Chai break is a periodic feature on This is Lit to discuss concerns that every book blogger has. This is meant to be a lighthearted discussion that you’d have over tea and the only reason for it not being called Discussion Post is that the site’s author thinks that would be too mainstream. Pfft.
In the book blogging community, we always hear stories about a blogger being harassed by an author for a negative review they wrote. I’ve always been on the blogger’s side for every issue so far. While some Goodreads and Amazon reviewers do toe the bullying line with their trolling and personal attacks on the author, a large percentage of book bloggers actually just write honest reviews. Isn’t that our mantra? “I received this book in exchange for an honest review” is what we start every ARC review with.
And yet, when you see something like the image below floating around the internet, it can be disheartening.
This wouldn’t have pissed me off if the demand said reviewers shouldn’t make personal attacks. It says star reviews without text should not be allowed on Goodreads.
There’s been a lot of outrage over reviewers receiving backlash for their negative reviews. This has been talked about a lot in most blogs. But you know what is not talked about? The great way some authors actually do respond to your negative review. And that’s what today’s discussion is about.
What are some of the nice ways authors have responded to your negative review?
I’ve said this multiple times on my blog and I’m going to say it one more time. I can be brutally honest. My review will not beat around the bush, I will describe in perfect detail exactly what I hated about the book. But thankfully, all the authors I’ve worked with are stellar human beings who reacted nicely and took it up as constructive criticism. Here are the sweet responses of authors of books I wrote entirely honest reviews for.
1. I found the writing in a book offensive towards South Indians and this is how the author responded.
“Ouch Shruti. So sorry if you found it offensive…I’d make sure to be not curt in it [the sequel] and hope to charm you this time around.”
2. In response to a 2.5 star review…
“I apologise for contacting you directly, but I wanted to thank you sincerely for taking the time to read my book and for your candid review. I appreciate all constructive reviews, positive or negative, as I like to try to learn from them.”
This author went on to ask if I’d review their next book too because it’s rare to get such honest reviews.
3. In a three-star-review, I had written that the book just gave away the whole story in the back cover. The author explained that for debut authors, it’s publishers who choose the blurb. My mail might have sounded a little apologetic, because the author replied with this.
“Don’t worry Shruti. It’s your job :-)”
The author still reads some of my blog posts and shares them on social media.
4. I wasn’t brutal in any way while reviewing this book, but I honestly wrote about every little thing I didn’t like this about this book (and everything I liked).
“Thank you so much for the review! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. You’re wonderful! Its the first feedback I’ve received from an objective reader with an unbiased opinion (aka someone other than my dad). Thank you. And the constructive criticism was perfect.”
This right here? This is why we blog. We’re not paid to review books; we’re using our free time to read not-so-famous books. And when your criticism is received well? That’s the best feeling in the world!
How do you write negative reviews? How have authors reacted to your reviews? The book blogging community can do with some positivity right now. Write away in the comments about that nice author taking up your constructive criticism!