it doesn’t change the fact that the opinion is mine and is real to me.

That being said, Rowena from The Book Binge wrote what I thought was a very good review about a book she didn’t like. She gave a synopsis of the book (which from what I read, wouldn’t be something I would have even considered reading), and then said why she didn’t like it, and even gave quotes from the book to back herself up. She had a personal experience with that particular book, and unfortunately it wasn’t a good one. But was she professional and honest about her thoughts? Yes.

The author then responded with what I thought to be a rude and spiteful follow up on her own blog titled “Authors helping authors” in which she called Rowena and one other review site unprofessional and unqualified to review her book. The backlash from the blogging community has been huge, and I can only hope that the authors who do visit that site for advice, take this particular post with a grain of salt, because it is THE WORST way to go about responding to a review.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, now everyone is throwing in their own two cents in the comments. Many of which I agree with, authors like Shiloh Walker, Lauren Dane and Julie James have come forth to give their opinions. Likewise fellow bloggers have come forth to stand behind the reviewers for their honest opinions. However, there are the few people still commenting about how this author should be praised and commended on a job well done. I just want to remind everyone out there: book bloggers and reviewers are your customers. Sure, sometimes you give us your books for free, but we also buy more books than the average Joe. Don’t insult our intelligence, it’s guaranteed we won’t continue to support you after that.

I can only hope that this author learns from her mistake, and that any authors who read her blog don’t take this one to heart. To my fellow reviewers out there: please do not deviate from what you’ve been doing. I would much rather read your honest review and form my own opinion, than buy a book based on bull shit.

15 thoughts on “Lions, Tigers, Reviews! OH MY!”

  1. I’m so glad you wrote this MinnChica. I just want to add that we can make up our own minds – if a review is written that is personal and insulting the author, then there will be a backlash, and the reviewer should expect that because for me that is crossing the line.

    But reviewing is subjective for the reader and most readers write what works and what doesn’t for them and its about the book and not THE author. That’s reviewing. I know negative reviews can hurt the author but I think most authors know they can’t win all readers/reviewers with a book but if one reader dislikes a book there is definitely one who will love it!

    Another thing that I am getting tired about is the fact is the recent comments/views about who should do the reviewing and for me that is stifling speech. We shouldn’t dictate who can and who can’t review books, and that includes reviewers who are also authors/agents/people linked with publishers. If a review of theirs creates a backlash or a negative response because of a bad review then like any good reviewer if they can back up their argument eloquently or even if its snarkily (not the personal kind) and with good reason then I don’t have an issue. I have an issue on who should review and how its done. I really feel like this is trying to control reviewers and readers and if a book is reviewed negatively it doesn’t mean its going to put off other people from buying the book.

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  3. Reviews exist for readers, not authors. A review is not a grade, although it feels like one. Going on about how hurt you are by it in public is detrimental to the authorial brand and it makes you look weak. It’s ill advised. Honestly, the best authorial policy is to avoid reviews whenever possible.

    That said, any review is better than no review. Any review, no matter how negative, contributes to the promotion of the book and the name recognition. I’ve seen negative reviews generate more sales than positive ones, because people were intrigued and wanted to judge the product for themselves.

    PS. As an aside, I never had an issue with content at Book Binge.

  4. Great post 🙂

    Oh that horrible post made me roll my eyes, but it sure made me sad too. I do this for fun, I get no money from it, I spend a lot of time reading when I should do other things, and then an author goes and calls us things.

    But at least there is some sanity left in the world

  5. This sort of train wreck seems to come up often. You’d think young writers would have seen some of the more famous kerfluffles on Amazon and have learned how to respond, or more likely NOT to respond.

    As a person who reads a great deal {I do not write reviews but I do chat about books I like and sometimes don’t like} I find I mostly find new authors by hanging with bloggers and generic {and the real} bookpusher types. To insult this very market is unproductive at best.

    I find when I’m looking for material, I’ll ask bookpusher types I know, go to amazon and Goodreads and look at reviews. Every book will have gushing 5 stars-omg-best-book-ever! and Worst-book-ever-written-don’t-spend-your$$$. A reader is generally smart enough to throw those out and look at running trends or common statements good and bad. No one review will make or break a book but an Author going off the deep end most certainly will.

  6. Minn, you just said it all and more. 🙂

    I can understand why authors get hurt or mad in regards to critical reviews of their books. I do. But as many authors have said, do so in private.

    And I don’t know how many times this has to be repeated over and over and over and over and over and over (you get my drift) that reviews are written for readers, not for the author asking for the review.

    I don’t get the reasoning from Bob Mayer in that blogpost. If you’re a reviewer, you’re somehow not a reader. Huh? Okeeeey dokey. I won’t even try to pretend and understand that.

    What this author will now understand is that by writing that very silly blogpost, she’s the one that’s going to suffer the most. The reviewers in question (Book Binge is teh awesome!) are not going to suffer any potential lost sales. Book bloggers and reviewers are not selling a product. The author is.

  7. Well said, Minn. I tried to comment over there but in the end all I could say either boiled down to, “Hey, wait a second, that review did everything you said it didn’t! It offered excerpts from the text to back its statements up objectively and it emphasized that this was only one person’s experience!” or to “LOL, trainwreck.” So I didn’t say anything.

    It’s a little weird for me because I see people saying bad things about Sylvia and I get sad for a second. Then I remember there’s more than one Sylvia out there. Lather, rinse, repeat. 😛

    Also, did you see Ms. Massara’s follow up comment where she states that she’s only dissing UNPROFESSIONAL reviews, anyone who disagrees with her CLEARLY didn’t read her post, people who leave CONSTRUCTIVE comments are appreciated by some vague community of authors (she’s speaking for all authors, perhaps? She should have paid attention to the commenters stating they are authors) and abuses the CAPS LOCK key in ways my poor eyes should not have to endure.

  8. She deleted the capslock fit but um theres google cache and print screen….

    But I think the damage has been done already a few bloggers/authors noticed this and don’t think it will be forgotten anytime soon and frankly the original blog post is the main cause anyway.

  9. Why is it so hard to say; “Oops! My bad, I responded poorly when my feeling got hurt.” She just makes it worse and worse.

  10. @Has Yeah, I wish I’d grabbed a screen cap when I had it up but I know it’s out floating around the blogosphere.

    @Vinity She posted her rant today some three months after she first saw the review in November. I think this has been festering in her for a while.

  11. @Vinity totally agree 😛 But her response has been the opposite and I think she’s enjoying the publicity. Bet she’s getting more attention and reaction than a few reviews have had – bad or good.

    @Sylvia Sybil I haz it – hee But that is not good if this over 6 months ago – wow

  12. I’m sorry I missed the original post. Might have to look later tonight and see if I can find it in cached areas.

    Sounds like she had a meltdown of Anne Rice proportions.

  13. I posted and cross linked MinnChica’s post at Book Lovers Inc. The link has transcript of her original post and the first 100 comments that include her mini Capslocksfesto. There is also another example of another author gone mad. 😛

  14. Well said Minn!
    I’m insulted on behalf of all the ‘unprofessional reviewers’ out there. I enjoy reading blogs by people who obviously enjoy their books and want to share their views on what they’ve read with friends and fellow book lovers. I don’t have to agree with what they’ve got out of the book as lets face its all personal opinion anyway; just because one person slated a book I wouldn’t automatically think I won’t read that then, more often than not I’d read the blurb and find other reviews on said book if I’m not sure.
    This author just went overboard and is I’m fairly sure going to come to regret it with all the backlash surrounding it

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