Ranting Song of the Day: “Bitch” by Meredith Brooks
We’ve been hearing a lot around the interwebz about negative book reviews that are going too far. There are several cases on Goodreads.com that fall into this category. So, the question we wanna pose (and answer ourselves) is, how much of your opinion can you give about a book without feeling like you’re being a bee-yatch?
So, let’s say book X has just been released. You’ve been waiting and waiting for it to come on shelves. However, when you get it in your grubby lil’ palms, you wanna throw it across the room. The characters lack personality, the story has no climax or rise and fall, the setting is barely described, and the entire thing is written in passive voice. You go to Goodreads, because you like to rate every book that you read. But you’re stuck! How many stars do you give it??? Should you be honest and give it 1 (more like half a star if you could, and that half would just be because you liked the cover)? Or should you lie and give it 3 stars–just in case you’re ever in a position where you become friends with this author and you want them to pimp your book? OR should you cross that line, give the book 0 stars and go on a five paragraph long rant of every. Single. Thing that was wrong with this book?
Our answer: Be honest, but not a bee-yatch. It’s that simple.
That’s not simple? Why not? Why do your friends on Goodreads have to know every single word of this book that you hated? You can just rate the book low and move on. A professional author should not take offense to low ratings, we all know reading is subjective. Not every person in the world is going to love our writing, and to be a writer, you have to have thick skin and accept this. BUT, a writer CAN take offense when the reader spends an hour of their day writing out details about why they hated the author’s book. Why should the author take offense? Because, that reader’s opinion may be different from John Doe. But John Doe reads that review and is put off from the book right away. Therefore, John Doe doesn’t even have a chance to pick up the book and decide how he feels about it on his own.
And why else should you refrain from being a bee-yatch? Because no one likes a pissy person. Someone who CONSTANTLY writes long, ranty reviews online will never be the first person that a writer goes to when they are looking for book reviewers. And if you’re a book blogger, well, you’ve just screwed yourself. If you’re a fellow writer? You seem like a hater, and people will look even more closely at YOUR writing to make sure you’re not doing the things you have so passionately dissed online.
Okay, so the moral to this long blog post? You can be honest without bringing out the claws. When you do, it makes you look like an ass and people start to wonder: Don’t you have other things in your life that are of a little more concern than author X’s book with the awesome cover???
Your turn. We can be way off base here and we’d love to hear your opinion! Do you think bee-yatch-ness is EVER necessary when giving book reviews? How do you feel about giving negative reviews?