Friday, 24 February 2012
The Amazon Community
In the Blogosphere there are pretty often discussions on if we bloggers have to write negative reviews. Should we post them? Do we hurt the authors? Almost everyone agrees; negative reviews are needed sometimes, and if they stay respectful to the author, why not? (Discussion: Should Bloggers Post Negative Reviews?)
I have had some run-ins with authors that commented on my review on Goodreads, but it always stayed pretty polite. If it was about a mistake in my review, I would say sorry, I'll correct that. And if it wasn't, I would point out that it was my personal opinion. I have also emailed some authors when the book really, really wasn't for me, and politely declined to write a review.
On community sites like Goodreads and in the book-blogging community, negative reviews are just a part of life. Just like the raving 5-star ones. But on Amazon I have found out that this isn't the case. I found out the hard way.
I got called names. I "had to get over myself", "no one is interested in my opinion" and "can only write overly critical rants and nothing else". I actually felt so bad about that 2-star review that I was thinking about taking it down from Amazon. I asked a few of my bloggish friends, and I'm glad they advised me to keep it up. The review was a rant, yes, but I didn't say anything bad at all. I reported the person that was hateful, and the comment got deleted.
Now I have added another review, this time a 3-star one on Anne Rice's new book. If you're interested, you can read it here. For some reason, I get a massive amount of downvotes, again. I don't say anything bad or condescending. It just not my thing. And it isn't just me; apparently Amazon customers don't find negative reviews helpful. About 80% of the reviews on all the books on Amazon are 5-star reviews. There are barely critical ones, and if there are bad reviews, they get downvoted into the ground.
It makes me a bit sad that speaking your mind isn't appreciated there. I want to support authors by posting my reviews on Amazon (as the saying goes - even bad publicity is good publicity), but I'm starting to doubt my decision.
What do you think? Do you post your reviews on Amazon? Even the negative ones? Have you had negative responses to your reviews?