SusanCasual
Susan Violante Managing Editor

Let’s face it, being a reviewer does not mean liking all books. There is a big chance that a book will not live up to the expectation of a reviewer, and thus result in a negative review. Other books simply do not even meet publishing standards in writing, editing, or production, in which case reviewers have trouble even completing the book. Being an author and a reviewer, I get both sides of the coin, and I have written many editorials from the author’s point of view about receiving a negative review of their title. This time, I want to focus on the reviewer’s end in hopes of helping reviewers write honest negative reviews while remaining respectful and professional. Here are some tips on writing negative reviews:

  • Do not let it get personal or be biased. No title is ever imposed on a reviewer. Actually, they pretty much review only what they choose for themselves. There is no need to take the author’s opinions personally and reflect that in the review. A review should be just an opinion of the storyline, the writer’s craft, and the book’s production. If a reviewer has strong religious convictions and is not open to other opinions, for example, then that reviewer should keep their feelings about it away from the review, or stop reviewing titles under the Religion genre.
  • Develop Communication and Writing Skills. Being a reviewer is not all about reading; it has a lot to do with communication and the ability to express an opinion to an audience in writing. The success of a reviewer is actually measured on the size of their following audience, not on the number of reviews under their belt. This fact indicates the importance of the quality of their writing skills. If a reviewer communicates honestly and skillfully, the audience will look for that opinion before deciding to purchase a book. Readers want an impartial opinion about titles that will communicate to them the positive and negatives of the book as a product so that they can decide whether to invest their money in it or not.
  • Enjoy Reviewing. There are two kinds of reviewers. The ones that read because they love it, and get into reviewing; and the ones that won’t read unless they are reviewing. To the second type I say, please just stop. As a bookworm (writing and reading), I got into reviewing because I not only love to read, I also love to write, and even more, I love talking about what I read! Because I am having fun doing reviews, I will always find a positive and a negative on everything I read. Actually, sometimes I only find positives…but my point is that since I am reviewing only what I like to read, I will always be able to find a positive worth mentioning in my reviews, even when writing a negative review.

Even if the book had flaws, or did not live up to expectations, a reviewer needs to be respectful of the author’s efforts by choosing their words carefully when pointing out those flaws. There is no reason to be offensive when being honest, and reviewers who are passionate about books and reviewing will enjoy the process of writing a review that will be honest, yet respectful.

Reviewers have the power to convince others whether or not to purchase a product. There is a big responsibility with this power, so why not use it to offer constructive criticism in ways that help an author improve, instead of being offensive when delivering a negative review? To learn more about becoming a book reviewer visit: http://readerviews.com/become-a-reviewer/.

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