As an author I like reading reviews, both the good and the bad. I appreciate that someone has taken the time to not only to read my book, but has also spent the time to writing a review. As a reader I love reading them. They can be the deciding factor on whether, or not, I buy a particular book. I’m also one of those who will read a bad review and go, “well now I gotta read it to see if that’s true”. Yes I’m weird, have been aware of this fact most of my life
Now with that being said, just like inquiring if the latest movie is worth going to see, all I want is your opinion. Did you like it? Was it action packed? Did it make you cry, laugh, etc.? I don’t want to know what scene drew which emotion from you or what part made you dislike the movie. Why? Because when you give me that much detail you’ve spoiled the experience for me. I might’ve actually loved the scene you hated, and giggled where it made you cry. And because instead of just your opinion you gave me a synopsis of what goes down—along with the fact I live an exceedingly busy life—I’m now hesitant to waste 90 minutes on something I might have actually enjoyed but all of a sudden feel like I’ve already seen.
The same goes for book reviews. As a reader if I read a review which basically gives me a run-down of what’s going to happen, I feel like I’ve read the book and the excitement of coming to my own conclusion is basically ruined ☹ And just like that movie, I no longer feel the need to read it. Think of it like that book essay you had to do in high school and the excitement you felt when someone was kind enough to write their notes in the margins. Now reverse that feeling feeling of gratitude and replace it with disappointment. Because unlike that essay, on a book I never would have enjoyed—purely for the fact I was ordered to read it—I was actually looking forward to reading the one with the over detailed review. Well, before I read the review that was.
As an author I cringe at these reviews. Yes, even the ones with 5 star attached to them. By all means tell me that you loved about mine or someone else’s writing style, or that it wasn’t for you. You can even explain the why. But be vague about it. You loved the chemistry between the characters because of this scene. No! You just loved the chemistry, there is no need to tell me the scene that did it for you. You found the ‘h’ whinny, because… again no because needed. The fact that you didn’t like the character is enough information for me and still gives me the opportunity to decide whether I still want to take the plunge and hit click.
So as a reader please for the love of all things books, don’t spoil my experience with the cliff notes. As an author…well show those authors you enjoy some love and let them know what you thought of their book. Big wet ones.