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Can only certain people write reviews?

29 Mar 2013
So recently for the first time ever someone left a negative comment on my blog. It wasn't in response to anything i posted and was simply left on my about me page rather than a post. It wasn't particularly nasty but it did upset me slightly and i found it uncalled for so i deleted it. I soon came to regret it as there was some things i would have liked to respond to and other parts would make interesting topics for a discussion post.

So i decided that i would write a post covering some of the things the comment brought up. Some of the opinions are similar to things we have seen in the past when literature reviewers for big magazines have had a go at bloggers. The writer of the comment is fully entitled to their own opinion and won't be the only person out there who thinks this. This is what it is in the exact wording.

"For someone with so little time, are you actually reviewing the books objectively? Does not sound like it. As a New Adult fan, you are probably biased in your other reviews. You are only 19 and wet behind the ears. Do you write and have ever been published? I think not, so I guess you're an expert. (sarcasm) If I were you I'd get more experience before you can actually review honestly and objectively or better yet have a good swim in the Thames."
 
So statement number 1 "For someone with so little time, are you actually reviewing the books objectively? Does not sound like it.". This i can only assume refers to the fact that i am currently not accepting review requests due to having a very large review pile and also i have University exams at the moment. Yes i am busier than usual. Because of that i have recently only been writing one review a week; that gives me more than enough time to objectively review the book. It isn't like i am churning out 20 reviews a week.


Statement number 2 "As a New Adult fan, you are probably biased in your other reviews." Yes i am a fan of New Adult books. I am also a huge fan of YA, dystopian novels, fantasy and paranormal romance amongst others. It is possible to be a fan of more than one type of book and i generally only review books that fall into categories and genres that i greatly enjoy. Also i kind of want to mention that despite running the New Adult book club and having recently reviewed lots of New Adult contemporary romances all of my top 10 favourite books are in fact fantasy. My number one favourite author is Brandon Sanderson and my all time favourite books are his Mistborn trilogy. Just because i love New Adult books does not in anyway mean i hate every other type of book.

Statement number 3 "You are only 19 and wet behind the ears." I am 19, but as mentioned earlier i review lots of New Adult books and these are aimed at my age. Surely the opinion of the target audience should count? Yes i may not have the worldly experience of someone in their 40's but New Adult books are aimed mainly at readers between 18 and 25 and surely the opinions of the intended readers of the book should count more than anyone else. In the same way i think that despite having a wide appeal, reviews by 13 - 18 year olds are the ones that should count the most when it comes to Young Adult books.

Statement number 4 "Do you write and have ever been published? I think not, so I guess you're an expert. (sarcasm) If I were you I'd get more experience before you can actually review honestly and objectively or better yet have a good swim in the Thames." So just because i am not a published author i am not allowed to say if i think a book is good or not? Books are for anyone and everyone. Most readers probably are not authors themselves; you don't have to write to enjoy reading. I will put my hands up and admit that i probably couldn't write a book myself and nor do i know everything there is to know about literature. However that doesn't mean i can't enjoy a book and tell people why i liked it. When i read reviews i want to know what people like me thought about a book as that allows me to predict the most accurately if i too will like the book. Most readers are not authors so surely the opinion of another non author will be the most useful.

I have never ever claimed to be an expert. Do i try to know everything there is to know about book? Yes. Do i know everything? No of course i don't. I have a relatively small book blog and i do this entirely for fun. My 100+ followers is nothing compared to bloggers who have many thousands, in fact most bloggers i know have followers than me but that doesn't mean i am not entitled to my own opinion. I love to discuss books and share my thoughts and my blog is a place to do that. No one has to listen to everything i say and take it for gospel. In fact i would recommend against that. If you think a book sounds amazing then buy it even if i gave it 1 star. I have read amazing books that people who's opinions i really respect gave very negative reviews to. What one person may love another may hate. This is just my place to share my opinions. If we have a similar taste in books then stick around and my reviews may help you discover a new favourite. If you don't then you don't need to listen to anything i have to say; I respect that people have different opinions and everyone likes different things.

My reviews are always my honest opinions just like they are with the majority of bloggers. I also let nothing affect those opinions; not where i got the book from, its genre or even how well i know the author. I have given complete strangers books 5 stars whilst giving those by authors i would possibly consider friends only 3. I think i always review honestly and objectively. Just because someone thinks differently about a book does not mean they are lying or biased or are clueless. It just means that they like different things.

I doubt the person who wrote this original comment is reading this. They obviously think my opinions are worthless and they said that i should just jump into a river so i highly doubt they are following my posts and reviews. If by some chance they are then i respect your opinions even if mine are somewhat different. It also seems like i have offended you in some way in which case i am sorry even though i cannot think of anything i might have done.

To everyone else reading, do you think people who are just readers and not authors can write a review? Do you agree that surely the best person to ask if a book is enjoyable to read is another readers? If you agree with this commenter then please explain why, i am interested to hear more reasoning behind this kind of opinion. Also can everyone please by nice and civil in the comments. Both to me and each other. Also don't worry, i don't plan to write a big post every time someone says something negative :P This just brought up a few things i wanted to talk about.

30 comments:

  1. Oh I would have just told them to eff off. Don't let crap like that get you down, it's pathetic and not worth your time. They sound insecure and with little to do to write baseless comments like that. Bleugh

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    1. Thanks. I think some people just purposefully try to hurt others for no reason.

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  2. I think that people who are just readers can write reviews, I would think you are getting a more honest review from them. Its interesting to find out what they liked and didn't like.
    I have just started to write reviews for the books that Im reading, I don't say much, but I want others to know what I think.

    In relation to Statement number 3 "You are only 19 and wet behind the ears." Well that just rubbish. Im fully trained and I have been working with children for over 20yrs, just because I have yet to have my own doesn't mean I know any less, that someone who has.

    I don't know maybe they they are just jealous, and very small minded. You good a great job so don't worry.

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    1. Thank you Derna, i love hearing what the average reader thinks about books. I prefer their opinions to that of anyone else because it gives me the best idea of if i might like the book.

      Keep reviewing :)

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  3. Wow! This comment was completely unnecessary! I'm sorry but I don't understand why people think that their rude comments are needed or wanted! I can't stand people who sit behind a computer and bash someone because they have an opinion that is different from their own! I like seeing reviews from readers! If i only saw reviews from authors It wouldn't seem as genuine... I like knowing what people who are my age or close to my age think about the books I want to read or have already read! And authors want people to read and review their books, as well as publishers... That is why they want book bloggers! It's very clear this person has no idea what they are talking about...

    Laura you keep doing what you are doing and don't let random weird comments like this get you down! It's obvious from your 100+ followers that people appreciate what you have to say! So keep writing your reviews and know there are people out there who love to read them!

    P.S. I don't know about you but I hate how one person can say something negative that you focus on for so long! Seriously hate it!

    Alright that's all I had to say! Sorry for my mini rant!

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  4. I'm happy to see that you can respond to such an unnecessary comment with dignity and class. Whomever that person is was completely rude and unfounded. There are people who just write things on blogs and Facebbok and everywhere else just to get a rise out of people. Personally I think it is absurd that someone would even make those kinds of comments. If they don't like what you have to say then don't follow the blog or read the reviewers thoughts. It's that easy. No one is forcing them to read your posts so they should take their negative attitude elsewhere. As for a non-writer writing reviews they can absolutely!!! I am not a writer but I am a crazy in love with books reader. That doesn't make me a professional but I think I could give a fair opinion on a book just like you do. And as for age, that has nothing to do with it. Yes there are things that change as you mature and go through more life lessons and happenings, but that surely doesn't make you unqualified to give your opinion especially on YA and NA books. There is always that one person that just has to say something negative, so take it with a grain of salt and ignore their rudeness because their opinion doesn't really matter. You have followers that enjoy your blog and reviews and those are the people that matter. Bloggers blog for themselves and to share their thoughts with others and I don't always agree with them, but I would never be blatantly rude and leave them a nasty comment. Keep reviewing and like many of us who do follow you we will keep reading :). For me, there is only one thing that bothers me in general about reviews and that is the reviews that give away the entire book and what happens. As a reader I like to be surprised and enjoy a book front front to back, but when a reviewer details out the entire book in their review it ruins the book for me. Other than that I love reading what other people think of a book because it makes me realize just how different each reader perceives the book and what they take from it. We are not all going to agree on any book and that's the beauty of being individuals and getting to choose what we do and don't like. Thanks for the great blog post and forget about that ignorant comment you received because all of it was complete ignorance!

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  5. WoW! I think that person has foot in mouth disease and/or you just shoved your foot up their ass. Both of which are fitting based on that ridiculous comment! Readers are the reason writers publish their material, so of course our opinion matters!
    And just to add to my 2¢, negative comments usually come from sad people. It sounds like you got the brunt of something totally unrelated to you...
    メοメο (˘❥˘)
    StacyHgg

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    1. I think they must be angry and dislike reviewers in general. I haven't done anything to this person (i don't think) and it wasn't even a response to anything i said in a post. Other people may have got similar comments but i don't know.

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  6. What a ridiculous comment! Ignore it and keep doing what you're doing. Of course our opinions matter! For a start, why would publishers create ARC copies if they didn't value readers opinions.

    Don't let it get you down, people like that aren't worth the time of day never mind anything else.

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    1. Readers opinions certainly matter as we are the ones who buy the books. If the average reader doesn't like a book then it probably won't be very successful.

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  7. That comment was absolutely absurd, and I take my hat off to you Laura for writing this post. At the end of the day, most book bloggers are readers or aspiring authors whose work isn't published, and we offer up our own opinions on books. We're not paid to do it. We're not hired by anyone on our competence. It's a hobby that we all enjoy doing, so for anyone to even think of questioning your credibility as a reviewer is crazy. I can't even begin to state why I agree with you on every point you made because I'd probably get very cross with the person who wrote the comment and have to practice some deep breathing to calm myself down...(haha)

    Just keep blogging like you always have been, Laura. You're brilliant at it, and don't let anyone tell you any different! :)

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  8. Yes to everything in this post.
    And of course you're biased. . . . EVERYONE is biased! We have opinions, preferences, etc. Even the most objective literary reviewers have biases because it's pretty much impossible to be a functioning human being without having preferences and biases. This is one of those issues that really hits home for me--I can't stand when people think they're the only objective person in the room and call other people "bias".

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    1. We are all probably a slightly bit biased towards books of genres we generally enjoy, it may not even be bias so much as expectation. If we expect a book to be bad we may not like it as much as if we expect it to be good. This is why i don't accept reviews for books outside genres that i know and love and are my preference. I also wouldn't ever review a book by a close friend or a book that i have beta read as it would be to hard to review objectively.

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  9. Just because you don't write for a newspaper and magazine does not mean your opinion does not count. I am sorry, but the books author's write are meant to be for their readers and fans. People that SPEND money to BUY their books, so I would think if anyone's opinion should matter, it should come from the reader who enjoys those books and not from newspapers and magazines who dissect it and for that it makes them professional, cause let's face it - the chances that THEY bought the book are very slim. So even if they do write a glowing review for a book that the usual readers would find disgruntling because the author did something that shocked them or perhaps was not as good as their other work, then they spent money based on the opinions of people who didn't have to spend a cent.

    So really, that person has no leeway to post a comment like that. I don't think you have to be a writer or need to be published to write a review either. I don't think being a writer or being published means that you are a good reviewer on top of it.

    If you are a writer and reviewing another writers work, doesn't that pose a conflict? Now you are using your work as a bases to write a review on theirs, isn't that even more Bias really? Who says your work is better or worse then theirs?

    As a reviewers myself, I find that comment absorb and I am sorry that you had to deal with that. I for one like seeing the different opinions on books. There are books that I absolutely loved that people did not like. Seeing two side of it always helps, especially when it comes to money.

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  10. I think the disclaimer that many people add to their reviews says it all; it doesn't matter if we have bought the book, got it from the library or publishers or won it, our opinion is our own. And good or bad, it's just an opinion. And if that means that reviews aren't 'objective'; rants or gushy, they are YOURS. Imo books aren't comparable, and it is very hard to be objective. I think anyone can write a review. It's up to the readers of that review how much they want to believe! Dont let it dishearten you; I think your book knowledge is great (especially NA stuff, as I have said before) :)

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  11. I can't speak for other authors, but I don't want a stiff literary analysis of my work. I want to hear a 19-year-old's honest opinion because--wait for it--I write about college students! Go figure.

    Seriously, I'm shaking my head over here. Don't let them get to you. <3

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    1. I think for New Adult books the opinion of a real New Adult matters much more than that of an older literary critic. I'm glad you agree :)

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  12. There are many things I could say in response to this post, but I will say that this is a great post Laura. As readers we are entitled to our opinion and if we thus wish to write a review with that opinion than that is our perogative. Whether or not we CAN write reviews is also subjective. That commenter clearly doesn't understand that and that's their issue, not yours.

    I'm sorry that the comment affected you and can only say not to listen to it and just continue doing what you do. <3

    Also, I'm putting this post in my Weekly Highlights this week because I want more people to see it x

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    1. Im not going to let this comment get me down :) We all know that some people - usually literary critics - have this kind of opinion.

      As long as at least one person thinks my opinion is worth while i plan to continue sharing it :)

      Thank you so much Faye for linking to this post on your blog :)

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    2. I think your opinion is worthwhile ;)

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    3. And i think the same about yours :)

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  13. I'm furious with the original poster. I presume it came from a disgruntled author and that makes me even more furious. Despicable! Can't believe you have to defend your right to read and review whatever you want to in whatever way you see fit.

    On another note - good luck with your exams :)

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  14. I think that authors want anyone who has read their book to review it. I read tons of books and try my best to leave reviews. I suck at it (all my reviews sound the same , lol) but I think any review is appreciated as long as its honest and not hateful.

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  15. God, this makes me so pissed off. Why do people even bother?! I mean, if I wanted to be professional reviewer (which I am most definitely not, thank god) I would write reviews for magazines, newspapers and big stuff like that. My reviews are usually gushing about why I loved a book and such. And I love that. And I love when people do that too. It makes me want to pick that book instantly. In the end, it's about sharing love and passion for good books, not to write down if the language or grammar in the book are appropriate or wrong. Mahh. I don't know. Ofcourse when I write a review about a scientific article I will write it down completely different. I will be professional about it. But those were reviews I needed to do for Uni - where it was expected from me to be professional. YA books and fiction books - I just don't look at them like I would look at a scientific article. And I am so glad I don't :P :)

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  16. Great post!

    I think all is said already in the comments. Don't let a comment like that get to you. You have a great blog with well written reviews and that they describe your feelings and opinions on a book is the whole meaning of it being YOUR blog!

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  17. What a nob! Plenty of people believe that authors shouldn't write reviews of books either. People who read blogs like to hear opinions of real people. We can go to the broadsheet review sections if we want to read critical analysis.

    We are all biased when it comes to reading. It's subjective, our lives, experiences, likes and dislikes all shape how we react to a book as well as how we are feeling at the time. We all live, therefore we can all share our opinons.

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  18. Wow, what a horrible and unnecessary comment! Reviews from readers are all valuable, no matter what their experience or age or anything else. I think your post and your replies to his comments were spot on and well written. And we all enjoy reading your opinions on books, so don't stop! :-)

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  19. Its the ordinary readers (like you) whose opinions I value the most. Yours are honest and valued opinions.

    At a guess, the person who left that comment probably isn't luck enough to get review copies and obviously has some kind of problem. That was a totally unprovoked and unnecessary comment. Definitely one to ignore.

    Keep up the good work!

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  20. That comment really, really pissed me off. I am not one to get rattled easily but I was practically screaming by the time I finished this post. When is it anyone's business what you choose to do with your free time? I'm also fairly certain if it was only other authors reading books that MOST of these authors wouldn't be nearly as successful as they are now. That opinion I'm sure is not shared by many. Who ever that is is just being hateful and unkind and for some reason has FAR too much time on their hands to be posting such negative things.

    Don't let it get you down! Your reviews are lovely :)

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  21. There is no one on the planet who is not entitled to an opinion, regardless of age, or any other factor. I've gotten some pretty amazing reviews, I've also gotten some pretty bad ones. I can't tell you anything about the people who gave the reviews other than that they presented an honest opinion. I give just as much credit and value to every person, regardless of how I view their words. What I don't respect are people who think they are giving reviews and instead bring forth a bunch of spoilers or simply throw around emotions without thought. In reading some of your reviews just now, I have not seen you do that. Insight and honest opinions are what is important. Reviews are supposed to be given to help others judge their level of interest. Your reviews appear to do that. More reviewers should be like you.

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