Saturday, March 1, 2014

If You're Going to Write a Negative Book Review, At Least Spell Correctly!

It's happened more often than we care to admit. The longer you are in the business, the higher your chances. Authors receive bad reviews.

It might just be one. Or ten. We know that everybody is entitled to his or her opinion. And as my husband says, "Opinions are like belly buttons, everybody has one and everybody's is different." (He also equates opinions with other body parts, but like my novels, this is a G-rated post, so I will refrain.)

When a woman wrote that she felt like goauging her eyes out while reading my debut novel, Rain Song, I must confess I was a bit bothered. As a new author, I hadn't expected such venom from another human. Then I ended up laughing as I tried to imagine what goauging eyes out looked like. Not finding a definition for goauging in any of my dictionaries, I thought that perhaps she had meant to write gouging. Gouging is a metal tool with a curved, sharp end that is used to cut and shape wood. Had that been what she felt like doing while reading my novel?

A bit gothic for this G-rated inspirational author to stomach.

Since Rain Song's debut at six years later, I still get unhappy reviews. Truthfully, I don't even read reviews for my novels anymore. In fact, I encourage new authors not to read the reviews for their books either.

You can get so bogged down in the poor reviews, you might feel like cow manure and never be able to lift a finger to write again.

That's not good.

However, I will let myself indulge in the reviews fellow authors receive. I have found some well-written unfavorable reviews on books I have enjoyed and some lengthy prose on books I wasn't as fond of, but the reviews were written with attention to detail and contained points that were thought-provoking. (To see examples of these, go to the Amazon page for The Help and look at some of those 2-star reviews.) I have also seen some poorly-written reviews for The Help as well as for lesser-known works.

Which brings me to, if you're going to write a bad review, can you at least do a little spell checking before letting it run wild and live on Amazon?

After writing a happy 5-star review for a book on journaling, I read a 2-star review for the same book. Sadly, the reviewer ended his review with, "Sorry to be such a "bad sport" about this book, but I just didn't find it worth whiled." Hmmm . . . I wonder if any book is worth whiled?

So let your voice be heard! Everybody needs an opinion! But if you are going to write a book review, particularly one that is negative, make sure you've gone over your grammar notes first.

Otherwise, you sound pretty silly.


Lou Ann Keiser said...

This is great! Now, what can I misspell? :o) Rain Song was so good I bought one as a gift. I most certainly didn't do anything strange to my eyes! Thanks for the fun post.

Tina said...

Oh, Alice. I am sure I have whined to you about some of my more "colorful" reviews. The first review I received in a national publication had my NAME misspelled before someone pointed it out and they corrected it. LOL. It is hard to take a reviewer seriously when they are just so angry about your work they can't even spell correctly. Now, like you, I barely read reviews except for when a gracious reader alerts me of one they wrote themselves. I have learned that my job is to write books and it's the only thing I can control. Funny post. I love it. Thanks for reminding us that we just have to laugh sometimes.

WritePathway said...

I love all of Alice's books, especially the one set in NC. I find her characters facinating and I love that there's a little of Alice in all her books. I guess you could say, "We click."
Ann Knowles

alice wisler said...

Lou Anne, Tina, and Ann, thanks for reading and for your comments!

Katy Lee said...

You got that "rite". :)

But seriously, I have always been a reader and it wasn't until I started writing that I even considered writing a review. It never crossed my mind. I just devoured and loved books. My favorites earned a place in my bookcase. That to me was the highest honor, even if I was the only one to ever see it there. I think most readers are in the same boat. When I think of the number of book sales compared to the number of reviews there are, the reviews barely make up one percent, and personally, I don't ever read them before buying a book.

alice wisler said...

I wonder why some are itching to write a nasty review. If I don't like a book, I usually don't bother. Like you, Katy, I didn't write reviews until my own books came out (usually because other authors I got to know through being an author asked me to write them).

Sylvia Patzold said...

Unfortunately, there is just so much bad spelling out there, that I just keep sighing. I pride myself on knowing how to spell. Thank you for the post, Alice, and for the advice. I really appreciate the laugh and the advice.

Erynn said...

I'd be happy (okay, maybe not HAPPY) to receive a horribly misspelled negative review because it reflects poorly on the poster rather than the author and probably won't be taken seriously by potential readers.
It's those really well written ones that rip you to shreds that cut to the quick.

alice wisler said...

Sylvia and Erynn, thanks for stopping by to read and comment!

Laura Maikata said...

Maybe she was just depraved. Depraved of a good spelling teacher.

(Not to be confused with DEPRIVED of... which is something different entirely.)

Ah, the humor in spelling errors.


alice wisler said...

Funny, Laura! You sometimes have to laugh!

Anonymous said...

Hehehe this is good! And I am so guilty of spelling incorrectly or not picking up on my auto correct being incorrect!