Do You Have a Minute to Talk about Low-Star Reviews?

Owl's Post about low-star reviews on Goodreads, how bookworms+writers are an ecosystem and the percentage of human flesh in writers' heart.

In this Owl’s Post, I’ll be advocate of the devil. Well, not really. I see myself as Alice reminding to the White Rabbit that his best friend is the Mad Hatter*.

* Note that these are switchable terms. The White Rabbit reminding to the Mad Hater that his best friend is Alice is equally right.

Writers with bookworms are in a never-ending loop. An ouroboros. With one missing from the equation, we are left with an unknown. Although we are in love with letters, algebra isn’t necessarily our cup of tea. Keep it simple.


Like two friends standing in the middle of the rain with one umbrella, if we fight for the umbrella, we’ll be rain-soaked, both unhappy, surely saying things we don’t mean to each other. And if you push the other out in the rain, they won’t play anymore. What’s the fun, then? It’s like destroying a sandcastle, thinking your friends are going to keep giving you shells to help make it pretty.

Why telling you all this? Perhaps you know but there is an uprising among writers of our book club after fellow bookworms spoke up about being bullied by writers because they voiced their honest, but negative opinion on their book on Goodreads*.

* Platform dedicated first to bookworms, not writers.

Negative reviews are part of the writer’s package. Tell to people to only voice their positive thoughts is wrong.

I’m sure you have books you don’t love. Or movies. Or ice creams. Not everybody can love what you write. Or the ice cream you believe is the absolute best*. Even if it’s utterly crazy to not love coffee or cookie-dough ice cream. RULE #358: if you can’t stomach negative things say about your book, do not wander on Goodreads*.

If you break this rule, think then that’s a good idea to answer to the review: abort mission!

* Or read only 5-stars reviews to boost yourself? Get a Goodreads buddy? I don’t know.

Now. Advocate of the devil here!

I always read a hight-star review and a low-star review on Goodreads. To restore balance. But, we have negative reviews* and we have mean reviews.

* Note that the review for which our fellow bookworm was recently bullied was negative, but in no way mean!

As previously said, writers can’t ask of bookworms to only share their positive thoughts. Negative reviews are part of the adventure of having your book out in the world. However, mean reviews are not. You have to own a closet of carapaces to share your writing. But we might be cyborgs, our hearts are at 73,8% human still. ( so disappointing, I know )

Writers should stay in their garden, watering their flowers, absolutely. Still, we have eyes. Sometimes bionic. Imagine you have tea, you are all talking about the cupcakes you happily bake in the afternoon when someone says: it’s awful, it’s like eating dirt. Why did you even waste your time in the first place? Not very cinnamon to say. β€œ What is wrong exactly? ” you ask. The tears damaging my cyborg heart if we say that about my cupcakes, Charlotte. If you say instead: the icing is too sugary, the cake not enough β€˜ puffed ’. I don’t like it. the water damage is minimised. i have to replug these wires here, refill this thing with ice cream, but all is well!

Above all, this type of reviews isn’t helpful to bookworms. better not to waste your time if all you have to say is β€˜ i don’t like it, it’s poop. ’ give it its stars, pick your next read, move on. i’m not sherlock, but if you gave it low-stars i’m sure i’m going to understand you didn’t like it. what i’d like to know is why? it’s the whole point of writing reviews.

Of course, you don’t have to sugar-coat it, but it’s fairly easy to slip in mean girl territory. It’s all in the way you said things, kraken. Try to stay pineapple, ok?

* That’s okay if you say: like someone puke rainbow, though.

Last words: do not push out of in the rain your mad hatters, white rabbits or alices fellow. ( unless they try it first )


6 Replies to “Do You Have a Minute to Talk about Low-Star Reviews?”

  1. I do read low-star reviews, in fact I read these more than 5 star reviews. I read lots of indie books where the 5 stars can often be from family and friends. The low stars are from readers who don’t personally know the author and they tend to be honest about any issues with the writing/ content etc.

    1. i think 5-stars reviews are most of the time written with the heart in mind, and that’s why ultimately they are less honest. when you really, really love a book, it’s hard to sort out all these crazy feelings you have to see the flaws, even more, when the book is written by someone you know.

      it’s definitely a good thing to read some low-star reviews when it’s an indie book! 😊

  2. I try desperately not to write or read mean reviews. I want to rate books on the power of the story, not on what I think about the author or personal feelings. just the book.
    And I really hate writing low reviews. But some books are terrible. And if I’m not honest, then I’m fooling myself and anyone who reads my review.

    1. trying to not fall in mean girl territory when writing a negative review is like holding a bomb and try carefully not to blow it off 😱; it’s harder than it looks.

      but it’s like when you try to sort out your feelings when you have really, really loved a book. you can’t smash your keyboard and put a heart-eyes emoji. 😍 you have to use your brain before your heart and that’s what is hard when reviewing books.

      reading mean reviews feels like watching a train wreck. you can’t stop reading. i read somewhere that some people on goodreads actually write mean reviews on purpose for likes. which is crazy to me. why? 😢

  3. I do my best to acknowledge and read some bad and some good reviews about a book, to try and figure out whether a book could be for me, or not. In the end, I know I trust my gut and my blogging friends more than anything else, though, to pick up the books I could end up loving πŸ™‚
    I also try and be fair to the story as much as I can when I am writing a review, fair to what I am thinking and not what others are saying about the book, in a good or in a bad way. It’s the hardest thing about reviewing, but it has to be done, haha πŸ™‚ Lovely post! xx
    Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books recently posted…Books I can’t believe I haven’t read yet (and neither will you)My Profile

    1. i think balancing low-star reviews and high-star reviews is a good way to figure it out, if not the best way. i’m always wary when i see only good reviews about a book, it’s fishy. 🐟 ( like with anything else. ) but, yeah there is fellow bookworms i follow, i’d pick the book they love without blinking! i can see a ‘ pattern ‘ between what they read and what i’m reading.

      i try to focus on what’s in the book, the story in the shell, but stories overlap on reality sometimes which can lead to mean girl territory. πŸ˜•

      Thank you! 😊

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