Last weekend the first ever RomCon, a convention for romance readers, was held in Colorado. I didn't have the pleasure of going, but I did follow the hashtag on Twitter of people who were attending and got some play by play of some of the sessions. (This is why if you're not on Twitter, you need to get on it. You never know what kind of interesting conversations and helpful information you're going to find. If you want to follow me, you can click the button in my sidebar.)
One of the hot topics that ended up burning up the tweets was the issue of book reviews. Apparently, there was a panel at the convention on how readers can help authors. Authors talked about Amazon and how if you like a book, take the time to review it on there. But the issue of bad reviews also came up.
Some authors argued that no book should get one star because shouldn't they at least get two stars for the effort of completing a book? The adage books are our babies came up as well. Well, many of the people tweeting were book bloggers and got a little annoyed with these statements. Some said, that no, you don't get stars for effort--they've spent their hard-earned money on the book and expect an enjoyable experience. They also insisted book are NOT babies, but are a product that you are SELLING. (They even started a hashtag #booksarenotbabies to point out all the ways they are different--hilarious. For instance, you can't tuck a baby under the bed if you create a bad one.)
Authors also said that negative reviews should be constructive so that the author can learn what not to do next time. However, book bloggers responded that this is not their job--they are not the editor, critique partner, beta reader. They are the consumer.
So, what do you think? I personally don't do bad reviews on here or post bad reviews on Amazon. I'm a big believer in karma and if I don't like something, I just move on. Now, if I loved something, I do review it, tweet it, and tell friends.
However, I do feel that book bloggers and readers should have the right to give their opinion--good, bad, or indifferent. I read reviews on Amazon before I buy a book and I do put stock in them. I appreciate when someone reviews honestly (although I tend to ignore 1 star ratings because those people usually are ranting.) I also don't think anyone has the obligation to be constructive. Don't be ugly and personally insulting, but it's okay to say how you feel.
Whenever I get published (see, still trying to do positive thinking), I hope that I will be able to take the range of opinions in stride. We can't please everyone all the time. All we can do is write the best book we can and go from there.
So what's your opinion? Should the reader consider how a bad review will affect the author? Should reviews be constructive? And just for laughs, how are book different from babies? (My fave was from an author who said something to the affect of "Call my daughter a tramp, I'm sharpening a shank. Call my heroine a tramp, I'm making promotional buttons!")