As many of you may or may not know, I’m a big fan of Chuck Wendig. He’s an excellent writer and always gives out helpful advice on his blog, http://terribleminds.com. Part of Mr. Wendig’s post today, Why I Don’t Like To Negatively Review Other Author’s Books, got me thinking. Actually, it was this quote in particular:
“When I say ‘do harm,’ what I actually mean is:
Potentially rob that author of one or many sales. I don’t want to do that. Writing a book is hard goddamn work. You’ve got rent to pay. Or a mortgage. You’ve got a food bill. And cats or dogs. Maybe one or several kids. I don’t like the thought that my review is going to take money out of your pockets, or snatch food out of your kids’ mouths. Fuck that. I’m not ‘Internet Famous’ or anything, but I have a blog and a social media feed that gets a substantial echo. Do I really want to use my social media reach to drink your milkshake or piss in your cereal bowl? No, I do not.”
That’s something I hadn’t considered. The fact that leaving a truly negative review could potentially keep money away from an author, and possibly keep them from feeding themselves, their kids, or their pets had never occurred to me. I mean, granted, said author should be doing everything possible to ensure they write a damn good book, but, like Chuck said, “Writing a book is hard goddamn work.” Who am I to tear apart something that someone has worked so hard on? Of course, I can give my opinions and point out things I didn’t particularly like, but there’s certainly no need to be a bully about it, which I hear is a growing problem on Goodreads, actually.
After reading Chuck’s post, I’ll definitely be more careful the next time I review a book (not that I review anything that often) to be sure that I’m not potentially leading some poor starving artist to their death.