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Reviewing vs. Complaining

Updated: Jul 19, 2020

Are readers reviewing an author’s novel or complaining about it?

Most authors have adopted the practice of giving a reader fair warning about the content of their novels by posting warnings. Yet, authors are plagued with negative reviews pertaining to the topics readers were specifically forewarned about.

Is it fair to assassinate an author’s complete novel because you didn’t like one specific paragraph, chapter, or scene? Is it fair to spit on an author’s complete novel because a character didn’t perform in the manner that you would have specifically preferred? Whose fault is it if you read the warning and proceed to read a book containing subject matter you didn’t like?

Here are a few examples of some negative reviews that left me scratching my head and asking the question—why?

Review or Complaint? Author’s warning: “This book contains graphic violence.” Reader’s 2-star review states something like, “I couldn’t get past the graphic killing so I didn’t like it.”

Review or Complaint? Author’s warning: “If you don’t like a strong female character, this book is not for you.” Reader’s 1-star review states something like, “I wanted the male in this book to be more alpha. I didn’t care for the female lead being so aggressive. She did too much.”

Review or complaint? Reader’s 2-star review states something like, “I wanted a specific alpha male to be paired with a specific female character so I didn’t like this book.”

Review or complaint? Reader’s 1-star review states something like, “This book and characters weren’t like the author’s other series so I didn't like it.”

The running theme in most negative reviews start with words like (I wanted, I wished, I would have liked.) This indicates that the reviewer wanted something specific to their desires without considering the whole story. Also, it's not possible for an author to write a book for a single person.

Are you a reader that leaves reviews or complaints?

Readers please ask yourself this question before leaving reviews. Please consider an author’s feelings before condemning them or their work publically. Please don’t personalize a review by reviewing the author versus reviewing their novel. Please don’t read a work that you believe you may get offended by. Please don’t proceed to read a work when you’re going into it with a preconceived negative outlook.

Personally, I would prefer a reader pass on my work than to attack it, assassinate it, or spit on it for reasons that are not just.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post and I hope it provides some level of insight about reviewing.

Sending best wishes and warm thoughts.


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