Thoughts on Negative Reviews

Posted February 3, 2017 by Emily in Uncategorized / 9 Comments

I was sitting at dinner with my parents a few days ago and my sister asked me, “You post a lot about books you love and sometimes books that are only OK, do you ever really hate a book?” and I thought about it. Of course, I hate a book sometimes. I try really hard to stop reading and mark books I hate DNF. I tell myself I don’t have time to read things I don’t like.

This is always a struggle for me though. An author took the time and put the tears and effort into a book. Shouldn’t I at least finish it? I know DNF reviews bother a lot of authors because they feel like if the reader just could get to the end, they would end up liking the book. I’m constantly at war with myself over books that I don’t like. Especially if I feel like I should like it.

DNF or Not?

I really struggled with this in September. Suddenly, I had a lot of long anticipated sequels in my hands and I devoured them. I read them one after the other and they were all…. Disappointing. This was a real blow for me and it sent me into a blogging/reading slump spiral that I’m still trying to escape from. 3 sequels that I couldn’t have been more excited about and all three of them didn’t live up to the first book. I walked away wondering if I would even finish any of these series.

So why didn’t those reviews hit the blog? It happens to everyone. It’s a known thing in the book world. Sometimes books are disappointing! Personally though, I just don’t post much about books I don’t like. Negative reviews are even easier for me to write than positive ones because there’s usually specific things that cause me to put the book down. I just can’t bring myself to focus on negativity for any longer than I have to. Yes, I didn’t like the book. Yes, I did not like it so much I didn’t finish it. For me that’s enough. I blog for fun and I don’t really enjoy writing posts about books that I didn’t like. Just like I don’t have the desire to spend an ounce more energy on a book I didn’t like.

How did your first slump start?  Do you find you post more positive or negative reviews?

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9 responses to “Thoughts on Negative Reviews

  1. I definitely post negative reviews. It’s not that I enjoy writing them, but I also don’t hate writing them. Sometimes it feels good to get out my frustrations instead of just sitting there upset about it lol BUT I can totally relate on the slump thing. At the end of last year I was reading a lot of books that I ended up not liking or marking as DNF. It does take a toll. I haven’t read more than one book per month for a few months now and that totally sucks. UGH

    • Emily

      I think you hit the nail on the head. It was too many books that didn’t live up to my expectations at once that drove me right into a slump. I’m recovering from it now. I probably will post a negative review again, but they will never been the staple of my site.

  2. Great post. I feel the same way, there are just too many books out there to read to spend the time on ones that I’m not enjoying. I can usually do specific reasons for DNFs, but a lot of the time it is just because it cannot keep my attention. And since there may be other people out there that it would totally speak to, I don’t want to bash the book, it’s just not for me. After losing a friend just recently because she didn’t like my 3 star review of her self-published book, I’ve really even thought more about this whole issue. Although in her case, we were friends before she ever published a book, and the only reason I actually finished it was because I was her friend and wanted to help promote her books for her. Honestly, looking back at it, if it had been anyone else’s book, I probably would have DNFed the first one, and never read another one of her books. Might have been smart for our friendship. Oh well, like you, I want blogging to be fun and I want to keep enjoying it, so it’s another reason to not deal with all the negativity. Again, great post!

    Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature) recently posted: Blog Tour and Giveaway: Exit Signs by Patrice Locke
    • Emily

      Ohhh, that’s a hard one. I definitely have this fear. I recently chose to forgo a negative review and instead emailed the author. The author listened to my concerns and told me that it was my choice to publish the review. No hard feelings!

      I think if your friend couldn’t take the criticism, it’s really a problem for her as an author.

  3. This is so true!! I used to post negative reviews but it made me feel horrible. I only post positive reviews now, and I feel like my blog is so much better that way! I want to recommend books to people, not turn them away from something they might really enjoy!

    • Emily

      I feel exactly this way! I’m not sure I will never publish negative reviews again but for the most part I’d rather stick to positive ones.

  4. I love reading negative and DNF reviews, they’re usually really funny and/or interesting. I just want to see what made someone stop reading the book. Was the writing bad? Was it boring? Offensive? I want to knowwww.

  5. I write some really savage negative reviews but rarely post them. They are more to help me analyze why I do not like the books and apply that to my own work. Then I’ll just put up something mild in the way of a review (but I will say if I don’t care for a book). The one exception to this is something by a well-known author — I reckon they can take it and probably won’t read my review anyway!

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