Friday, January 9, 2015

A Word of Caution to Those Who Write Negative Reviews

Brevity by Dan Thompson

I'm probably breaking a sacred writers' code by telling the world this, but I'm going to breach my bonds anyway and try to reach out to those who write unkind reviews.

As a rule, most writers won't engage, or fire back when they get a nasty review, because we know that doing so typically only feeds the fire, BUT if you don't think that we don't talk about the your reviews (and laugh at them) privately, you're sadly mistaken.

I don't read my fellow writer friends reviews, but I know that my friends read mine because when I get a nasty review they respond. Each time, I'll get a number of private emails saying, yeah, saw the review--what a *. (Most of my writer friends have a more colorful vocabulary than me.)

I love Nora Roberts response to negative reviews. You can read that here BITE ME. I love how she said, if you don't want to go the party, don't go. If you don't like the party, leave.

I once heard Debbie Macomber read a review that said, "I hate all of your books. I've read every single one and I hate them all." Debbie has more than a 100 published novels. (She's an amazing public speaker.)

Stephen King once said that his childhood babysitter that used to sit on his face and fart was the preparation he needed for literary reviews.

So, while I'm not discouraging anyone from speaking their mind and sharing their opinion, remember what my uncle used to say. Opinions are like noses. Everyone has them and they're often covered with zits and full of boogers. 

Go ahead and poke your nose out and send your review into the world, but don't cry when it gets tweaked. Writers are people, too, and aren't above slapping a few noses. Chances are, the author you slam won't retaliate publicly, but I guarantee that author and probably a few of her friends will be taking your name in vain and calling you a *. And if you're okay with that, carry on, climb on your literary high horse, and spread your negativity. May God go with you, but, oh wait, He probably won't because He said do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

But, of course, that's just my opinion. I really have no idea what God would do, but I'm pretty sure that if you're passing out nasty reviews, that you don't know either.


  1. When you refer to negative reviews, are you speaking about reviews which actually criticize the book? Because to suggest that people shouldn't write and post reviews that criticize a book for legitimate reasons is insane. As an avid reader, if I'm trying to decide whether to try a book, especially by a new author, I look at reviews. And if all I see is review after review praising the book with fulsome language and nary a criticism, nine times out of ten, I stay away from it because I don't trust the reviews.

    For authors to expect only positive reviews does a disservice to both their readers and themselves. Reviews that provide proper criticism (and consist more of 'I hate all your books') are just as useful to both the reader and the author as positive ones.

  2. I agree with you, actually. I was talking about the "and your mother is a hamster" sort of reviews. Not all of my reviews are glowing, BUT I readily admit that not everyone shares my tastes and preferences. For example, I didn't like the movies Titanic or Avatar. I know that most of the world would disagree with me. I think Monty Python is hilarious--a lot of people don't. It's okay to be honest--it's not okay to be mean.

    Here's a couple of my reviews, just to prove my point.