What To Do With That Horrible Book Review You Wrote

Oh. Hello there. I hope you were not coming here to find the answer to what you should do with a horrible book review you wrote, because I have no idea. I actually was hoping someone could tell me.

As I have stated many times, it is not my intention to destroy anyone’s writing career, or write horrible things about their writing abilities. But when you pick up a book, and it was very poorly constructed, how do you avoid that huge problem while focusing your review on the underlying story that was actually pretty good?

If I post a review that I loved it, or even liked it, I destroy my reputation immediately. Trust me, if you saw this book and I gave it a top review and rating, you would think I was off my rocker. Now, the fact that this story had a few top ratings on Amazon also tells me that someone had their family members post reviews for their story. There were no ‘bad’ reviews for this particular story, or even reviews with much needed and deserved constructive criticism.

Book reviews are a touchy subject, especially to the writers who have no control over how the reader is going to interpret what they wrote. Did they understand the point you were trying to make? Did they misunderstand the dialect? Did they not realize the story was intentionally written like that? and on and on and on again…

One of my favorite quotes is about the fact that no two people will ever read the same story. I find it amazing that no one else read Harry Potter and got the same, identical things from it that I did. That is the beauty of books!

As a footnote, I do not want any of my recent authors who have sent me books or whose books I have purchased to panic. This post is NOT about you. I have had a couple people contact me within the last couple of days and I do not want them to think I am talking about their story 🙂 This is a story that I found on my own while I was looking for someone else’s book.

So at this point I am going to hold unto this review. This book is not a new release and I do not believe that more people will purchase this story, and that I did not prevent that from happening by holding unto this review. I want to do some more digging to see if I can find more ‘true’ reviews of this story and then go from there.

13 thoughts on “What To Do With That Horrible Book Review You Wrote

  1. petalhaus December 2, 2014 / 1:32 am

    So weird, I was wondering the exact same thing these last few days upon finishing a book that I had thought was going to be pretty good (considering the amazon reviews) but turned out to be kinda/very bad. I always feel guilty for posting a negative review too :/

    • IrishReader December 2, 2014 / 4:30 am

      I have only posted one (maybe two) scathing reviews. And even at that point I did not name the author or the story. The most recent one I wrote I did mention both. Thanks for reading my post!

  2. Roe's Cottage December 2, 2014 / 2:06 am

    I think you can write an honest review without being completely negative; if you were to include examples of ill-constructed sentences etc then people can judge for themselves. You shouldn’t be too swayed by other reviews… Go with your gut (if you can avoid being too cruel!).
    The old quote is that everyone has a book in them. That may be true but they not be the best person to write it! A good story is sometimes enough (I could tolerate the poor writing in ‘The DaVinci Code’ because I became interested in the premise) but the best books often don’t have very much of a storyline… The writing is what makes the story engaging.
    The real test is whether you can re-read the book and still enjoy it. If you can, the ‘lust’ for the story, has evolved into ‘love’ for the writing. My favourite book is ‘Watership Down’. It’s a great story, but I have re-read it at least once every year (more recently via audio book) for the last 27 years so I know the story off by heart, but I still read every chapter, just because I find the language and writing so enjoyable.

    • IrishReader December 2, 2014 / 4:28 am

      Great points! I agree not everyone should write, even if they have a start to tell. At that point some good assistance is crucial. Thanks for stopping by!

    • IrishReader December 2, 2014 / 4:39 pm

      Great points Roe! Books that I enjoy, I will read several times. I agree that not everyone should write, it is an art-form and not everyone is cut out to do it. I would love to be able to draw great pictures, but I know I can’t. Drawing stick figures and calling it art is not going to cut it 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

      • Roe's Cottage December 3, 2014 / 2:23 am

        Thanks! Creative writing is art… And so is good editting!! Something lots of self publishers could learn to their own benefit 😉

  3. jan December 2, 2014 / 12:39 pm

    You bring a conundrum for any writer trying to be a support to others. The way I figure, there are enough critics in the world who make a living giving their honest opinion that I never worry about reviewing a book and giving it more stars than it deserves. Besides, I’ve never bought a book based on reviews. I generally read the first couple of pages and make my decision.

    • IrishReader December 2, 2014 / 4:40 pm

      I agree Jan. I have not bought a book based on the reviews it had. I have to like the synopsis, and generally the cover needs to get my attention so I will even pick it up and see what it is about. Thanks for commenting!

  4. jcarsonwrites December 2, 2014 / 2:05 pm

    I wrote a review for Twilight a few weeks ago and I had this exact issue. I think there are so many great aspects to that book, but also many things I didn’t like and I was scared to say something wrong. I posted the review, but it’s something I haven’t stopped thinking about and I’ve considered re-writing it. This was great and I’m really happy to know that other people have this issue! 🙂

    • IrishReader December 2, 2014 / 4:43 pm

      Writing a less-than-fabulous review for a book that has worldwide popularity is a tough one! I personally loved all of the Twilight books, but also know it is not everyone’s cup of tea. I think it is great that you posted the review and I hope you choose to leave it as it is. Editing it will change the review from your initial “gut instinct” feeling about it. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Sharron December 3, 2014 / 1:43 pm

    Yes, you always have to be honest, If not you have no credibility. Thanks for have integrity!

  6. Adan Ramie December 4, 2014 / 9:51 pm

    Honest reviews are important in helping prospective buyers make informed choices. I think we can all agree that we would rather an honest review than a lie.

  7. Walt July 12, 2018 / 9:25 pm

    I tend to review comics moreso than books, but same sort of thing…I tend to try to acknowledge the intended audience, or different sorts of views…I myself may not have enjoyed it, or I might know that there is stuff that someone with more of a “history” with the series might appreciate, so I’ll say so, and contextualize my negatives. Something that’s a negative to ME may actually be a positive to someone else; definitely a benefit to getting to “know” a reviewer, their style and preferences, and then knowing how much weight to put behind their review.

    I like to think I’d “recuse” (for lack of better phrasing) myself regarding an outright review of something from a friend/family member.

    At minimum, I find a lot of value in a reviewer “admitting bias,” acknowledging where they’re coming from in a review. I dunno…I’m rambling at this point.

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