A Writer Reviewing Books: Why I Don't Write Bad Reviews
If you’ve read any of my book reviews, you might think, hey this guy likes everything! This couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m fairly easy going, but there are plenty of books I’ve read that I didn’t like. There are plenty of books out there that I’ve started reading and then put down. There are plenty of books I’ve face palmed myself with and wanted to just ask why?
So why don’t you see those reviews? Because I don’t write them, that’s why.
I know a lot of people won’t agree with this mentality and that’s alright. This is simply my own philosophy and I wouldn’t dare to impose it on you. However, I did feel the need to share it.
So here it is…
There are two primary reasons I don’t write bad reviews, and they kind of correlate with one another.
The first is rather simple…
When I’m shopping for a new book, I rarely put much stock into bad reviews. I may read them, but usually I find difficulty finding much validity in their case. When I’m reading reviews, I’m looking for the things I like. I’m looking for what others found positive about the story. I don’t want to base my buying decision on negativity, but rather positivity. I want to go into reading the book with hope.
I feel like a lot of people who write scathing reviews understand this next part better than anyone.
Writing a book is hard work. Even if the book comes out bad, it’s hard work. Even if the book is riddled with mistakes and grammar that would make your first grade teacher do a back flip, guess what… It was still hard work. Chances are, the author poured their heart, soul, time, and energy into that book. I’m not saying that excuses sloppy work, but for me, it certainly means that I’m not going to dog it. That’s like telling someone their newborn looks like walrus with down syndrome. It’s a horrible thing to do.
So why do I say that some folks who write scathing reviews understand this better than anyone? Because some people are just jerks. I’m sure some people have good intentions, but let’s be honest, there are plenty that do not. Some people enjoy inflicting pain on others. Some people are bitter because of their own failures in life. Some are just plain jerks. Again, this is why I don’t put a lot of stock in bad reviews
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against constructive criticism, and I don’t mind it when people point out the flaws in my own writing. My books have had a few bad reviews, and it’s not about to ruin my day. That’s not true for everyone else. And as far as giving others constructive criticism, I’m only dishing that out if it’s asked of me. Otherwise, I’m minding my business.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that a lot of hard work goes into making a book. It’s not just books though. You aren’t going to see me writing bad reviews of music, paintings, or other art forms either, because I understand what goes into it. Being a writer is anything but glamorous as it is, the last thing you’ll see me is try to make it worse for someone.
Again, I don’t expect you to agree, or even follow my philosophy, this is simply my explanation for why you won’t see any bad reviews. If I publish the review of a book, you can take it with full confidence that I generally meant what I had to say, and that I enjoyed the book.
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About the Reviewer...
Phillip Drayer Duncan is the author of 4 published novels and 12 short stories. He has work published with Yard Dog Press, Pro Se Productions, and Seventh Star Press.
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