I Reviewed Your Book and Now You’re Upset by My Honesty

I didn’t want to write about this because I’ve clearly typed in my Review Policy and Rating System pages that my reviews have “no-sugar coating” (that was before, I edited it so that it’ll be more explicit now) and that I will be completely a.k.a. 100% honest in them while trying to be as objective as possible. However, from the reactions I’ve received from a number of authors lately, I’ve no choice but to write a post and hope that my message and reasons will somehow get across to some of them.

GIFs have been inserted in hopes of making this post sound less patronizing (if it is), ranty (well, it still is, sorta) and overall, brighten the rather serious issue being addressed.

Now, you may already be aware of this but reviews from consumers are one of the crucial parts for online marketing because when consumers see something with low/zero reviews, they’re less likely to buy the product. I mean, how many of us will actually pick up a book with an overall 1 star rating on Goodreads or similar sites? That’s a huge loss to the publisher and it’ll hurt the author because she/he/they definitely worked damn hard to write the content. So, I must clarify that yes, I’m very aware that the authors and publishers are incredibly kind to let me review their books/ARCs despite my blog being tiny.  I mean, they certainly didn’t have to choose me, much less approve of my request because there’s no doubt that there’s a vast ocean of book review blogs out there, and that they could’ve just breeze through mine. Thus, when I do get approved/accept a review request, I do my best to give what they ask. An honest review.

james mcavoy studying

For me, the other reason why reviews are requested is so that the author/publisher can have varying perspectives on why some things work and why other things don’t. From there, they can improve the product and re-release it to the public or work on making a new and better one. They can also ensure that similar issues won’t be raised again in the future. With that said, I admit that I write more detailed and thorough reviews for books that I’ve requested and books that I’ve been approached to review. However, by this, I mean that I actually type down just about everything that I’ve noted, be it positive or negative. Why? Because an honest review was requested.

i did everything you asked me to

So yeah, I don’t write reviews to be petty. I don’t write reviews to flame or troll or to be ‘scathing’—which is either ‘witheringly scornful’ or ‘severely critical’ depending on whatever the person using this word is feeling. I do my best to provide constructive criticism and opinions that are as objective as I can get. (Though, those are only for reviews cross-posted here and Goodreads. The ones that aren’t posted here but are on Goodreads are ‘unprofessionally’ written [aka has more bias and is written while I’m running on more emotions than neutrality] so I can definitely understand the author being upset in that case.) I know it hurts to receive negative feedback because I’ve certainly been subjected to them, and that the more effort you pour into something, the more painful the negative feedback feels.

i understand everything
Not everything, but definitely on receiving negative feedback. We’re never spared from them in real life.

However, when there is a ‘review’ option, it’s crucial to remember that your favourite blend of tea is not everyone’s favourite. There will always be criticism so when you’re handed a steaming cup of feedback that doesn’t look positive but is in no way a flame/troll/someone being prejudiced/discriminatory, take deep breathes. Then, slowly, gradually ingest the contents. Take your time to taste the feedback and try to see where the person who made that cup for you in good faith, is coming from. If you can’t, turn to another person and ask for their opinion on your cup of feedback. Or, look at the other cups and see if there’s anything linking them together. After all, there is always more than one person who brewed a cup of analytic feedback for you to drink. More importantly, do not throw or spit that cup of feedback back into the brewer’s face. Do not storm out or graffiti your anger (no matter how ‘subtle’ you make it) on the brewer’s house (a.k.a. their social media accounts). The brew not suiting your taste buds isn’t an excuse to be rude.

dont punish me for being honest

In short, when you, as an author, request reviews from the people, expect there to actually be honest and negative reviews. Expect there to be ones where every aspect of your book has been analysed and critiqued. Expect there to be reviews written from a multitude of different perspectives, and written in a variety of tones.



17 thoughts on “I Reviewed Your Book and Now You’re Upset by My Honesty

  1. Oh Aria, this sucks. Not your post, but that fact authors are even reaching out to you about your reviews. It’s petty and unprofessional. You don’t actually owe them anything, although I agree it’s kind they send us their books. It’s not like we post reviews saying “I hate this book, it’s the worst, don’t buy it.” We say “I felt like the plot was a little weak and the ending didn’t follow through. The romance overtook the drama and it was extremely cliched.” Sometimes, the things we say are EXACTLY the type of thing others LOVE in their books. And besides that, if I reviewed a book and an author reached out telling me I was wrong or to remove the review, not only would I not read any more of their books, but I’d add an addendum to the review being honest about the exchange. Sheesh!

    Keep doing what you’re doing, loff. ❤️ You’re perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! 😭❤️ I’ll definitely keep doing what I’m doing. But still, I can’t help but wish that some authors remember that everyone has different perspectives, and that it’s not the end-all of their book or their career if they get a negative review. And yes, I’ll definitely be avoiding the authors who reached out and reacted negatively to my reviews. I don’t want to face any possible Round Two’s of ‘subtle’ anger 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It does really suck that someone is taking their disappointment out on you. You have clearly stated you will be honest, and I know you would never be disrespectful, so the author needs to realize that they will have to face criticism. You want to know what really speaks to me about the integrity of your character? The fact that you did not mention the book or the author in the post. I think you are awesome and are doing exactly what you should be doing. You are being honest and respectful and voicing your own opinion! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You are so very welcome! You have my support, and I hope you continue to be yourself and do what you do best because you are great at it! We need to lift each other up, not tear each other down, and if an author can’t take criticism they shouldn’t be putting their work out in the public eye.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. So sorry this happened to you. I hate hearing when this things happen. Luckily, this never happened to me with the more popular authors, only with the indie ones, which is why I dont accept review request from them anymore because some expects you to like it and post a positive review, which is unrealistic. Everyone has their own taste and opinions. You cant makr everyone like what you do. Given being an author is hard. We as readers and reviewers acknowledge that. But as authors they should be professional enough to accept criticism and move on instead of getting back to those reviewers who wrote a negative review. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same! I never thought that this would happen to me, much less for it to happen multiple times… As for them expecting positive reviews, that’s very true. I thought that they (especially the ones who approached me) would be aware because I certainly don’t have a stellar average rating on Goodreads and I post very few 4-5 star reviews. So yeah, when they expressed their disappointment, it was rather shocking for me. From now on, I’ll definitely exercise more caution when being approached and when requesting reviews. I don’t more repeats of this situation 😣

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What I do before, to avoid things like this from happening is that I notify the author in advance that I did not like their book and ask them if they’re okay with me posting the review. I tend to be more careful with free books that are given to me than with those I purchased, I guess. I know how authors work had to write these and as an aspiring author, I know how hard it is to write these stories. But what annoys me is that the fact that they attack readers who don’t like their book. I heard a lot of horror stories on twitter regarding this where an author stalked a reviewer and smashed her head with a bottle or something. I wish authors would be a bit welcoming to criticism so that when they write their book the next time, they’ll know what to look out for. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Omg, why didn’t I think of that?! I feel so silly now 😂 Thank you so much for you advice! And goodness, did an author really do that? That’s so horrible!!! 😱 They definitely need to be open-minded when it comes to criticism.


  4. I’m so sorry to hear that this happened to you! I’m always grateful when I recieve a book from the author/publisher for review, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t be honest when I review it. And they shouldn’t expect anything else!! The fact that authors are even reaching out to you about your reviews is very unprofessional. Also, if they can’t take criticism why in the world are they reading reviews? (Or writing for that matter. How can you improve without criticism?)
    You just keep doing what you’re doing, being honest is the most important part when it comes to reviews! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Will do ❤ And, I agree! I thought that they would at least be aware since I had thought that they did some research before approaching someone for reviews. But after witnessing some of their reactions, it’s clear that this isn’t always the case…Also, very true and I believe that that notion can be applied to just about everything else too since we get criticism for so many things like work and homework. It’s difficult to get better at something without knowing what’s wrong in the first place, after all.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so sorry this happened to you, I can’t imagine what that’s like. You only did your ‘job’ – you’re a book blogger, so you review books honestly. And it’s not even your job! You’re doing this because you love books and love talking about them. I think these authors would be less likely to do this to a reviewer from say The New York Times (though I’m sure that happens too, I just feel like authors who do this think bloggers are an easier ‘target’ with a smaller audience than the NYT so they have more guts to do this)

    As an author you should know that when you put your book out there, there are going to be negative reviews. If really popular, well-loved books like Harry Potter get negative reviews, why do you think you wouldn’t? And if you’re reaching out to someone to review your book, you can’t expect them to write you a positive review. What, because you got it for free you owe them a positive review? That’s not how it works. Seriously hope all these authors read this post, learn from this and take a good look at themselves. You didn’t deserve this. Keep writing honest and great reviews ❤️ (also this post is really well written and doesn’t sound patronizing or ranty (though I wouldn’t blame you at all if it did). You handled this very well)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you ❤ ❤ ❤ And, yes! I thought that as well. There are a lot of popular books and even canonical classics (the supposed best of the best) that have gotten many negative reviews so really, reviews are just a person’s perspective of something and there’s no need to lash out when one gets one or two of them…

      Liked by 1 person

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