Discussion: Do You Find it Easier to Write Negative Reviews?


It’s a terrible thought, right? But to some extent, for some reviewers . . . it’s true.

Like, admittedly, me. When I was writing this post I asked myself why. Why is it so much easier to give out criticism rather than praise? And does that make us horrible people to admit that? So I decided I would make a list of the reasons why I think negative reviews are harder for me, personally, to write than positive ones.

  • Humans like to complain. About everything. So when I come across a book I don’t like . . .  then I vent.
  • Sometimes, there is something about a book — a character, a scene, something — that might strike a nerve for me. And then I just find it so much easier to write about. Emotion equals writing.
  • When a book is so freakin’ awesome, how am I supposed to come up with the epic words to descrirbe how awesome it really is? I’ve been meaning to write a review of Days of Blood and Starlight  and  Heir of Fire . . . but it’s. so. hard. Those books were SO GOOD that my words always seem too . . . pale in comparison.

I believe these are all valid points  . . . but damn, I still feel like a horrible person for admitting this.

This is something I’ve thought about for a long, long time, but I was talking about it with a friend the other day and I realized: obviously, I’m not the only reviewer who thinks so. Now it’s poll time! If you’re a reviewer, vote for whatever applies to you the most. I would love to know.

Feel free to agree / disagree with my thoughts below. I would love to discuss.


27 thoughts on “Discussion: Do You Find it Easier to Write Negative Reviews?

  1. I totally agree with you on this one :P I find it really easy to write negative reviews, but I have such a hard time writing positive ones. Maybe it’s because when you hate a book, there are usually a lot of specific things about it that you don’t like, but when you love it, it’s hard to pick out exactly what it was you loved.

  2. I actually find it easier to write positive reviews. When I write negative reviews I have to find a balance between saying what I disliked (and even that is sometimes hard) and trying to be sensitive towards the author – because let’s face it, especially if it’s an Aussie author, they’ll probably end up reading my review!

  3. I actually find it hardest to write the meh reviews. If I love a book I can gush about it no problem, even if I know I just personally loved it and others probably won’t, the review comes easily to me (though I do find it hard not to be repetitive about the things I like). Similarly, if I dislike a book, I can put those thoughts into words. What’s hardest for me is writing those 2.5/3 star reviews, where I struggle to think of what I want to say because my overall feeling is “meh, it was alright” – I find it hard to elaborate on that! Lol R x

  4. Even though I’m a book blogger, I generally find it hard to write book reviews. I either don’t know how to articulate my feelings on the book, or I don’t have anything to say about it, OR I’ve already forgotten about it. There are also the times when I want to just gush or rant about it, but I can’t give any spoilers, so I just cry to myself while I edit out all the spoilers.

  5. I find it so much easier to write positive reviews. I actually hate writing negative reviews. I don’t have to write that many because, thankfully, the majority of books I read are good. And I’m the same as Emily, I try and find a balance between saying what I disliked and trying to be sensitive toward the author. If it’s not a book I’ve gotten off a publisher to review, I won’t even bother to review a book I don’t like because I find it hard to make time to review the books I do get for review.
    I love spreading the word when I’ve read a book I’ve loved.

    • I am a terribly picky reader which is why I generally find myself writing more negative than positive reviews. Which is my fault — not the author’s — but I can’t really say that I enjoy writing them (thankfully); for me, it’s more of a way so that things don’t get bottled up inside me. I can so see why you wouldn’t want to waste your time writing a review for a book you don’t like, though.

  6. Ha, YES, you’ve summed up my feelings exactly! It’s really hard when a book is so so so good, I mean…you flail and rave but IT’S HARD TO EXPLAIN JUST WHY IT HIT HOME FOR YOU. Negative ones can be more fun too, if one likes sarcasm. *coughs* So yes, I agree. Although I find negative reviews insanely hard to post on my blog though. ;-)

  7. I think it’s easier to come up with bad things to list for bad reviews, but it’s not as easy posting them as good reviews. I hate giving bad reviews, especially for indie books, but some stories are just terrible, either from plotting to the writing style to terrible grammar that an 8th grader could have fixed. (I’m not talking typos. I once read a book with no time breaks, everything was just written into a continuous flow so that you’d go from being on the couch to being at a crime scene with no warning, and when I contacted the author saying just to put line breaks in he said he had no time.)

  8. I find it easier to write neutral reviews, balanced as to why it did and didn’t work for me generally. I tend to not post many negative reviews, simply for the fact that if I cant get into the storyline while reading, or have issues, I tend to put it down, skim or not finish and therefore not review. That’s why you see so many positive reviews on my blog, I just don’t have time for shitty books which probably looks like I just love EVERYTHING. The only reviews I find really difficult to write are those for the second and third books in a series. It’s hard to discuss without giving away anything from the previous books, so now I just slap a spoiler warning up.

  9. I used to do be able to write negative reviews (and love it) but nowadays I respect the path the author has gone on for them to write a book, publish it, and then get me to read the whole thing. I guess that’s what the whole “one-star rating” on goodreads is all about – I might have hated your guts, but I read all of you, and I haven’t read all of you, you still managed to make me pick you up and read some of you.
    It is for that reason I now find writing negative reviews a lot harder than writing positive reviews – but to be honest, they’re just as hard as each other…

  10. I roll out the negativity like I’m giving party favours (actually that makes now sense). Basically I love my negativity. For some reason, I gravitate towards it. My review are hella better, imo. I have a lot more to say, I’m not going in circles. I guess, it’s just a little harder to be coherent with a book you love, you know?

  11. Humans’ inherent need to complain about everything definitely makes it easier to pinpoint the criticisms in a book, but positive reviews are easy to write if you and the book really hit it off. Interesting poll and discussion Kara!

  12. Oh gee. You’re so right. I’m the pickiest reader of aaaaaaall time and I’m very good at finding negative things about a novel that I gave five stars and absolutely loved. Even if I did love a novel I try to find technical errors or things that I didn’t like, I have no idea why. I mean as long as you’re not ONLY talking about negative things and acknowledging the positive stuff, too, there’s nothing wrong with criticism. Just don’t be mean!

  13. For me, it’s easiest to write reviews for books that I REALLY hate or REALLY love. It’s because it’s so easy for me to find the passion. But when I read a book that’s not amazing and not terrible, I come to the awkward position of not knowing what to say about it. :P

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