Reviewing is a Dangerous Business

I recently blogged a review of a book that had a great premise but was really difficult to read. My sister stopped reading after getting halfway through chapter one. But I pressed on.

The story idea was fresh and intriguing but the writing style made me cringe. I could not suspend my belief enough to really enjoy the story being told. But I finished it and wrote my review as honestly as I could.

I don’t go out to bash authors. I know as well as anyone the sting of a bad review. I agonized about the best way to express my feelings for the book. I gave examples of what I thought worked and what didn’t work. I didn’t purposely set out to bash the author or their work. But alas my review chaffed some fans enough for retaliatory comments of me being “unfair” and having “no taste.”

Now, when I receive bad reviews saying my writing was “labored” and that 75% of my book should have been cut out and that my writing was confusing because I’m a “head jumper,” did I attack the reviewer and say they have no idea what they were talking about and wouldn’t know a great book if it slapped them in their puny little heads?

No. I did not.

I asked for MORE. Tell me why you didn’t like this part. Tell me what could be cut. How am I to become  a better writer without honesty with examples to back it up? For the authors I read (which the majority are indie writers), I do the common courtesy of being honest and backing it up. Take it or leave it. Your choice.

All authors need to have thick skin. Don’t make excuses. Make it better! Ideally you want everyone to love your book. Well, everyone won’t love your book. Some people will down right hate it and want that piece of their life back. I’ve seen this statement in a review before but I’ve never said it. Too mean to put in writing, but can be so true. I actually gave the book a rounded up 3 out of 5 stars, backed up my rating and even listed what I did like.

Do I need to learn a bit more tact when I go about it? Probably. I’m still learning about writing, critiquing, editing and reviewing. But respect the fact that we differ in opinion and likes and dislikes.

Reviewing is probably just as dangerous as telling people your political party or what religion you believe. I may have to go into hiding if this keeps up. Especially with the “talking to” I received from the author’s fans. Yikes! If you don’t hear from me for a while, call 911. 🙂

Happy reading and be careful out there. A lot of fans mean business!



  1. Kenechi Udogu · January 24, 2014

    Wow, you hear of people taking out their frustration on reviewers and you really do wonder what happened to freedom of speech. As a fellow writer I’ve received some scathing reviews which I haven’t even fully understood, but I haven’t tried to attack the reader’s opinions because it’s their opinion after all. Plus, as you said, we all need to learn how to improve our writing skills. I’ve always thought your reviews are constructive and fairly objective (we all know reviews have to be subjective anyway, because that’s what they are – views). So, please, ignore this silliness from these people who clearly have too much time on their hands.

    • Cherese Vines · January 24, 2014

      Thanks for the good words. I was surprised by the passion of the fans. But I guess that “passion” for a book is what all writers want from their fans. I just hope it’s without personal attacks on others’ opinions. Thanks for taking the time to read my reviews. I hope they’re helpful. Take care.

  2. Ruby Freeman · January 24, 2014

    I applaud you for the work you are doing. Great job!
    Ruby Freeman

    • Cherese Vines · January 24, 2014

      Thank you! I hope I’m being helpful to those looking to buy these books. Take care.

  3. Jacquitta A McManus · January 24, 2014

    Just keep being honest and giving your view. That’s all you can do. I always appreciate the feedback you give me.

    • Cherese Vines · January 24, 2014

      I’m glad to help.Thanks for your feedback too.

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