Compassion, respect and kindness are human qualities common to all regardless of any faith position. In this post, I’m making a plea for these three things in the online world of books.
Recently I learned from my fellow authors of something very sad which is happening on Goodreads – which I had previously been totally unaware of. See this article by Anne Rice here.
I have been aware that the dark side of human nature does indeed find outlets for expression on the internet but I had up to now been unconscious of the fact that this affects the world of reviewing books.
In today’s publishing scene, Amazon reviews are of great importance to a writer – though I sometimes wish they weren’t. The fact remains a new review can lift an author’s spirits, and a lack of reviews can (however mistakenly) feel like rejection. But it came as a great surprise to me to learn that some people are using their membership of book review sites as an opportunity to express spite, envy and malevolence to others.
I love writing books, reading books and reviewing books.
Every book review I post online is authentic. It has never occurred to me to ever post a spurious review or a one star rating simply to hurt someone else.
My own personal rules of book reviewing are as follows:
- I never post one star reviews. If a book genuinely warrants such a rating, I would be most unlikely to even read it all the way through, and I would simply choose not to post a review at all.
- I generally give 4 or 5 star reviews and sometimes 3 star. Perhaps I’m over-generous with my star-ratings. Or perhaps it’s down to the fact that I have an instinct to choose books I know I’ll enjoy reading.
- I write reviews because I enjoy it; never to criticise, condemn or discourage.
As authors, we write for love –
- for love of expressing oneself through the written word, because we have something to say and because we feel compelled to write – regardless of worldly success
- for love of creating characters, allowing our imaginations free rein with our created world writing dialogues, entering new worlds.
So I hope that book reviewers would also write for love.
“Love”, by the way, means respect for others, authenticity and honesty: and it includes constructive criticism. It also means reading a book all the way through before writing your opinion of it on a permanent online platform like Goodreads or Amazon.
If you’re an author to whom online reviews are important, I’d love to have your comments on this subject.