On Writing Negative Book Reviews

I’m just going to say a little something on the topic of negative reviews today. We’re not going to debate whether you should or shouldn’t post them, it’s been done to death and we each know how we feel on the subject.

My site is for my opinions, sometimes those opinions are negative but let’s remember; an opinion is NOT a fact, and therefore it cannot be wrong.

Can it be dishonest? Yes of course! We’ve all seen reviews on various products that are clearly people paid to lie, or done by friends, family or fake reviewers. Sometimes you’ll see a book on amazon where every early review is cookie cutter, same language, same phrases and quite clearly written by the same person. Outside of books I myself have had several online purchases arrive with a cheeky little card;
“Hey! Give us a 5 star review (on this truly awful product) and we will give you a £20 voucher”
Less so the case on books I think but still, there are people who believe a publisher will blacklist them for negativity and will give a glowing review regardless of how they truly felt.
Most of us aren’t the type do that, and I can promise you I am not.

Personally I choose to post reviews on almost all ARCs I receive and read to the end- whether or not I liked or disliked them. What annoys me may not be a problem for you, and it’s your decision on whether to purchase after reading my review.
I appreciate an author’s heart and soul goes into writing, but once you publish you’ve become a business, and with customers comes feedback. I try to ensure I’ve been constructive, I never make it personal and of course I don’t tag an author, lets not be cruel.

I also don’t review or rate a DNF, if I didn’t finish the book in it’s entirety then I don’t feel I should comment beyond explaining why. There might have been something amazing coming that would have changed my final thoughts, I didn’t finish it so I don’t know.

All this being said, I’ve discovered something interesting this year….

My highest viewed posts are reviews of books I have disliked!

You guys love to read negativity, sad but true. My ‘worst’ Book Review; The Sanitorium- Sarah Pearse has pulled in a 1000% increase in views vs all other posts across 6 months, after puzzling over why for a long time I posted another rather brutal Book Review; This Fragile Earth- Susannah Wise and noticed the same trend immediately.

Will this affect my reviews going forward? Absolutely not. I’m not here for the clicks, I’m here to give an honest reflection of my thoughts on a book. I would much prefer you all read my reviews of highly recommended books (which far outweigh the less flattering posts I assure you), and my reviews will remain honest.

I just… am surprised to see such vitriol toward negative reviews on book blogs and yet… everyone loves to read them!

You’re a strange bunch 🙂

Author: Roxanne Michelle

Dramatic, curly-haired wannabe writer from a nowhere town in Somerset. Stop-starter of all projects great and small. Here to talk books, film, mental health and lifestyle.

4 thoughts on “On Writing Negative Book Reviews”

  1. Very interesting indeed that the negative reviews get more attention. I wonder though if they transfer over to people actually reading the books – which I would guess is no. I’ve read the two reviews you’ve linked in the post and, although good premises for stories, the review put me off from checking them out myself. I get it – these are opinions – and there have been many instances where I have loved something someone has hated and vice versa. Thank you for your posts and reviews.


  2. It’s so difficult for me to publish a negative review! I’d rather DNF the book and avoid the issue! On my blog, I choose to only review books I can wholeheartedly endorse. But I rate everything on Goodreads and I will post a negative review there….although I still hate doing it. I have found that I get more likes and comments on my negative reviews on goodreads than on positive reviews. I guess negative reviews are entertaining?! I just don’t want to make authors cry! A review is so subjective. Great pst!


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