It’s always been my policy that the only correct response to give any reviewer of my books is a polite thank you, whether the review is good or bad. I still maintain that’s the only acceptable response to a review of my books. HOWEVER, and this is where I am speaking from today, as a reader, I have some very real issues with many of the reviews I’m reading on blog sites, Amazon sites, and Goodreads… which once WAS good-reads, and is now another corner stop for trashing authors with impunity.
My complaint or in some cases my bitch with amateur reviews is a complex yet simple thing. Firstly, let’s address those pesky snarks about grammar and typos. Well yes, everybody makes typing mistakes, and sometimes the proofreaders for publishing houses DO miss the occasional typo. This is a helluva lot different than self-published books, which sometimes have many uncorrected and obvious spelling errors because the author didn’t employ a proofreader. What I’ve noticed and this is what annoys the crap out of me honestly, is the vast number of reviewers who think it’s their job not to review and assess the story they’ve read, but the editorial decisions made about it. AND while they’re complaining about bad grammar and spelling errors, they reveal their own lack of skill in constructing a grammatically correct and properly spelled sentence. So, before you continue to demerit stars in your rating for what you consider poor grammar, look at your own. It’s difficult to take seriously a review in which the reviewer can’t use a contraction, doesn’t understand the different between your and you’re, or they’re and there/their. Ask any author how annoying that shit is?
Then there’s the reviewer who down-rates your book because it’s not what she/he expected. I’ve seen opening remarks that are laughable–I picked up this book expecting it to be ______________ (fill in the genre) and I was so disappointed to discover it was ________________(fill in the blank). Then the next comment is, so I’m giving it X-stars because it wasn’t what I wanted. And this is the author’s fault why? YOU didn’t read the blurb, or the back cover, so the author is at fault for your disappointment? I even had one reviewer rewrite my blurb to what she thought it should have been, and trust me, it made very little sense given what the book was about.
Just recently one of my books that has consistently been given 5 stars was reviewed by a blogger who was totally contradictory in her remarks–it should have been 50 pages longer at one point, and two sentences later it should have been cut several dozen pages, or at least cut out the number of sex scenes. Let me point out now that this title is an Ellora’s Cave Quickie™ title. Soooo…. What part of Quickie needs explaining? By definition a “quickie” is a highly erotic, explosive encounter that happens quickly–hence the name. Ellora’s Cave has defined the line, and sex is expected to happen fast and intense. IF you don’t want to read content that is highly sexual, why have you chosen a Quickie to review? You are already predisposed to dislike the book, no matter how it’s setup or executed by the author. How fair are you going to be to this author and his/her book? If erotic content offends you in any way, choose books more suited to your taste if you expect to be taken seriously by readers, and authors.
How many authors have been subjected to the endless rant review? Where one point in a novel length story touches a nerve and it becomes all the “reviewer” (yes we are now using quotes for this one), sees and talks about–nothing else exists once you hit this nerve and it makes the reviewer crazy because of their highly personal response to it. A professional reviewer would decline to review, but in some bloggers this is a call to battle and they begin… reams and reams of emotionally charged verbal carnage that doesn’t even make sense, never mind read in a coherent, grammatically correct fashion. Then they solicit their friends to jump in and add their venom to the mix. How seriously is this shit supposed to be taken? Really? I’ve seen it, and it stuns me.
Reviews are supposed to be balanced and thoughtful observations that help potential readers choose books that will suit their tastes and appeal to them. How can ranting insanity help anyone decide more than the reviewer has clearly gone batshit crazy? Goodreads was once a good place to get balanced reviews, now it’s Amazon’s little sister in the poison war… Get your nose out of joint and you can login and start rating an author’s works with one star, without ever reading a word–to pay them back for some real or imagined slight. How valid is that? It has nothing to do with books, and everything to do with petty and malicious bitch trolling.
At the end of the day, the fact remains, over half the people reviewing books have no clue how to do it properly and with any kind of constructive observation to help readers choose whether or not to read the book in question. Many use their reviews as a way to be mean, self-important, and just plain shit-ignorant. If you want balanced and thoughtful reviews to help you decide on a new author or title, your best bet is still to visit wonderful and respected sites like these:
That’s only a few I use and trust, there are many other well-respected sites, so take the time to find them. And all you amateur reviewers, take a moment and think before you put your poison pen to the page… if you can’t be fair, maybe you need to ask yourself why you’re going to trash someone you don’t even know. And while you’re thinking on that, remember if you’re going to crap all over someone for incorrect grammar and spelling, make damn sure you check your own.
Now that I’ve made myself really popular, the floor is open for comments… fire away, but remember–spelling and good grammar counts!! *lol*
Peace and love to all…