Saturday, June 1, 2013

Book Destroyers

Okay, I need to rant. This could get ugly. Because once I start, I won't stop until I've had my say. I'm giving you fair warning. 

This rant is about negative reviews. I've seen so many bad reviews on Goodreads for books. I've read them. Sometimes I've even agreed with them. BUT before you say anything, I'm not talking about the constructive criticism reviews, the ones that give honest feedback even if they didn't like the book. THOSE reviewers are the ones who understand that while they didn't like the book, it doesn't mean someone else will hate it, too. They don't trash talk books, don't say ugly things about the author. If they didn't like the book, they give reasons why, and some also talk about the things that they did like. Reviews filled with hate are very different from reviews filled with genuine honesty. There's a fine line between constructive criticism and just being plain mean. Just make sure you don't cross that line. 

It's the people who use Goodreads for their own personal vindictive views that just piss me off. Like right now. I've been reading through some of the comments about Lauren Kate's new novel, Teardrop, which, by the way, is not even out yet. People are already trash talking the book, saying how it's the new Fallen series and it's just going to be recycled garbage that they won't read. Those people are also the ones who marked the book as "to-read." My God, if you are already judging the book based on who wrote it, then why the hell did you mark it as to-read?! And you know they will read it, too, just so they can tear it to shreds to justify their own sense of a "good" book. 

Here are some examples of comments about Teardrop on Goodreads. 

"The summary sounds bland, and doesn't appeal to me at all but mainly because I've lost interest in teen books. However, there's a chance I'll check it out." 

"I actually came across this while looking at how much the Fallen series goes for on Ebay (gotta make money somehow). Anyway, I'll probably pick this book up eventually, if I see it in a bargain goods store. The cover is gorgeous and it'd look lovely on my shelf."

"I may pick this one up. But I don't know how many more of Lauren Kate's books I can sit through without wanting to throw them against the wall."

Seriously?! People will say and do anything to get attention on Goodreads. And this same thing is happening over and over again. It's pathetic, spiteful, malicious. It's in poor taste. I wonder if the people who made these comments actually read, or if they just like spoiling an author's success. I can't even imagine how Lauren Kate deals with the backlash of the people who don't like her stories, because they seem to love tearing her books down as much as they can. It's the same thing with Cassandra Clare (who is also facing "plagiarism" backlash for her two series). ALSO notice how all three of the above comments say that they'll pick up the book and read it. People are fucking hypocrites. Not to mention the fact that the damn book hasn't even been published yet. Don't judge a book by its cover? Well, don't judge a book by its author. Every author can get better, do better than their last work. As they grow as a writer, so do their books. 

This rant started when I read a status by an author on Facebook that brought the issue to light with me. She used to go through and read every single review on Goodreads, liked them, made sure that her readers knew that she appreciated all of the feedback they give her. But she's stopped doing that now, because of the people who take advantage of Goodreads and use it for verbally destroying an author's hard work. And it's so sad to see that. It's hard enough to get published, to get your books out there for people to read. But to see your heart and soul being ripped to shreds because of a person's review is disheartening. Yeah, not everyone will like your book, but it's still hard to read those negative words and feel like you're on the right path and you're doing what you're passionate about. I hope to God none of the authors on Goodreads have that feeling. It takes guts and a strong will to publish in this day and age, where everyone's opinions are shoved down your throats. 

As an aspiring writer, I struggle with the thought that, when I publish, I'll have to go through all of this too. And it hurts me when I see all of that hatred and vindictiveness in reviews. Because of all this, I'm trying to push it all behind me and just write. I just have to remember that I'm writing for a particular audience, and that is the audience who will like my books. They are the only readers that I'm striving to please, as well as myself. I know not everyone will like my books, and I'm okay with that, because it's expected. 

As a famous writer stated: "Books are well written or badly written. That is all." Oscar Wilde was right. Books are not just good or bad; it is the READER'S view that differs. Just because you didn't like the book, doesn't mean someone else didn't either. That's the beauty of books. People take books in differently, feel them differently, react to them differently. And that is how we can have all of these wonderful genres: romance, historical, fantasy. It's how there are so many writers out there! Each of them appeals to different readers, and not one book is the same as another. 

But using Goodreads, or Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, to trash talk a book that you didn't like is not constructive, not helpful. Reviews are to HELP other readers decide if they'd like a book or not. They are not there to push people away, or to satisfy your need to build yourself up while tearing someone's hard work down. 

Being spiteful will get you nowhere in life.