The Pitfalls of Book Reviewing. And the Joys.



So since I started on this wonderful journey of mine into the world of book blogging and reviewing I have had a brilliant time.  I have been very lucky – I have “met” some lovely people, authors, publicists, editors, other bloggers and publishers all who have the same love of a good book as I do and together we get the best of the best out there for people to enjoy. But the job that I do for love not money can have its negative sides. I have been lucky enough to avoid that – others have not. So lets talk about it a little.

When an author or publisher offers you their book for review, they are looking for honest feedback.  At least thats what we are told – and 99.9% of the time that is actually the case. A bad review from a blogger who has not enjoyed your book is accepted with good grace and the understanding that not everyone will love what you write. Occasionally however reviewers can face a harsh backlash when they admit, sometimes in strong terms, that the book was not at all to their taste. Two blogger friends of mine have suffered that lately. One to the extent that the author of the novel managed to involve another author, well known in the world of books, whose fans made some very nasty comments. Ultimately she had to close her review to feedback, such was the stress being caused. Another lovely blogger friend of mine recently dared to suggest that a book she had read needed better editing and proof reading. The story itself she said, was actually good…but the reading experience suffered because of mistakes and errors in the script. The resulting backlash was way out of proportion to the review written, in this readers opinion. Yet more stress was caused and for what reason – no good one that I can see. Heck the top authors in the world, the ones who sell millions suffer from the occasional bad review – it can’t be nice to have your “baby” critisized of course it can’t. But is that not the risk you take when putting a piece of yourself out there for the world to see? And writers who do this do themselves no favours – the blogging community I’ve found is a tight knit one. We talk to each other and not just in public – and there IS a difference between engaging in active debate with a reviewer and actual abuse. One is fine, warranted even, the other is not. And those authors who resort to insults and personal attacks will find very quickly that they have trouble getting a reviewer to accept their novel…hurt one you hurt us all. Because we are not in paid employment – we do this for the love of a good book and the genuine wish to help authors and those in the book world get the word out there about the best reading experiences available. AND the worst…which brings me nicely onto a personal problem that I have…




I HATE writing bad reviews. I dislike it so much that I rarely do so – If I don’t like a book it disappears into the ether never to be heard from again. I know that reviewing a book I’ve disliked should be part of the process but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I called my site Liz LOVES books for a reason – most of the books you find reviewed on my site, will indeed be the books I have loved. Thats not to say I won’t give the negative side of a book for people to be aware of reasons why it might not be for THEM. For example, I warned against the strong content in “The Troop” for those of a delicate nature, and my latest review for “Love Club”  made it clear that if you are not into heavy sexual content it may not be for you. My only other bad review is for a novel from an author who is well loved who I feel has been letting her readers down. But I have to feel VERY strongly about a novel to say its awful – because sometimes I think, maybe its just me! Its not that I’ve never disliked a book…its more that I feel there are plenty of people to do that sort of thing and I very much prefer to be about the love. Because I LOVE books – I promise you that the majority of books reviewed on Liz Loves Books are ones that are worth your attention – but there are no guarantee’s that you will love them as I do. We all read differently. So bad reviews – a pitfall of reviewing for this particular blogger. I am sure I will get better at it…give me time folks!


So there you go. I will continue to love what I do and love what I read (most of the time) and I hope that the effort is appreciated – because I appreciate the effort made by every single author out there to give us a book we will love – you rock guys!


Happy Reading Folks.

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3 Responses to The Pitfalls of Book Reviewing. And the Joys.

  1. Hello Liz yes, very interesting blog. I only review books when I come across ones I like by chance, and, as you say, if I don’t like a book I’d rather not review it at all. So in one way, that solves the problem really. If you’ve read a book to the end, that must mean you like it and will give it a good rvw. But if you hate it, you’re not going to read to the end anyway, so, in fairness it wouldn’t be right to do a rvw good or bad. I can see it’s awkward for you if people send you books – but I suppose if you really hate something you can say to the person – this one isn’t for me, best if someone else rvws it. Hope you don’t mind me adding my thoughts – you do a very good job.

  2. Kristopher says:

    Great post Liz. I too, do not run negative reviews on my blog. I actually think more and more bloggers are taking that tactic and I am glad to see it.

    I really am trying to spread the enjoyment of reading, but what I enjoy and what others enjoy will be very different things. Basically, I just want people to see how much I love reading, so that it might inspire them to pick up a book – maybe one I reviewed, maybe not. So, I really don’t think it is my place to steer people away from a book that they might love. Certainly, there are books that I don’t enjoy, but like you, I just don’t talk about them. If the author asked me directly, or sent me a copy, I would let them know that it just wasn’t for me and that I wouldn’t be running a review. Most authors seem to appreciate that.

    I have heard of situations like you mention, where authors strike-back, but have never experienced it myself. But it’s only been a year for my blog, so maybe it will happen. If it does happen, I will be gracious as always, but the blogging community is a close-knit one, so I would advise authors against that action. Just understand that not everyone loves everything and move on. It’s the best for everyone.

  3. E. L. Lindley says:

    A great post Liz, in which your sheer love of books comes across. I’m shocked that some people can be so ungracious towards reviewers, they clearly have no manners or dignity. I am in awe of all of you reviewers both for the speed with which you get through books and the thoughtfulness that often goes into the reviews. I’m with you and Geoff though, I’d rather say nothing than leave a bad review. Like you say – what’s the point?

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