To Slag Off or Not To Slag Off

A few days ago there was talk about newly published books on my usual radio station over here in Germany.

Someone introduced the new thriller of a famous female crime author and really had nothing good to say about it. He slagged her writing style off, even musing her sentences could be the work of a fourteen-year-old.

Bear in mind this is an author who has written countless bestselling thrillers and has millions of fans all over the world.

Then, a few days back, I was ordering a book of one of my favourite authors from Amazon.co.uk. I noticed the very few reviews so far and what struck me as odd was that more than a third of the reviews were one star reviews.
Even as it was not my book I had to swallow hard while glancing at the statistics.

Frankly, to this day I don’t understand why someone would, after reading a book you don’t like, go to the lengths to scream bloody murder and even bother to sit down and write a one star review. I don’t mean the fuckwits who write ‘Didn’t arrive in time’ or ‘Package damaged’, I mean the people who really go into detail when explaining why they hated the book so much.

If I don’t like a book I might stop early on and rather return it right away or give it to someone who might enjoy it. We’ve all had those books. We’ve all had expectations for a book and have been let down, or we couldn’t warm to the main character, or we simply didn’t expect so much/less sex/swearing/violence in the story.

But for me it’s always ‘Why bother?’ if I didn’t get along with a book. I might rant about it to friends but never openly in public. Even before I became an author I’d have never thought about wasting the time to write a bad review.

We authors put a lot of fucking bloody time and effort and heart and soul into our stories. They are our babies. Even if you think our kid is fat and ugly and not right in the head – it’s still our kid! It hurts to hear how shitty you think it is and it’s especially disheartening for younger and/or debut authors.

Having said that, authors should acquire a thick skin early on and should definitely be aware that what we create is not for everyone and that what one reader loves the other will loathe. People have different tastes and they want various things – and that is perfectly okay.

Your favourite author whose last book you loved so much – the creator of the book you hated didn’t put less work into his/her story, it just wasn’t for you but maybe the next one will be?

It can’t hurt to treat each other with a bit more respect, can it? There is too much hate flying across the screens of the Internet as it is already.

The community of the readers and writers all want the same things: a story to enjoy, new worlds to delve into, great characters and – most of all – just bloody good entertainment.

Be nice to each other.

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