Recently there has been an uproar from a few authors on the practice of reviewing books, specifically on GoodReads. They think reviewers are too harsh, they hate the use of pictures and GIFs, and they feel like majority of the negative reviews author bash. I’ve found that majority of authors complaining happen to write in the YA genre.
Now, here are my thoughts. Sure, some reviews are harsh, however those reviews are usually of the books that truly are awful. And I’m not talking about the reviewer just not liking the book. Oh, no. It’s way more to that. Those books may personally offend a reader by portraying anti-feministic views, unhealthy relationships, anti-gay views, racial stereotypes, acts of plagiarism, ect. Should the reviewer hold their tongue to these things? In my honest opinion, no. Here’s why. The reviews are not for the author; they are for other readers. If an author wants to read them, then they should take them for what they are: a reader’s opinion of what they read.
That being said, I do think some reviews are harsher than others. If a reader is calling the author names and things of the like, that goes too far, IMO. Rarely will I ever bring the author into a review. There are a few exceptions like Cassandra Clare and her plagiarism or authors openly racist/hateful to other’s gender/sexual orientation, and it is clearly portrayed in their work. That is a totally different story and those issues are totally valid. That is not author bashing.
On the matter of pictures and GIFs used in reviews: *sigh*. This actually makes me chuckle a little because I personally do use them. I usually use them in negative reviews, but will occasionally use them in positive as well. I like them because it suits my reviewing style. However, some authors seem to think a reviewer that uses such things can not really write a well thought out review. Really? I urge you to go through some of my reviews. Even when I use GIFs/pictures, I clearly state what I loved or hated about a book. The only thing I’d be guilty of are typos (the bane of my existence).
Snarky reviews can be fun, but I’m going to level with you. I actually hate writing negative reviews for debut authors. I’d hate to be the one to crush someone’s feelings because I think their book sucked. But everyone takes criticism differently. I’ve just come to the conclusion that you can’t please them all. I enjoy reviewing. This is in no way my occupation. It’s just a hobby for most of us. At the end of the day I’m just a reader.