My new blog for disabled and/or neurodivergent writers is going to have a variety of content. One of the features will be book reviews. In fact, the first one goes up tomorrow! And I'm nervous.
I've always been a scaredy-cat when it comes to writing book reviews. I want to be accurate, but not hurtful. I want to praise the good parts, but want to do so without seeming artificial. Mostly, I don't want potential buyers of the book feeling conned if they buy it and hate it. Or the author hissing my name like an epithet.
What if a disgruntled author hates me because of my review or trashes my work in retaliation? What if I hurt someone's feelings (which I try not to do, ever)? What if someone buys the book on my recommendation and said person begins harassing me just because he didn't see what I saw? I know the novels we love or hate are subjective. But not everyone else does.
I know some of you think I'm being silly. Maybe I am.
But plenty of writers have told me they don't write reviews unless they totally love a book because other authors can get... offended.
So, the first thing I decided was not to use a rating. Ratings may be handy when a consumer has to wade through hundreds of reviews or pieces of feedback but, since reviewers can't agree on what constitutes a deduction, (swearing, grammar errors, Hitler's autobiography) it isn't particularly helpful for a singular review unless readers know that specific reviewer's criteria.
Each review is going to have (what I consider to be) the book's pluses and minuses. Every book, no matter how good or bad, has things that didn't quite work or elements that are enjoyable. I'm going to strive for balance.
I will never, in a review, attack an author or address her personally. I won't say someone should give up writing or any of the other cruel barbs an Amazon.com review holds. A review is about a work, period.
At the end, I will say if the book is a worthwhile read or not. Simple.
Unsure if I will give every book an "adult content rating", but will probably mention if a book has gratuitous sex, violence, or swearing.
Do you ever write reviews? Are they ever negative? Has anyone ever yelled at you (or worse) because of your opinion on a novel?