Who the hell would be a book blogger?


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!

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Donna Brown

Ever developing teacher and learner (online and offline!). Avid reader/audiobook listener, fan of podcasts, prone to the odd Netflix binge. Mum to six crazy and incredible rescue cats. Occasional writer of short stories and poetry.
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  1. Pingback: Melanie Saxton (
  2. Yep – I know this one unfortunately.
    The truly horrible thing is that I know friends that are traddie that are now refusing to come over to Indie, because it's been ruined for the community as a whole.
    What's even worse is that, let's face it, it's a minority that are doing it. But it's a massively outspoken minority.
    There's lots that could be said about this, but I guess the worst is that none of it takes hold. The internet is amazing – it's opened up opportunities for writers. And some writers just don't *deserve* that opportunity. Which is a bit of a bummer really.

    1. Thanks Kai – I know I posted something similar recently about being polite etc but when I saw this it just sickened me.

      I repeat my previous mantra: Would you be happy if your PR company was acting like that on your behalf? Then why the heck would you do it yourself?!

      I do think authors underestimate the community of bookbloggers. It's easy to assume that one blogger is no great loss but these days being nasty to one will spread like wildfire!

  3. Pingback: (D) Kai Wilson ( (
  4. "All haters will give 1 or 2 star reviews BUT not all 1 or 2 star reviews will be from haters" – I liked that!! Also you final conclusion. After all excuses are always easier than admitting our own failure:)

  5. So very true!

    I am posting my first 2 in a VERY Long while on Friday. I don't think I was being hateful, mean, or anything of that nature. I was honest about what did not work for me and concluded saying the book will work for a LOT of people.

    I love that quote “All haters will give 1 or 2 star reviews BUT not all 1 or 2 star reviews will be from haters” because it is very true! I want to like/love/go overjoyed over every book I read. Unfortunatly occasionally one just doesn't do it for me. I read 200 books a year—there is hardly a way that it would be possible for me to read all well-written/well-told stories :)

    1. Thanks Felicia. I've yet to meet a blogger who posts nasty reviews out of spite – who has the time? I'm sure there are naysayers and downvoters, as there are in all areas of life but mostly we're just booklovers trying to share our thoughts, right?

      Good luck with your blogging!

  6. Adding a link to three additional articles that approach this subject from an excellent stance:

    Why the indie community might fail before it even gets a proper foothold: http://authorinterrupted.com/why-the-indie-commun

    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly… aka stuff about Critics: http://maydecemberpublications.com/reviews_by_us/

    Authors Behaving Badly: http://can-uh.com/blog/?p=406

    Thank you to Kai Wilson (author of the top link) for also sharing the second link!


    1. I wish it was something positive I'm sharing, but, you're welcome :)
      Sad times that we're all having to come out in 'behave yourselves' disclaimers though. And I can't buy into the argument I've seen on some conversations over this that said 'I haven't experienced it, where's your thick skin now'. And I'm *amazed* at some of the 'I'm only a humble reader' responses. Some have come direct to my email for fear of reprisal, and that's just sad.

      1. Very sad indeed.

        To be honest, I'm kind of tired of being told 'There there, ignore them, they'll go away' or 'Well you put yourself out there as a blogger so suck it up'.

        I have more and more empathy and understanding with those who have walked away from indie. Not only are you at constant risk of an ear-bashing but when you do speak up about it a great number of authors suddenly goes silent as if you're the one causing a problem. I'm afraid the 'head in the sand, ignore them and they'll go away' option is not for me. No one should have to sit there and take abuse and everyone should have the right to expect people to speak up in outrage against this kind of behaviour.

  7. Authors should have to take the pledge before publishing: I do hereby solemnly swear to never publicly respond to a negative review for any reason whatsoever. Period.

    I've taken the oath and encourage all authors to do the same. Nothing good can come of it.

  8. I love this post! I recently had not the author but another blogger slam one of my reviews for The Night Circus. She really laid into me with her opinions and I actually couldn't believe how rude she was about the whole thing. Reviews are a matter of personal opinion and that's it. Thanks so much for highlighting this!

    Megan @ Storybook Love Affair

    1. Thanks Megan – wow, as if we didn't have enough to fear?!

      Thanks so much for dropping by and good luck with the blog. I'll be swinging by to check it out and promise I'll respect your opinions!!

      All the best

  9. Great post! I very rarely give 1 or 2 stars but I have given them before and I try to be as nice about it as possible. Some low ratings I have seen on goodreads can get a bit out of control and obnoxious in their book bashing but I think as long as you try to keep the review professional, there is no need for an author to get upset over you not personally liking their work. Not everyone is going to be a fan and that is just how it goes. But sometimes you end up with the above example where the reviewer didn't do anything wrong and gets backlash from the author. It's unfortunate that these things happen. I hope you don't mind but I am adding your hater quote to my blog. I think it should be the blogger slogan of 2012!

  10. Great post – And timely for me b/c I was just this afternoon venting among friends about people who write insulting personal comments about you and your work on Amazon who are "anonymous" or use a screen name that you can't track down to find out who it was (which I like to do b/c if it is someone legit then I take their comments to heart and learn from them, but if it is some person that writes negative reviews all over Amazon, then I can just brush off their comments).

    So I vented privately w/ friends, but I didn't vent in reply to the reviewer's comment because that would do no good. I just let it be.

    What I've started doing is reply with a comment to each Amazon review I get, saying "thank you for taking the time to review my book. I appreciate all feedback." It just reminds me that being polite and gracious is the way to go.

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