Negative reviews have always been particularly hard for me because I have an insatiable need to be liked. If someone ever gives me the slightest impression that they don't like me, I instantly assume the "tail between my legs" posture. Head down, shoulders slumped, maybe some slight whimpering. I hate it.
To compensate for this, I often find myself being very hard-skinned. I pretend that things don't bother me and that I don't care about what people think.
To compensate for that, I'm always very careful about how I word things. If I want to be rude, I'll be rude, but I generally try to keep things polite and considerate. (Because remember that I need people to like me) This works pretty well for me in my real life because I have always been a very good public speaker.
This doesn't work so well for me in blogging. When you write something, you can't add the emphasis you want as delicately as you can while speaking. This is why I italicize a lot of things, in the vain hope that you will understand what I'm trying to get across.
Negative reviews are just a part of blogging. You aren't going to like every book you read. There are some bloggers who choose not to review books they didn't like, but I don't think that's quite fair. If all I ever see online are positive reviews, I'm going to read the book. But what if there are even more people who didn't like the book, but I'll never know because they never posted?! No. It just doesn't work.
If a book is published, that means someone loved it enough for it to see the light of day. That person may be an agent; an editor; or, in the case of self-pubs, an author! Someone loved this book so much that they wanted the whole world to be able to read it. Therefore, who has the right to murder a book by a bad review? No one! Just because you and I aren't friends doesn't mean I'm going to sneak into your room at night and stab you to death!
Therefore, I've started trying my hardest to make sure that people understand that when I write negative reviews I am writing purely from my own perspective. Is everyone going to feel the same way I did? Absolutely not! Will one of my readers read and [hopefully] love the book? Probably!
But later that day, my mom told me "Wow. You really didn't like that book."
And that's when I realized that all my efforts might be in vain. Despite the fact that I desperately try to remain kind and courteous while writing a negative review, it is still a negative review. And if people want to see compliments as patronizing, kindness as sarcasm, or gentleness as polished-cruelty, then they're going to! And since you're reading this and not speaking to me face-to-face, my intent could be easily missed. People read into things what they want to. What's important is what you mean.
Therefore, I'm writing this post so that I can link it in my future negative reviews. If you want to believe that I'm trying to be mean or cruel to a book, then there's nothing I can do to stop you. But with all the finality in my body, I declare that I am always trying to be the nicest person I can be. And if I mean to be rude, you won't be able to miss it, but that's a rarity.
However, I am also striving to be as honest as I can be, and therefore I can't just pretend to like everything I read. Some books won't be up my alley. Just because that's true, doesn't mean no one else will like them. Perhaps someone will read my review, and my negativity prompts them to pick up the book. Who knows?!
Negative reviews are hard. They're especially hard when they're for a book by an author you love, or if you want every author to be your best friend (*points at self*). The important thing is to stay true to yourself. For me, myself is someone who wants to be liked, wants to be nice, but also wants to be honest. And that's how I write my reviews, good and bad. Is it easy? NO! I'm terrified every time I post a negative review. But it's what's right for me.
All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2011