Of Reviews and Reviewers

Just been reading an interesting post from Slepsnor at Legends of Windemere about book reviews.

It seems there are a nasty-minded numbnuts out there, savaging authors’ books just for the hell of it.

The post got me thinking about reviews and how important (or not) they are. Certainly when I’m a prospective purchaser of anything other than books I will check out reviews and I can think of a couple of occasions recently when a review has influenced me not to buy.

When it comes to books however I’m not really interested in reviews. Whether I (or anyone) likes a book is almost totally subjective and subtly influenced by other factors such as curiosity, what friends are reading, price, cover, any other books by the same author and genre.

I bought and read The Da Vinci Code and 50 Shades of Grey for no other reason than curiosity and because friends were reading them. I didn’t like either of them for different reasons but I never felt the need to rush off and write a destructive review.

I find well-thought out constructive criticism is often more helpful than paeans of praise; a thoughtful opinion whether for or agin a book, short story or article helps me to see and get to grips with other perspectives. However a mouthy infantile slagging handed out to an author deserves nothing but contempt. I say handed out to the author because I do believe that the author is the real target not the book.

To me there is something quite cowardly about writing a review that aims to destroy a book and make nothing of it and its author. It is the act of a bully and a bully usually protected by pseudonym or anonymity. Thankfully whilst they may seem to shout loudest they are not the majority.

Is it envy, a sense of their own inferiority, scatter-gun malice or just plain stupidity that motivates these type of reviewers? Are they looking for five minutes of fame? I neither know nor care. The best medicine is silence – a total refusal to even acknowledge their existence.

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10 thoughts on “Of Reviews and Reviewers

  1. I tend to view people who do this kind of thing the same way I do those who Troll elsewhere. They are beneath contempt and, as you say, deserve only silence in response. I admit that if they were to post on a site I control, they would have their post removed and be banned, simply to avoid having others falling into their infantile trap.

  2. I hesitated to use the word Troll since there are so many fantasy writers out there:) but you’re right, that is what they are. I agree that if you can control the posting of reviews it would help to lessen the infestation of them however, some sites don’t work that way.

    • LOL I get that, being a fantasy writer ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s a pity that those sites which carry such reviews don’t have clearly defined standards, which would allow them to remove the Troll reviews.

  3. Spot on. It’s not something I’ve suffered yet but particularly for new authors without a readership I could imagine these type of reviews could be quite damaging…if only to the author’s confidence and ego (I think we all have one:))

    • I quite agree. An attack pretending to be a genuine review could be fatal to a new author’s dream, and that is unforgivable. (And yes, we all have an ego ๐Ÿ™‚ )

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