Negative reviews are a hot topic in the book blogosphere. Every once in a while, someone somewhere gets offended, and we have a discussion about what the value of negative reviews is and whether they have a place on book blogs and review sites likes Goodreads. Somewhere in this discussion, someone always mentions that negative reviews get all the page views and people must be writing them just for the attention.
My negative reviews never get any attention.
I don’t know if this is just because Pages Unbound isn’t big enough to tick anybody off. I do believe we are lucky in our readers; they tend to like what we post and are polite and encouraging in their comments. Whatever the reason, I have never had an author pick up on a negative review I’ve written, and I’ve never had a rude comment from an offended fan on one. No one freaks out because I didn’t like such and such a book when I “should have,” so I “clearly didn’t read the book correctly.” The comments on my negative reviews are always reasonable: readers telling me they’re sorry I didn’t like the book, calmly agreeing that they didn’t like the book, or respectfully listing the reasons they did like the book. Then we all move on with our lives.
It’s my positive reviews that get the attention.
Every once in a while, an author picks up on a positive review I have written. Sometimes I tweet them if I loved the book. Sometimes I think their publishers find the reviews and forward them to the authors, if they’re particularly flattering. (Having interned at a publishing house, I can tell you they keep records of any and all reviews of their books they find online. I was a bit baffled and slightly embarrassed to see some of my own reviews already in their database when I arrived.) And then those authors share my positive reviews. Suddenly I’m getting traffic from their Twitter accounts, their Facebook pages, and their blogs. If I were in blogging for the page hits, I would write glowing accounts of everything I read, not negative ones.
What has your experience been? Do negative reviews get all the attention? Or are people more attracted to positive reviews?