I don't really expect anybody to read this or really take my opinion on this to heart, but I feel it's something that must be said and that I need to let off my chest anyway.
I've been knowing about this for a while now, about how many reviewers who write a 1-3 star review are getting attacked by the authors and "street teams" in such a juvenile, immature, and even violent fashion (verbally and/or physically). And the funny thing about it is how it's the 3 star reviews that a lot of authors get particularly heated about, for reasons that I don't quite understand. A 3 star review is GOOD. It usually means that the reader is in the middle, doesn't love their book, but doesn't hate it either. But...for some reason, a lot of authors go on rage mode about it, and it seems like these days a lot of authors are taking it to a personal level that's not only tacky and unprofessional, but wrong. Review bloggers are the ones who are especially getting attacked by these authors (because they're easier to track, find, and reach out to by email or home address). I'm not too surprised by this, considering that on three occasions, I've dealt with authors who took my 3 star review so personally and really showed their true colors/dark side over it when it was as fair and balanced as any 4 or 5 star review I'd give. Thankfully, those three authors didn't take it too far beyond the arguing/angry email. I just ignored their temper tantrum. But still, it was a turn off. When I hear stories of reviewers where the author or street teams are taking things to such an extreme level, it really is heartbreaking.
First of all, as much as authors really hate hearing this, I'll always be the first to say that no matter if you're a famous author or not, bestselling, award winning, doesn't matter, not everyone is going to love your book. And why should they? Is there such a world where EVERYONE loves one particular book or movie without a negative review or one person who doesn't like it in sight? I know a lot of authors wish this world would exist for themselves, but in reality, that doesn't happen. Ever. EVERYONE will get their share of 1-3 star reviews no matter how great a writer he or she is. It's just how it is. Why authors take it so personally is beyond me. Is it understandable to be annoyed, upset, or bummed when a reader doesn't get you or your work? Sure, but how hard is it to just accept and move on? And since when has a few 1-3 star reviews killed somebody's writing career or book sales?
I guess my main point is, really, is that I think many authors take reviews far too seriously. They're just opinions. Everyone has one. And yes, some of those opinions will be negative. It's just the nature of the beast. Even if a review isn't helpful or just plain hateful, even in that case, it's still nothing personal, just move on. Reviews are great no matter what, because at least it shows that somebody out there is actually reading your book, AND to make it better, it sparked enough emotion/feeling in them to actually want to go out of their way to write a review. That alone is something to appreciate even if that reviewer is not appreciative of your work. I'm not understanding why some authors respond to negative reviews, and only adding more to the negativity which only makes that author look childish, insecure, or more of an egomaniac. I don't think it's worth it. Keep things classy will never come back to haunt. If an author feels the need to respond to reviews at all (it's not always necessary!), why not keep things safe, mature, and friendly? Even with negative reviews, why not take what's being said and turn it into a positive? Sometimes, negative reviews can be a good thing, since a lot of them, the ones that are well thought out, usually make pretty good points that can help the author improve on their writing for future works. It's really what you make of it.
So with that, one of the reasons why I've decided to not review as much is because I think people take the fun out of it and have taken things way too seriously. It's sad, but honestly, I really don't have time for drama, online or offline. With exception to reading/reviewing books from my publisher(s), and maybe for a friend on occasion, I've decided that I do NOT want to read/review any works from anywhere or anyone else outside of that. It's unfortunate. It's not out of fear or being scared. I just don't really want to go through the possibility of going through what I've already went through three times before. Again, I'll still read/review on occasions, selectively, still honestly, but very selectively.
I'm very proud to be an author. I take my craft seriously, but I don't take myself too seriously within this industry. I love this industry, but I refuse to be involved in the drama that it sometimes attracts. I love to read and review, but as I am with my writing, I do it for the fun of it. I really wish people can go back to making reading, reviewing, and writing fun instead of focusing so much on sales and numbers. Yes, that's the nature of the beast too, but still...does anybody else find it so...distracting?