Beyond the Blurb | Why We Should Defend Negative Reviews

Morning, bloggers!

Bloggers sometimes dread writing bad or low-rated reviews. Authors possibly fear them more. So why is writing them such a taboo topic? Frankly, it shouldn’t. As reviewers and bloggers, we make some unspoken promise to be honest with our readers. How can we not? But I’ve seen other bloggers face attacks for their honesty.

Jenn from Jenniely inspired me to write this post (thank you, deary!). She discussed the reasons why she doesn’t write negative reviews. And I agree with her. For my next discussion post though, I want to address why they’re important and why we should write them.

Here are my reasons why bloggers and readers should protect negative reviews:

A Negative One Doesn’t Make You a Dishonest Reviewer

So get that thought out of your head. Do it. Now. Yes, now, or I’ll find a way to crawl inside my laptop, drag myself through yours, and smack you with a book. So don’t make me do that. I don’t like hurting my babies. They do not make you dishonest, nor do they affect your credibility at all.


Reviews Aren’t for Authors

They’re for readers. That fact is simple. But perhaps, some readers or even bloggers believe that a negative review may be too harsh for a book they received by a publisher. Maybe, a bad review will affect their chance of requesting another title. It shouldn’t. Please, publishers, do not create this kind of toxic relationship. Bloggers, stand up for yourself and your blog. Also stand up for your brand.


Reviews Are Honest (or Should Be), Whether They’re Positive or Not

Three-star reviews typically make or break my decision to pick up or to pass up a book. I find them the most honest in a sea of four- and five-star reviews. People deliver their sincere reviews of books they’re not sure they like. So in most cases, I find them a relief. And I believe we readers should support them more often, or we’ll lose the true reason for reviews.


Writing a Negative Review Isn’t That Awful

It isn’t. It’s refreshing, liberating, and reinvigorating. If you struggled with the book but soldiered through, then you have every damn right to post that review. See it as a right of passage in your blogging career. I felt free when I wrote my first low-star review. I was scared about publishing it. But once I hit that button, I walked away from it. And I let the world see what I saw. After that, I accepted it.


You Owe It to Your Readers

Don’t let other bloggers or readers sway you to write a favourable review. Writing a negative one doesn’t discredit you. It doesn’t hurt your brand. In fact, it strengthens who you are as a blogger. So don’t ever believe that your review will damage you. So give your readers what they want from you, what they expect as a trusted blogger.


What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you write negative reviews? Are you afraid of publishing them?

12 thoughts on “Beyond the Blurb | Why We Should Defend Negative Reviews

  1. I do write negative reviews. My thought process is that the creators I love most are all extremely honest and don’t shy away from sharing their opinions–Joe Rogan, Tati Westbrook, Jenna Marbles. Honesty and the ability to speak their mind has worked extremely well for these creators, so I try to use their example and review books honestly, despite the fact that some readers may not agree with me or I may annoy a publisher. I truly believe that forced positivity (or simply avoiding negativity) comes across as inauthentic–and that is NOT what I want to offer my readers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do write negative reviews, because for me honesty is extremely important. At the same time, I like to be as constructive as possible. You make some great points in this post that I completely agree with.


  3. I recently wrote a negative review (or a ‘meh’) review of a Patrick Ness book. I love Patrick Ness so this was big for me that I wasn’t crazy about it, but it doesn’t mean I won’t read every other one of his books or angrily hate him for ruining my love for him, I just didn’t like the book! It’s completely fine to be honest about not liking something, I think it’s important, especially with negative reviews, to separate the book from the author. Just because you’re saying you hated the book, doesn’t mean you hate the author! As a book reviewer writing negative book reviews is half of the job, you can’t like everything and I don’t think bloggers should hide the things they don’t like, don’t be ashamed to not like something.


  4. I write negative reviews, but I do consider the reasons I didn’t like a book and make it very clear if it’s a personal dislike of the style of a otherwise good book. Mostly because that’s what I want to know reading reviews!


    • Also I continue to make the mistake of getting NetGalley poetry collections, because I’ve found a few really good ones on there. But when it’s bad it is so bad and poetry is subjective no matter what, and usually have so few reviews and goodreads ratings. Have absolutely not posted some of those reviews, just because my criticism of a certain “minimal” style of poetry always seems to be the same (bad writing, no feeling conveyed, to general) and I don’t know what to do about that


  5. Negative reviews are one of my favorite things to write. I think it’s important to be honest, whether I loved or hated the book. If only positive reviews were ever shared, what would be the point? Every book would just have glowing reviews and there would be no way, as a potential reader, to know what you’re in for when you pick it up.


  6. YES TO ALL. I always get nervous writing one, but also feel better about doing so. I didn’t like the book and that’s okay. I hate when I read a review and I feel like it’s a forced good review. 🤷🏻‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A very important post… I don’t write a lot of negative reviews, but I try to be honest. I guess I just avoid posting anything less than 3 star on my blog, and write a couple sentences for such books on GR. But I’ve definitely given my exact honest opinions for ARCs on Netgalley, never bothering if I’ll ever get approved again.
    I know I’m not very good at identifying problematic content, and sometimes can’t articulate why I didn’t like a particular book, so I guess I just don’t write a lot about them.


  8. It is hard to write a negative review. I don’t want to be critical but if I’ve given my time to read it I should be free to express my opinion about it and not fear being attacked by an author or their ‘friends’.


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