There is a saying that is occasionally bandied about: Haters gonna hate. It refers to those people who do not like anything but who, beyond that, will go out of their way to review, denigrate, slam (pick your verb of choice) a project simply because of the power trip it gives them. It’s true that there are some authors, musicians, film-makers who are always going to have to shrug off some individuals.
However, that is certainly not to say that everyone who gives a one or two star review is a hater and I think this is where the ground becomes a little shaky. Like one of those old logic puzzles, anyone who puts something out in the public domain needs to realise that:
All haters will give 1 or 2 star reviews BUT not all 1 or 2 star reviews will be from haters
It’s true that many reviewers don’t post low scoring reviewers. I haven’t needed to post anything less than a three recently. I guess I’ve been fortunate. Nonetheless, every time a book comes into my mailbox, I’m being asked to rule on it. And rule on it I will. If I rule that – for me – it’s just one or two stars, that doesn’t make me a hater.
Think about it – a review is subjective. It’s an opinion. You’re asking someone, “From your perspective is my book good?”. It would be a miracle of epic proportions if everyone always said yes. If someone explains why it isn’t for them,why they can only give you a low scoring review, why would you possibly throw that in their face? Why wouldn’t you run with it and say, ‘Thanks for that FREE advice’? Unless your ratings are more important to you than what you can learn from your readers… hmm…
And so of course, you know what I’m coming to… assuming that everyone who posts a 1 or 2 star review is a hater and thus lambasting them for their opinion is unlikely to do your review average any favours. After a weekend which saw another blogger roundly lambasted simply for sharing an opinion (I won’t go into it – you can read the details here in the last two paragraphs plus the original review here), I do find myself sighing and thinking ‘Who the hell would be a book blogger?’
Fortunately, then I realise how many wonderful people and amazing authors and talented bloggers I’ve met since I started this blog, I can’t help but think ‘I would. I would be a book blogger’. (And, as I just hit the 20,000 mark after a little over 4 months, darned if I’m giving up now – little dance!)
But for goodness sake, if you can’t take a review with good grace, take it silently. If you can’t take it silently, it’s time to stop sending your book out and look for a new job. As one gentleman put it perfectly succinctly in his response “Hey everyone! Don’t be dicks!“