Recently, over the last month or so, I have read quite a few online articles about book review trolls. Trolling, as the word is best known, is all about writing things to provoke people and deliberately upset them. And I feel this Internet phenomenon is only expanding as the years go by.
Trolling started out with creating abusive comments and leaving them on tribute sites to intentionally hurt bereaved families. I think this particular matter is one of the most savage and evil things to be born out of Internet usage, along with child porn, terrorist websites and other nasty issues. The Internet certainly has a lot to answer for in this modern age.
But sometimes people can take matters like these a little too much to heart. Of course, most people don't want to be nasty just for the sake of it but what do they do when they are asked to write a review for a product that they simply didn't like or couldn't stand? Do they just write down their opinions without a worry in the world, or do they point blank refuse to write a review unless it is positively gushing?
Goodreads is a site that comes to my mind when thinking of a place where nasty 1 star reviews are more common than a cold. But I don't think people should live in fear of being called a troll just because they want to give a low star rating.
When I first started out as a writer I was very conscious of this fact. I always lived by the rule of never giving a book a review unless I liked it. But now I think I am changing my views after reading some appalling books myself. And these books are not even written by an unknown indie authors: they are written by world famous best sellers!
This subject, when I think about it in detail, raises another question. Am I more likely to give a low review to a best selling author than a struggling indie? And I suppose I am.
I'm not saying this is right but I can't help but think that a low review is not going to affect these world famous best selling authors half as much as it potentially would an unknown indie.
My first book in particular has got some pretty nasty reviews but I think their content has actually helped sell the book so in some cases they actually works in the authors' favour. I suppose I would write a low review of an indie author if their book is formatted terribly or has so many spelling errors and grammatical issues that it's almost impossible to read. But again I think that mentioning these things would only help the author because at least they would be aware of them.
So, what do you do? Do you only write reviews of books you liked?