Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

Don’t Be This Author – or – How to Get a Negative Review in 3 Easy Steps


Shhh! Mom’s snoozing. So it’s just us, okay?

Can we talk? Like, about book reviews? Cuz Mom and I are getting flooded with requests for book reviews. We love it! But we also want to be efficient. So we decided to set and clarify some basic ground rules. As in, what to avoid. Or Don’t Be This Author. With this kind of book.

So, here’s how to get a negative review in three easy steps (Examples taken from actual events. Names and places sort of changed to protect the not-so-innocent.):

1) Use gratuitous profanity and offensive language.

One author complained about his profanity-laced collection of “poetry” that netted him a 3.0 score on Reedsy/Discovery.  What he didn’t know is that a 3.0 on R/D was a gift. If his book was reviewed here, it’d get a 1.5. On a good day.

This same author, a serial complainer, also whined about other less-than-stellar reviews. His objection? Basically, he put a lot of time and hard work into his book. So he thought it deserved a higher rating.

Newsflash, Cupcake: Time and hard work alone do not necessarily a good book make. If they did, your Maytag would be on the NYT Bestseller List. And if you’re fishing for four or five star ratings, bub, you’re using the wrong pole. In the wrong pond. So here’s an idea (thrown’ this in for free): Instead of whining about low scores, how ‘bout cleaning it up and writing a better book? Duh.

2) Argue with the reviewer about your book’s rating.

Don’t make me explain this. See #1, above.

3) Submit a book that’s so sloppy it’ll make your mama’s hair ache.

One author actually submitted a “short story” for review that was not only not short, it wasn’t even a “story.” As in, no real beginning. No middle. No end. And no point. Hello? He also didn’t seem to know the difference between “memoir” and a maundering, incoherent brain dump. That aching hair thing again.

You’ve heard of “drunk tweeting”? That was how this guy’s “short story” read. Only longer. And why anyone would submit their book for review with “partially edited” In. The. Title boggles the mind. So don’t be that person. You’re better off drunk tweeting.

If you’ve read this far, you’re smarter than all of the above. You also renew our faith in a merciful God.

Yea, verily. It takes a lot of time and effort to read and review books. For free. We don’t have time for junk. As defined by us. Selah.

To reiterate: We do honest reviews here. If we hate your book, we say so. If we love your book, we say so. You just never know. As defined by us again.

But if you’re feeling brave and have actual, real talent and a professionally edited book – instead of drunk tweeting 2.0 – check out what we are and are not looking for regarding book submissions. You can find that in our Rating System and Submission Guidelines.


4 thoughts on “Don’t Be This Author – or – How to Get a Negative Review in 3 Easy Steps

  1. I don’t mind cursing in books. But you’re also allowed to rate books subjectively. I think reviewers should rate books subjectively. Authors need to have thick skin and deal with it if somebody doesn’t like their book. Yeah, it stings. It has happened to me a couple of times. But I get over it. Either I take their criticism and apply it to future writing or I realize my style just wasn’t for them. But there’s never any reason to argue with a reviewer. Reaction is the flip-side of creation, people reacting subjectively to our books is what is supposed to happen.

  2. Good for you! I am having a lot of trouble accepting review requests because of the same issues you have had. I mostly just request what I want to read from NetGalley from known authors and good publishers. It’s sad, as I want to help independent authors, but I just don’t have time in my life for bad books anymore.

    • Absolutely! When an indie author requests a review, I often ask what their book would be rated if it’s a movie. The response (or lack thereof) usually tells me what I want to know. I just don’t have time for lousy books.

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