Discord & Dissonance

If you’re looking for drama on social media, you never have to go far. 

Opinion pieces, angry comment sections, rant videos—the internet is filled with people who have conflicting opinions, and aren’t afraid to share them.

Even the writing/reading community has had more than its fair share of outrage and controversies.

The War

Over the last few months, I’ve seen a small war develop between authors and book reviewers.

Book reviewers are mad because many of them feel like some authors are trying to keep them from expressing their honest thoughts and opinions about the books they’ve read.

Authors are mad because when book reviewers leave 3-star reviews or lower on their books on sites like GoodReads or Amazon, it hurts their books’ overall rating and position in the algorithm. 

As an author who enjoys reading, I understand how both sides of the argument feel.

The Author’s Side

As an author, it can be super difficult to get your book written, edited, and published.

A lot of time, hard work, money, and energy is spent in the process (especially if you’re an Indie author), so worrying about marketing, or bad reviews and ratings on top of that can be such a headache.

And besides that, some sites don’t moderate reviews well, which can allow people who may not have even read the book to leave terrible reviews on an author’s books. 

These reviews—even though they’re not honest—can completely ruin a book’s ranking, diminishing its chances of success, and the author’s chances of earning money.

But the fact is, not every bad review is fake, or from someone who hasn’t even read the book.

The Reviewer’s Side

Sometimes people don’t enjoy the stories that they’ve read.

Maybe the writing style is confusing to them, or they have trouble relating to the characters and understanding the plot.

As an example, I can’t stand Charles Dickens’ book Great Expectations, but I know several people who think it’s the best thing he’s ever written. Meanwhile, I did enjoy A Tale of Two Cities, but many other people think it’s confusing and too heavy on the description to be considered interesting.

And that’s totally okay!

I love the fact that I can read the same book as someone else but walk away with a completely different opinion.

The same thing happens all the time with movies and TV shows. Some people get hyped up the moment a new superhero movie hits the theaters, while other people roll their eyes and shake their heads.

The fun part about reading is getting lost inside a different world and getting to know the characters or creatures living within. It’s extremely unrealistic to think that everyone will have the same opinion on the books they read.

So why are authors and reviewers still at odds with each other?

The Internet’s Entitlement

I think part of the problem is that we’re told all day long on social media and all these other places on the internet that we need to be supporting authors, small businesses, artists, political causes, etc.

There’s a message that because we can do something to help other people, we should.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing—I mean, helping others is something that God Himself has called us to do.

But that doesn’t mean that book reviewers need to ignore their personal opinions or convictions when it comes to their reviews.

After all, book reviews may help authors out a lot, but they aren’t for the author. They’re for readers.

So if a reviewer isn’t honest about their opinion (whether it’s good or bad), then they’ll be deceiving anyone who reads their review.

The Truth About Reviews

As an author, I’m not entitled to support, and I’m not entitled to good reviews. Is it nice when people recommend my book to others, or leave a nice review? Of course! But I don’t see it as anyone’s responsibility.

I see it as a blessing.

The writing community is an amazing place. Thanks to social media and the internet, I’ve been able to connect with so many different people that I probably never would have met otherwise.

It’s a gift that I don’t want to take for granted.

In August of 2023, I released my first book, The Librarian’s Ruse, and the amount of support I received completely blew me away. I’m not sure I could have had a better first experience with publishing.

Support For Lawless

Last week on January 18th, Lawless was released, and it was a similar experience (if not, better).

So far, these are some of the accomplishments Lawless has made within a week of being released:

#1 New Release in Science Fiction Short Stories

#1 Overall in Science Fiction Short Stories

A 4.7-star average rating

#1 New Release in Religious Short Stories

And none of this could have happened without the readers and reviewers who thought it looked like a great book and decided to take a chance on it.

So thank you!

If this is the first that you’re hearing about Lawless and you want to check it out for yourself, it’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all major retailers.

Before You Go…

What do you think about the war between reviewers and authors? Have you noticed it before, or is this your first time hearing about it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Read last week’s blog here.

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