Oh my god! How dare you review my literary masterpiece, you’re not even a proper reviewer! You’re just someone unqualified person off the street who read my book!
So, some authors out there seem to think that it’s okay to look down on “unprofessional reviews”. I don’t know WTF an “unprofessional review” is because, frankly, unless you’re working a fulltime job as a reviewer for The Times Literary Supplement or something, everything else probably counts as unprofessional, right?
I can’t remember the last time I bought a book based on a scholarly review. Because, let’s be honest, they’re mostly boring. Not only don’t I care if the journey of the MC can be read as a revisionist reinterpretation of Marxist-feminist postmodern theory, I don’t really understand what that means. (Note: probably nothing. I just strung some words I remembered from university together.)
Scholarly reviews are interesting, well, if you’re a scholar. But what about if you just want to know if you’ll like a book or not?
And that’s where all those “unprofessional reviews” come in. Tell me how much you loved a character. Tell me how you wanted to throw your Kindle across the room. Tell me how smexy it was, or how it gave you chills. Because that’s the stuff I want to know about, before I shell out some money for a book.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep on saying it: A reviewer doesn’t need to justify why they liked or hated a book. Either it worked for them or it didn’t. As an author, you shrug and move on. And you know what? It doesn’t even matter. Because for every person who thinks what you wrote was a steaming pile of crap, there will be another one who loved it and wants to have its babies.
And what’s with all this passive-aggressive bullshit lately about “Oh, you just said you hated it, and didn’t give any constructive criticism, that’s not a real review”. Well, a reviewer doesn’t have to give an author constructive criticism. Hell no. The ship’s already sailed on that one, buckaroo, because that was the job of your beta readers first, and your editor second.
And while it’s nice to get a review that tells you exactly what a reviewer liked (or hated), again, that’s not their job. They bought your book. They can paper the cat’s litter tray with it if they really want. And what do you care? They bought your book.
So, authors, take a deep breath, step away from the computer, put the crazy down, and let me sum this rant up for you:
1. A reader does not need to have a degree in Literary Criticism in order to have a valid opinion.
2. A reviewer does not have to be a paid reviewer in order to have a valid opinion.
3. People review books because, generally, they love reading books and then discussing them with other people who also love reading books. Not because they're part of a secret global plot to discredit you. (You're not that important.)
4. Stop whinging and go and write something.