"Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate."
- Quoted from somewhere on the Internets
I found that quote the other day while working on this post and I thought it fit nicely with the point I'm trying to make. If you've followed my blog for a while, or even if you're just checking it out for the first time, you may have noticed most books I review garner 3 or 4 stars from me. Now, some might say that's not an accurate way to run an unbiased blog. But I don't agree with that. So here are four reason why I don't write negative reviews.
1. My blog is more about sharing what I thought was good, rather than reviewing every book I read. My personal goal as a blogger is to give exposure to books and authors I deem worthy. I read between 80-100 books every year. I don't have time to review each and every single one, so the ones I like get priority. However, the ones not featured on Book Nerd Paradise I do rate accordingly on Goodreads and write a sentence or two about why I didn't like it on Amazon so other people who have the same issues can be aware.
If I join a blog tour and find that I don't like the book I've signed up for, I politely explain to the tour hosts why I didn't like it and that I would prefer not to write a review. I'm not going to like every single book I ever pick out.
I do tend to hold out on the coveted 5-star review though. I have a total of three in the last two years, two of those are of the same series. So I don't just give out 5 stars all willy nilly, it's very hard to earn one of those from me.
2. They tend to be rant-y. I was one of the very few people who really disliked The Sin Eater's Daughter. I mean, I downright HATED it and was pissed I spent my hard earned money on it. So, I planned on writing a one-star review. Only, when I started putting points together in my head I seemed to go off on a rant. One of those rants where it's really just some swearing, whining and griping. But, I'm not here to rant about how much I hated something, that's what my Facebook is for.
3. Most times, negative reviews are based on personal preferences. I can respect a negative review that's based on shoddy writing. I can respect a negative review based on bad editing or plot development. What I can NOT respect is a negative review based on personal bias of the subject matter.
As an example: There is a certain person on Goodreads (who shall remain nameless) who has written 676 reviews and rated 1774 book, with an average rating of 2.80 in less than five years. (The absurdity of that number is a topic for another time) A common theme with these very harsh negative reviews tends to be a hatred towards insta-love and love triangles. And you know what? That's perfectly fine. I hate those too and we each have our own likes and dislikes.
But here's the thing. Almost every time, you can tell those things from the blurb or other reviewers. If you don't like a love triangle don't pick a book that clearly states there's a love triangle. You would think this is common sense, but people always seem to overlook it and then get pissed and write a negative review about it later. That's like picking up a contemporary romance and being mad there were no vampires in it.
That's not the author's fault. That's your own fault for being an illiterate moron, and a negative review is undeserved. Pick books you are confident that you will like. If you read the summary and other reviews, you'll get pretty good at find ones you're likely to enjoy.
4. That's someone's baby I've just insulted. Let's be honest, not all babies are cute. But, do you go tell the mother that their baby has a funny shaped head or their ears stick out like an elf? I should hope you wouldn't.
Authors put countless hours into writing, editing, scraping, rewriting and so forth. Who am I to tear down all that hard work just because we don't see eye to eye on something. Especially if it's based on the personal preference stated above. Just because I don't enjoy love triangles doesn't mean no one else does. It's not really fair of me to write a negative review on that.
I was a reporter for a long time so I know what it's like to take criticism, both deserved and undeserved. I once had someone call and rage at me because she felt she looked bad in a photo I took of her. It's not my fault you have body issues. My job is to accurate portray the story and that's what I did. It's the same with authors. They're trying to write their story how they think is best. They aren't trying to please everyone and their mothers. As writers, we get attached to our work and we don't take it lightly when someone tries to pee on it. Especially if that person doesn't know what it's like to be a writer.
In conclusion, I'm not saying no one should write a 1- or 2-star review. In fact, I value those reviews that warn me if the writing isn't very strong or it's riddled with grammar mistakes. But I do think they should be constructive reviews. Tell me what problems you had with the book and why. If you didn't like the main character, tell me why.
All of that being said, Book Nerd Paradise will always be a place you can come for recommendations. I tend to read more indie author's than anything else and I'll tell you who I think is worthy of your time and why.