Why I write mean reviews of bad books, a treatise.
It really ticks me off how some people defend authors as if they deserve respect for being published (there ARE stupid authors out there, people. Sometimes they don’t even write their own books).
Author and ex-agent Nathan Bransford said about the mean reviews:
“It’s not hyperbole to say that there are talented authors out there looking at this landscape who will conclude it’s not worth it, and great books that won’t be published as a result of this culture if it continues.”
Though he makes some valid points about some idiots the world should just ignore and/or cast out regardless of how many stars they give (like the dumbasses claiming some authors should be raped or killed), Bransford fails to address the fact that mean reviews will be stopping BAD WRITERS from being published. Writers should second-guess themselves (does the world REALLY need more Twilights and 50 Shades and Zombies and and and).
IMO, he needed to be clearer on what he deems a bully, because eff yeah I’m going to make fun of a novel if it wasn’t good enough. I’ve earned that right by suffering through it.
Yes, yes, being published is a big deal (if you haven’t been before). But if I spend money and time (god, sometimes SO MUCH TIME) on a book that turns out to be SUCH A WASTE? I am going to tell people about it. I’m going to PULL SOMETHING OUT of the shit pile that was my wasted money and time. I am going to review THE FUCK out that book because I don’t want bad books to happen to good people (and JESUS, they seem to be happening A LOT).
If my review hurts an author’s feelings then that’s their weakness. I’m not going to apologize for THEM wasting my time. If you expect the whole world to speak only if they have something nice to say then you clearly don’t want to face reality. And why wouldn’t you want readers to be honest with you? If you never get bad reviews then you can never see room for improvement.
And if you, Reader-Who-Reviews, only review books if you have something nice to say then you are doing the world a disservice – you can’t pretend bad books don’t exist. You certainly aren’t helping us avoid future wastes-of-time. You’re hiding truth from the world.
…But to my real point! This whole debate stems from the fact that we aren’t treating reviews as the relative opinions that they are. So what if someone gives a book a one star rating on goodreads? I’m going to read what that person has to say about the book and why they gave it one star. More importantly, I judge books by MULTIPLE reviews. If everything said about a book is bad then I think it’s safe to say it doesn’t deserve a good review. It hasn’t earned one.
Authors shouldn’t get the safe way out. Just because you’re published doesn’t mean you’ve earned the right to be respected. If you haven’t noticed lately, the publishing industry has been producing a lot of low-class stuff. Maybe so-called “mean” (what I like to call honest) reviews are exactly what we need more of. That way not everyone would think they are god’s gift to the book world.
Published authors are not perfect. They get it wrong sometimes. And how will the publishing industry know what readers want if they keep trying to stifle our “mean” voices?