Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Breakfast with the Bookie: How Not to Write Bad Reviews

Breakfast with the Bookie is a semi-weekly feature here @ Badass Bookie which is making a reappearance in 2012. Every other Wednesday morning, let's all grab our teas and coffees to gather and discuss and share our opinions! Everyone is welcome to join and make sure you leave a comment to state your opinion. Don't be shy!

This Week's Topic - How Not to Write Bad Reviews 

 It's been an age since I've done a Breakfast with the Bookie post and I think it's high time that I got back into routine! This week's topic is kinda of inspired by two things. 1) My own discomfort when it comes to writing a review for a book I didn't like and 2) Controversies revolving around negative reviews. Everyone remember "The Selection" Drama right? That whole episode was a little uncalled for because firstly, the review that started the whole shebang was fair.

What's the difference between a negative review and a bad review?

Well my grasshoppers, a NEGATIVE review gives honest opinions, even if that means criticism but also talks about things they did enjoy or at least talk about why they didn't enjoy the book.

A BAD review pretty much just slams the book. They're the ones that completely rip into the book or the author and pretty much just blabber about everything that went wrong but don't talk about why.

Bookie's Take - 

As book bloggers, many of us are given the awesome opportunity of getting review copies. Publishers send us books in exchange for an honest review. An HONEST review isn't a bad review. It's okay if you hated the book, seriously there are bound to be books that are just not your cup of tea but when you read one of those books the least you can do is write a solid review. Please don't "trash" an author or the book, don't discourage people to read. You don't like it? Fine, tell me why. THEN tell me if, is there any part your DID like?

What Shouldn't be Written -

1) "OMG worse book ever. The author clearly never went to school. This book is sooooo bad, characters were so fake. Don't read it, waste of time."

2) "Burn this crap. Waste of good paper. The only thing this book should be used for is toilet paper" 

What Should Be Written -

1) "To be honest, this wasn't my cup of tea. I didn't feel the plot because I felt it lacked action. However the writing was beautiful and the romance was very sweet."

2) "I couldn't really connect with the protagonist, the plot was a little bland and I honestly didn't feel for the romance. It wasn't what I thought it would be however I really liked ending."

Did I miss anything? Do you agree? How do you write negative reviews?

Badass Bookie xx


  1. I usually don't mind most reviews. I even enjoy a snarky review sometimes when I need someone to validate my low opinion of a book, ha.

    But earlier for the first time I saw a review that angered me! The person gave the book 1 star, said they only read 20% of it (I don't mind DNF reviews usually) and then ranted about how it contained x and x. But it didn't! If they'd read on like 30 pages they'd have realized that it wasn't like that at all. They just assumed it would be.

    It just made me sad that people might pass up the book because they think it contains x, even though it doesn't!

  2. So far, I've only written two negative reviews, and I felt really uncomfortable doing that both times. I pointed out the "flaws", but I also explained why that certain thing didn't work for me as a reader. I also made sure to offer positive aspects of the book too.

    If I can find links to people who reviewed the book positively, I'll usually post those links at the end of the post to show that while I didn't enjoy the book, there were others who did.

  3. This is exactly how I write my negative reviews; pointing out both the good and the bad. If it was all bad I wouldn't have finished reading it, and I don't review DNFs:)

  4. I totally agree. There is no need EVER to trash the book or the author, even if it's one that you absolutely hated. If I find a book that I can't find a single thing I liked about it, well, I generally won't review those. BUT, if I feel obligated (like if I'm part of a tour or got an ARC), I definitely will TRY to find something I liked. If I can't, I back up my feelings with solid evidence of what didn't work for me. And I try to encourage readers to give it their own opinion because they never know when a book that totally isn't right for me will click with someone else.

    And I never ever ever trash the author or the book. SO unnecessary. I don't even do that in private, so I wouldn't even consider doing it in public. The amount of time they put into the book is worth respect, even with a book we didn't like.

    Great post!

  5. This made me smile. I had to write a review for a book and give it 2.5 stars--my most negative review to date. I explained the many problems I had with it and the contradictions within the story, as well as the potential of certain aspects of the story, but did point out the bits and pieces that I liked. I summed it all up with the fact that while I want to retire it to my book shelf and take a break from the author, I wouldn't mind picking the book up on a rainy day because it's more of a rainy day read than anything else. (:

  6. Oh how I hate writing negative reviews! Of course I always try to keep it "friendly" and explain why this or that didn't work for me, but still ... with the latest 2 star review I wrote the publisher actually thanked me for my honesty, so obviously I hit the perfect tone to express my opinion. Book bashing on the other hand, oh well. sometimes I might think that a book just plain sucks, but I'd never write that, of course.

  7. Lisa, thank you so so SOOO much for sharing this.

    ESPECIALLY so when it comes to review copies we're given.
    Publishers are companies, not charities. They're not even doing favours. They're running a business. In business--and that's what bloggers enter into with publishers, a business relationship--professionalism is expected, and rightly so.

    A negative review, like you've described is PERFECT. I hate writing them, and the couple of occassions I've had to have been awful. I feel awful, nervous, stressed and worried, but you know what? I've bought books because of well written, intelligent, thoughtful negative reviews. Someone else likes their cup fo tea a little different from mine (hey, I have milk and honey in mine--most people do). So what? Honestly, I can't say I haven't giggled over the odd 'BAD' review on Goodreads... but they're unfair, and unprofessional, and I will NEVER write one.

  8. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I bought a book and then went to goodread and the top review was one that absolutely insulted the author, the book and anyone who had read the book and liked it.

    It was too far. I think you can dislike a book but you don't need to be so disrespectful and rude about it.

    Thanks for the post.

  9. I agree. Authors put time, energy, and heart into writing their books. Just because a book wasn't for me doesn't mean that others won't like it as well. I like to put positives in my my reviews, so people know what did work for me. If I can't say anything nice, then I shouldn't write a review in the first place; that's just rude and disrespectful.

  10. I really like this- I don't like that people would browbeat the authors ect. and I hate it when people really hate on the book! Great post!

  11. I might say "OMG worst book ever" but I always follow up with why I think it is. A good example is my review of New Girl. I disliked it intensely, but I went into why I disliked it, never attacked the author (in fact, I did like her writing style!) and tried to keep my snark to a minimum (dude, it's hard).

  12. Sometimes I just don't have anything nice to say about a book, but I would never personally attack the author. I might call the use of a particular literary technique idiotic, and then back it up with reasons for why it didn't work for me. I have no problems with any reviewer who wishes to use snark or sarcasm, as long as it's followed by good reasons for not liking something. Snark just for the sake of it is not cool. I also wouldn't discourage anyone from reading a book I didn't enjoy, but I might say something like "if you don't like x, then you probably won't like this book."