- Posted by Johanna on March 4, 2008 at 8:03 am
- Category: LinkBlogging
I’ve been wondering lately if I might write more negative reviews. I tend to focus on books that I like… I do think I might add more pans to the mix. If I’m excited by a solicitation and say so, then find the actual book kind of dreadful, I try to say so at least briefly, if only to set the record straight.
His reasons for positive reviewing are all good (although edited out of my quote — go to the link), and they are harder to write. (And thus more of a stretch and challenge.) Especially if you try to avoid falling back on your same favorite adjectives, whatever they are.
I would like to see him write more of the other kind, particularly in the situation he’s talking about, where promotion isn’t double-checked afterwards. It’s really hard to know whether you’re not hearing about a particular title because everyone’s got things they want to talk about more, or whether they’re embarrassed about being wrong about promoting it at ordering time, or whether there are political reasons not to say a particular emperor not only has no clothes but has fallen flat on his face.
I don’t think I’ve seen many of the type where the reviewer had high expectations that were disappointed. I see plenty of cases where by the time a book they’ve praised comes out, they’ve moved on to something else (so no follow up), or plenty where they got what they expected, or even some where they were pleasantly surprised. All of those are easier to talk about.
I know there are books where I want to say “we expected good things, and we got THIS piece of stinky carp?” But when you look around and feel like the only one willing to say it, it can be discouraging. (Even the loudest of us are still online, the traditional refuge of the shy.) Better to keep silence as the better part of virtue. Except that that’s not helpful to the customer with ever-expanding choices and a continually limited budget.
Anyway, the reasons to review apply just as much to negative reviews: you want to inform the reader to avoid bad books, you should educate them as to why they’re bad, and you can start a discussion about where the book went wrong (idea, execution, marketing, publication). So David, I look forward to seeing more from you — of whatever stripe.