DISCLAIMER BEFORE THE PITCHFORKS ARE FORKED, OR ER, PITCHED (?) IN MY DIRECTION: By ‘reviewer’ I do not mean ‘a malicious troll’. I mean a reviewer who is stating their opinion on the book in a fair, truthful, and often amusing way.
I am not a villain, cackling away behind the anonymity of a computer screen. However, I must admit that I like to read sparsely starred reviews. Yes, those ones. The ones that can often state – in clear, precise words – why the reviewer views the book as a tragic waste of tree, space, time, money, and so forth.
I drink that stuff down like a toddler who’s just discovered Coca-Cola.
Why? How could I? I write, I’ve self-published some novellas, surely I’d want EVERYBODY to have glorious and glowing reviews *throws confetti*
But … I have my reasons. Let me share them with you …
i have an inherent distrust of good news
If the book is a fantasy and the reviews are mostly positive – I’ll listen. But if the book is a romance …. then I am wary and proceed with caution. If all the reviews are full to the brim of gushing words about the swooning romance, dreamy heroes, wonderful adventure, fantastic writing etc etc etc … I won’t take it at face value.
I’ve been burned and so I am painfully shy; I read the bad reviews. Because:
a) I am a practical optimistic pessimist (a state of being which I’ve just invented. join me) – if I know the worst, I can decide if it’s worth badgering my bank account for it
b) some folks’ idea of romance isn’t mine
b) … the reviews can be extremely entertaining.
eloquence, m’dear. it’s the eloquence
Sometimes, a reviewer can find a book – any book – to which they suffer an allergic reaction. This can provoke a beautiful response – full of sweeping prose, breathtaking analogies, and excellent use of gifs.
In short, it’s terribly interesting to observe this kind of reaction; reviewers are often very eloquent when they decide that this book is not for them and here is why etc.
I grab my popcorn and settle down to read, mesmerized.
it can lead to beautiful things
I don’t always trust people who love every. little. thing that they read. Because I am a little cynical; how can I believe that this is the BEST BOOK EVAH!!! if you’ve said that every other book you’ve read is the BEST BOOK EVAH!!!?
(Maybe you do find every book you read to be wonderful. That’s fine. But again, my cynicism strikes like a pimple before a wedding. I can’t help it.)
If you are honest in your reviews, I can measure the bad against the good. You hated this book? You’ve stated the reasons why? Well maybe I agree with you – maybe I’ll search for your other reviews; for the books you really liked.
Maybe I’ll like them too.
It’s a roundabout way to get a good book recommendation. It also works in the opposite way; if you hated this book, and I loved it … then maybe I won’t like the books you love, maybe I’ll like the books you hate – another way to a book recommendation. (Or if you loved this book and I loved it … we will both congratulate each other on our exceptional taste and stalk each other. Politely. In a friendly fashion.)
in summary, bad reviews can …
- give a more rounded perspective of a book
- save money
- cost money
- be entertaining
All right. You can … you can bring out your pitchforks now.