Free For All Friday | Reviews And The Internet

Reviews are difficult, especially ones that are well thought out and organized. There is a fine craft to writing a review for any book you’ve read. Goodreads is a medium I’ve used for a few years now (prior to Aurora & I starting our blog), and the reviews can range from highly in-depth and informative, to excessive use of caps lock, profanity and childish writing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been in both categories when it comes to thinking about how I want to word my reviews. There are even some books that I most likely will never end up reviewing, because it caused so much irrational rage inside me (with the ending for example), that I’m still not sure I’d be able to get past that – I’m looking at you Allegiant. But a well written review, even if it’s a negative review of a book, can be beneficial to new readers, and even the author.

The difficulty in writing reviews, is that while you want to express everything you felt, or didn’t feel, while reading the book, it’s sometimes hard to put those feelings into words. Why you ask? Mostly because the internet can be a very, very nasty place. Now, I probably just sounded like a parent right there, didn’t I? Shockingly, I’m not, but I do believe that the internet can be very nasty.

Without naming names, (because I don’t feel its fair to drag anyone through the mud) there was an incident earlier this year/late last year involving an author and a review that was posted on GoodReads. The review was not favourable towards the author’s book. The reader simply did not enjoy it, for a variety of reasons, and posted it as such. Needless to say, when this particular review found its way to the author, they were not happy.

Now, much of what I’m putting here has come from various sources, so a fair portion of it does qualify as hearsay (Again, this is why I’m not naming names). Using the powers of the internet, the author (somehow) managed to gain the personal address of the reviewer, went to their house and confronted them about the review.

Imagine going about your daily life, when suddenly the doorbell rings and the author of that book you just left a negative review of, is standing in front of you. Warning bells are going off in your head, aren’t they? Trust me, the first time I heard about this particular incident, I was aghast that the author had breeched someone’s privacy so violently – And all because of a negative review.

That’s the problem with the internet however; no one is truly anonymous. Something somewhere has your real name attached to it, and there are all sorts of ways to get that information and mishandle it. As bloggers and reviewers, we should be granted freedom to express ourselves and state our opinions of the books that we’ve read. We shouldn’t have to be afraid that one negative review is going to come back and haunt us.

Author’s on the other hand, most likely should stay away from review sites. It’s sad, but true. Most author’s do enjoy seeing the enjoyment that readers get out of their books, but it can also open a torrent of feelings if there’s negativity involved. Writing is a labour of love, and for more authors it is a full-time profession. Imagine creating and falling in love with your characters, only to have someone trash them (and the book) because they didn’t enjoy it.

I have a companion piece to this post, that will be up in a few days. It was talk more about the backlash that authors can face when they’ve associated themselves with others. I’d love to hear what you think about the reviewer/author relationships within social media. Hit the comments below, or shoot me an email! You can always catch me on Twitter too @AutumDupont

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