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Lasraik

Are Negative Reviews Necessary?

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An interesting conversation we had Saturday on the Just Because stream is the point about negative reviews.  I don't record negative reviews, but after that conversation I've been rethinking that.

For you as either a reviewer or watcher of reviews, are negative reviews necessary?  If every review is positive from a particular reviewer, do you trust them?  Is that balance necessary?

Is knowing what books someone doesn't like as important as what they do like?

Looking Let Me Think GIF by TipsyElves.com


Steve IRL

Reading: Beyond Redemption, The Virus and This Burning World

► Personal Links:  YouTube (booktube)OTBSteve YouTube (MTB and cycling) ●  Strava  ●  Last.fm  ●  GoodReads ● Vero

 

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14 hours ago, Lasraik said:

An interesting conversation we had Saturday on the Just Because stream is the point about negative reviews.  I don't record negative reviews, but after that conversation I've been rethinking that.

For you as either a reviewer or watcher of reviews, are negative reviews necessary?  If every review is positive from a particular reviewer, do you trust them?  Is that balance necessary?

Is knowing what books someone doesn't like as important as what they do like?

Looking Let Me Think GIF by TipsyElves.com

You kind of already know my feelings, but I was talking to my husband about this again this morning. He mentioned that I shouldn't feel bad about giving a negative review (which most recently was a lot harder as it was a self pub author). I think it is important as a reviewer for us to give an honest review either way. But it also comes down to how you present that information. Mama says, "If you don't have anything nice to say...", and so on. So, making sure you fully explain your thoughts and feelings is even harder with negative critiques, because they have to be constructive and non-ambiguous. That means a lot of work for a book you didn't enjoy. I can see why some reviewers decide not to do it. When done right these reviews can still help your audience make a decision if the book is right for them.  I have seen some negative reviews where I still picked up and read the book, because I understood what the reviewer didn't like was something I love. As a matter of fact, when I look at Goodreads or Amazon reviews, I go to the 2 and 3 stars first. Sometimes those give you more pertinent information. 

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20 hours ago, Stacyejaye said:

You kind of already know my feelings, but I was talking to my husband about this again this morning. He mentioned that I shouldn't feel bad about giving a negative review (which most recently was a lot harder as it was a self pub author). I think it is important as a reviewer for us to give an honest review either way. But it also comes down to how you present that information. Mama says, "If you don't have anything nice to say...", and so on. So, making sure you fully explain your thoughts and feelings is even harder with negative critiques, because they have to be constructive and non-ambiguous. That means a lot of work for a book you didn't enjoy. I can see why some reviewers decide not to do it. When done right these reviews can still help your audience make a decision if the book is right for them.  I have seen some negative reviews where I still picked up and read the book, because I understood what the reviewer didn't like was something I love. As a matter of fact, when I look at Goodreads or Amazon reviews, I go to the 2 and 3 stars first. Sometimes those give you more pertinent information. 

You make some good points, I've been re-thinking my stance on no negative reviews. 


Steve IRL

Reading: Beyond Redemption, The Virus and This Burning World

► Personal Links:  YouTube (booktube)OTBSteve YouTube (MTB and cycling) ●  Strava  ●  Last.fm  ●  GoodReads ● Vero

 

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As long as I know that the reviewer just doesn't review books they didn't enjoy, I don't have a problem with it. If they LOVE every book they read (and yes, there are some) I can't take any of their reviews seriously. But as long as I hear about books they didn't absolutely love in a wrap-up or something like that, I'm fine. There are thousands and thousands of people who review so then I'll just look up the review on someone elses platform.

For me personally, I've only reviewed books I love up until this point, but I will mix in some I didn't care for as well in the future, because that doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad book and I want to spread the word about it. A good review can give any reader an idea whether or not they will like the book, irregardless of what the reviewer feels imo. And for some books I just want an outlet haha. But I don't think you have to do anything and your opinions matters more/less if you only review books you enjoyed.

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Not my space, but we do it for movies.  I have watched movies simply because many of you, or reviewers, have rated them high.  Similarly, I have avoided some because of low ratings.  Why wouldn't the same apply with books?

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1 hour ago, Dunnar said:

Not my space, but we do it for movies.  I have watched movies simply because many of you, or reviewers, have rated them high.  Similarly, I have avoided some because of low ratings.  Why wouldn't the same apply with books?

That's true.  I think the biggest difference (and it shouldn't make a difference but does, for me at least) is a lot of authors will watch or read your review especially independent authors.  Indie movie directors/writers usually don't care enough to seek them out.


Steve IRL

Reading: Beyond Redemption, The Virus and This Burning World

► Personal Links:  YouTube (booktube)OTBSteve YouTube (MTB and cycling) ●  Strava  ●  Last.fm  ●  GoodReads ● Vero

 

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I work in a service supporting students and staff in a Uni. I think we run a good service, and we wholeheartedly welcome any negative comments. How on earth do we improve if we can't always tell where improvements need to be made.

I would hope it's the same for anything we do, that is designed for others to consume. Of course, it needs to be, hopefully, delivered in a constructive way that is meant to improve, and even suggestions on how to do so.

 


May the Force Live Long and Prosper.

Cynical Optimist

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I definitely don't take reviewers seriously if they never give negative reviews. To me, saying that you love every book is as valuable as saying that you hate every book. There just has to be a mix in order for your opinions to hold any weight. I think it all comes down to how you frame the criticism, and whether or not you present it in a way that's useful to your viewers.

And honestly, what may feel like a negative review for you could be interpreted positively by your viewers. For example, there's a reviewer I follow who will criticize a book for being too action-packed. When I hear her say those words though, I pretty much instantly add the book to my TBR. 

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5 hours ago, Lauren ~ Paperback Empire said:

I definitely don't take reviewers seriously if they never give negative reviews. To me, saying that you love every book is as valuable as saying that you hate every book. There just has to be a mix in order for your opinions to hold any weight. I think it all comes down to how you frame the criticism, and whether or not you present it in a way that's useful to your viewers.

And honestly, what may feel like a negative review for you could be interpreted positively by your viewers. For example, there's a reviewer I follow who will criticize a book for being too action-packed. When I hear her say those words though, I pretty much instantly add the book to my TBR. 

Some good points, I think I may have to start reviewing all the books I read and not just the ones I loved.  I think @Stacyejaye mentioned that even when giving negative reviews it's important to still add things you did enjoy to balance it out.

 

 


Steve IRL

Reading: Beyond Redemption, The Virus and This Burning World

► Personal Links:  YouTube (booktube)OTBSteve YouTube (MTB and cycling) ●  Strava  ●  Last.fm  ●  GoodReads ● Vero

 

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1 hour ago, Lasraik said:

Some good points, I think I may have to start reviewing all the books I read and not just the ones I loved.  I think @Stacyejaye mentioned that even when giving negative reviews it's important to still add things you did enjoy to balance it out.

 

 

I totally agree. I also try to temper my glowing reviews with one or two small criticisms that could potentially be an issue for people with different tastes than mine.

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On 5/24/2021 at 8:49 PM, Lasraik said:

Looking Let Me Think GIF by TipsyElves.com
 

A meme after my own heart.  Is it sad I understand almost all of it?  Yeah, me too.

On topic ... and not really my space, so I'll generalize ...

At the most basic level, writing is an art form.  And the point of art is to elicit an emotional reaction, whether positive, negative, or sometimes a mix of both.  If the reader reacts after reading a written work, then the writer (as an artist) was successful ... at least on some level.  Whether the reaction was positive or negative should have no bearing on the artist's success, because by definition, the artist was.  On the other hand, specific success could be determined by whether the reviewer's response was the one intended by the artist - and the artist may be the only person who knows what that was for certain. 

An editorial review of a written piece (humorously noted: sometimes but not always also in written form - the mirror in the mirror) should dissect the subject piece based on facts of content, mechanics, and whether or why the subject piece was either successful or a failure in eliciting a reaction.  Analogous to eating, a written work should be chewed and digested to determine whether it provided energy, lethargy, or flatulence (gotta love a good fart joke). 

A successful work of art needs both a creator and a consumer; the creator obviously or the art would not exist, and the consumer because otherwise it would be a waste of time and material.  That isn't to say that the intended consumer could not also be the creator.  But for the sake of this discussion, let's let the consumer (i.e., the reviewer) be external to the creator.  The review should explain which response was brought forth from the reader, if any, and evidence of the fundamental groundwork that the artist used, or lack thereof, to bring about that response, or lack thereof.  Is boredom a valid emotional response?  Absolutely, although it might not have been the intended response.  Whether the review is positive or negative should depend upon the artist's success, not the reviewer's reaction.

But to like something, or not, is completely subjective.  One man's trash is another man's treasure.  Incidentally, like and hate are not opposites; both are emotional responses, and their opposite is apathy.  In order for derivative consumers (by definition, a review is a derivative form of art) to establish a baseline understanding of the reviewer's perspective ... well ... a subjective review requires the reviewer to include sufficient personal background to adequately describe the filter through which the art was consumed at the time of consumption.

And now the point ... Is a positive review good and a negative review bad?  No.  You have to re-frame the question.

A successful review is one that provides sufficient perspective regarding the subjective preference for the art such that the derivative consumer may experience a reaction stimulating positive or negative interest toward the reviewed artwork itself.

And now I will consider this post a success if the reader ... 1) is relieved to be done reading it, or 2) stopped reading and dismissed it as pure BS halfway through.  Go me!

 

Edited by Elovia

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go." - Oscar Wilde

"I'm not bad; I'm just drawn that way." - Jessica Rabbit

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