Saturday, January 3, 2015

Randomly Random--It's okay to NOT love a book. It's okay to REVIEW it too!

Mmhm. That's right. I said it.
It's okay to NOT love a book.
And it's damn sure okay to review that sucker too!

I know.
But apparently someone had to say it.
So there are a couple things that brought this on. 
I popped them down below  with my opinion on them.
I might ruffle some feathers but, you know, I'm okay with that. 
As a romance community I think that's needed sometimes. 

Why would you review a book you didn't like on the blog?
Why would you waste your time doing something like that? 
I've been asked this multiple times (by other bloggers who emailed or messaged me randomly) 

I...don't think it is a waste of time? 
Really. How is this a waste of time? I want my followers to know what I think about books.
That includes ALL of the books.
Not just the pretty ones.

To me it's important to show what DOESN'T work for me just as much as what DOES work for me when it comes to books.

Otherwise it just looks like I'm madly in love with every book I read and that's just not realistic, doesn't give a good idea of my standards in rating and to me comes off less trustworthy and more Woohoo! I'm on a street team and doing my best to PIMP ALL THE BOOKS! I tend to gravitate towards blogs/readers who share a multitude of opinions and aren't all 5stars all the time.

 I want readers to come here and know my opinions good or bad and how they sync up with their own opinions. So...DNF, 1 star, 2 star and 3 star reviews happen here too.

It's a blogger's job to promote authors. 
We should be honored authors share their stories with us and if we've got nothing good to say we should keep our fucking mouths shut.  
(yeah I read that in a FB thread after an author complained about a negative review. It was a blogger/reader type that posted it and others threw in the same sentiment)

The fuck! No it sure the hell isn't.
As a blogger my job is NOT to promote authors.
If that was my job...I'd be rocking the title of publicist and getting a paycheck with the blog's name on it and I sure as hell am not getting one.

My job is to express my opinion in an honest and respectful way.
That doesn't change if the book is a 5 stars read, a middle of the road 3 star, a 1 star or even a DNF.
My "job" is to put my opinions out regardless of how the book turned out and help present a well rounded view of the book in question.

I'm here to help other readers find new reads (or avoid others if the case may be)
I am NOT here to sell books for authors. 
If a sale happens because of a review that's awesome. 
But it's not my job to make that happen and it is not my focus when reviewing.

Another book with ONLY 4 and 5 star ratings landed in my hands and it was...terrible. 
So I mentioned it to a number of people. And got the response of "Oh that book was awful! But I don't leave reviews for anything under 3 (or 4) stars. 

That was helpful for me. Sorry guys. But that just annoys the tar out of me.
My reading time and book funds are limited like most people.
It's not helpful for me to JUST hear from the people who are all fan girl I LOVED IT!!!!
It makes me start to feel a bit bitter, jaded and I lose trust in book ratings when I pick up book after book that has AMAZING reviews/ratings and it's utter crap. 
Poor editing, undeveloped storyline or characters, etc. 

And really that doesn't help the author with their craft either.
If you're ONLY hearing from people who say you're amazing...but there are really things that could be improved on but no one ever tells is that a good thing? Just like any job--and writing is a job/career-- you get critiqued/judged and learn and improve on what you do over time. It's life. Just because it's a creative field doesn't change that.

"Just because I didn't like it doesn't mean someone else won't love it so I won't leave a negative review."
(I've read this/been told this as a reason by many)

And... it makes no sense. Then as a reader/blogger you shouldn't be leaving positive reviews either. Because really just because YOU loved it doesn't mean someone else won't hate it. Right?

Reviews just by their nature are subjective. Put your honest opinion out there--no matter what it is--and others can take a collective look at the opinions on whatever it is and decide if it's something for them...or not. 

Alright so what does this all mean?!

For me...
I'm encouraging everyone to write reviews--good or bad--when they can.
They're important for both the reader AND the author to see. And I'm refusing to feel bad when I do have to write one. Not everything is going to work for me. And that's okay. 
For Readers....
Go out and just write reviews. Good or bad. 
Now this doesn't mean go out and write a review that's all... 
No. Don't do that. 
That would just makes you an asshole and is so NOT what I mean by saying go forth and review books that didn't work for you.  But you shouldn't feel bad about leaving well thought out negative reviews (just like when you do a positive one). Explain what worked, what didn't work, what could have been changed to make it work for you,  etc.  
I know it sucks writing a bad review. No one wants to basically tell someone else that what they've worked on for so long just didn't work. But you know. It's a needed thing sometimes. For both the author AND the reader. 
And for the authors reading this...
Yall I know it SUCKS to get a bad review. But they aren't an awful thing. Hell. I've bought a number of books BECAUSE of a negative review. Just because something didn't work for someone might be something I LOVE in a book. So don't freak out when you get one. They can be a good thing. 
And on a creative front they're an important thing as well. If you're only ever hearing from the people singing your praises and telling you you're writing is perfect where does that leave you growth wise? Constructive criticism is a good thing. Even if it stings. I open the blog up every handful of months for people to submit things they're liking or not liking and yeah it hurts to hear the things I'm doing that people don't like. Sometimes it's stuff I didn't realize I was doing and can then fix. Other times it's stuff that I like, that works for most and I won't be changing. But that's a needed thing to continue to grow and improve in your craft (whatever the craft is). Even if it takes you back a moment and stings a little.

Anyways. I guess I'll I'm saying is reviews are there for a reason. It doesn't matter what the product is--a book, a cd, a restaurant, a fan or a cat dish. It's a product people spend their hard earned money on and reviews are important in helping others know the strengths and weaknesses of that item. Don't be afraid to voice that opinion even if it's not a glowing review.

So what say you?
You've heard my opinions on the subject...feel free to leave yours in the comments.

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