So on those occasions when we don't enjoy a book, how do we respond? Should we write 'bad' reviews?
One of the great things about not only bloggers, but people in general, is that, naturally, we all differ. Some bloggers write and share their negative reviews, some write them but don't share them, and some only write reviews which are positive. The most important thing to mention here is that there is no right answer. Every blogger reviews differently, and every blogger has the right to post whatever kind of content they like on their own blog; that's why it frustrates me when I see bloggers apologising at the beginning of a negative review.
When it comes to receiving books to review, some bloggers will only share their review if it's positive because that is what the publisher has requested. I can understand why - you don't tend to see 'it was only okay' on the front of the latest bestseller in much the same way you don't see '90 minutes of my life I'll never get back' on the trailer for the latest blockbuster. As a Marketing Assistant in the publishing industry, I can confirm from experience that publishers are not about to put anything but a glowing review on their website.
Personally, though, I think 'bad' reviews are important. I've written a few myself! I don't think reviewers should feel obligated to say something good about a book they've received from a publisher or an author; we're sent books in exchange for our honest opinion, and if your opinion is more negative than the publisher might like that doesn't mean it's invalid.
I don't have a problem at all with publishers requesting that reviewers don't post a negative review while the book is being publicised - just because I didn't like a book doesn't mean someone else won't, after all - but once that window of publicity is gone, there's nothing wrong with sharing a negative review.
I think the most important thing about writing a negative review is knowing the difference between giving an honest review and being cruel. I'm a writer myself; I'm not a published novelist, so I'm no expert, but I can easily imagine how it might feel to see a very negative review of something you've poured your heart and soul into creating. Authors must know that when a reviewer criticises a book they aren't criticising them.
Reviewers don't write negative reviews just for the sake of being negative - we want to like the books we read very much! But if we don't we have the right to explain why.
Plus let's not forget that it's in very, very rare cases that reviewers can find nothing positive to say about a book. I can usually find one or two things I liked about a book I wasn't overly keen on, even if it's just something as simple as liking the way the dialogue was written.
Ultimately, everyone's opinions differ and everyone's tastes are different. It's because of this that we need negative reviews as much as we need the glowing ones. So next time you find yourself having to write a negative review, don't apologise! Your opinion is valid, and I want to hear what you have to say.