In the middle of July, I won a competition where I got the opportunity to review a book for a website. I was super excited because it was a book that came with a lot of buzz, and being me, I am always super behind on new releases.
By the end of July, I got a reminder email to tell me that I needed to review the book and a few questions to answer about the book. I read it in three or so days and then jumped right into the review. I didn’t particularly enjoy the novel but I gave them an honest review.
It’s been a week or two.. or three since I gave them my review and it is still unseen on their site. When scrolling through their website, it’s not hard to notice the amount of reviews that are hugely praising books they send out for review. There are no negative reviews in sight.
I am not all that bothered about my review not appearing, it’s nice for me to just have a recent novel to review for my blog, but I think it’s hugely unfair. Having now been a part of the flowing reviews, I no longer feel the trust I had with the site to begin with. The review-ees are all volunteered and competition winners, but there’s always that feeling that all the people who’ve sent in a negative review have been brushed away. I have not been told that my review would not feature on the website, which makes it even more uncomfortable. There is no disclaimer that if a negative review appears it won’t appear on the site. In fact, I haven’t heard back since I reviewed the book. And I think that not creating this awareness on how the website functions is really misleading.
Personally, I have always felt that no matter if reviews are super positive or negative, if the review has valid reasons, it should be shared (well, if you want to share it). I’ve read many blogs who say they don’t post negative reviews and it’s understandable why they wouldn’t want to share their thoughts. Of course, negative reviews are unwelcomed by authors. But we have likes and dislikes but the idea that everyone would like a novel is not expected. Not everyone is the same. Not everyone likes the same books. You don’t need to delve into the hate by doing several paragraphs. I hate writing negative reviews, probably as much as an author hates reading them, but I always give the positives instead of completely slaying a book. They took their time to slowly craft a novel to share, I never make it visible to them or flag them down. I always feel iffy with sharing my reviews anyway – even more so if it is the author reading it! I share for readers. Not authors.