Negative review? Keep it to yourself…


  Recently I received a review request from an author. Unlike most requests that I’ve received in the past, this author didn’t even offer me a copy of the book—not even an eCopy. This is the first thing that perturbed me. Not to be rude, but there are so many books on my purchase list right now, and I’m not willing to take a chance spending money on a book by a new author I know nothing about. For me personally, if I were to ask someone to read my book, I’d at least ask them if they’d like an eCopy for review.

The second statement (to me) was even worse:

  If you don’t like the book, I ask that you please refrain from reviewing it.

  Really? So I’m supposed to buy your book and either lie on my review, or just not review it at all? How does this even seem right? I just spent hours reading your book, but the world revolves around your reputation and my thoughts, time, and money simply doesn’t matter?

  I’m a person who rates books mostly 2 to 5-stars and practically never 1-star. I’m not a book-basher which is clearly stated on my profile. My reviews may be far from perfect, but shouldn’t I be able to share my honest opinion of your book? After all, doesn’t every author receive a portion of negative reviews? How common is it to find a book that’s good for everyone?

Have some pride in your work. If you’re worried about people not liking it, maybe reconsider publishing it? Maybe also consider the fact that a negative review might help you meet the needs of your readers.

I’m really sorry if you’re an author or reviewer and you find this offensive, but this is just total BS to me. This isn’t the first time it’s happened to me, and I know others have discussed this happening to them too, but it’s messages like this one that have totally turned me off to accepting author’s review requests anymore.

Feel free to share your honest thoughts.

52 thoughts on “Negative review? Keep it to yourself…

  1. David R. Dowdy

    Thank you so much for this post!

    It’s sad that you received such a crafty review request. Nobody should be put in that position. Your reviews are more than fair. While writing is difficult and tough reviews can be painful, reviews are necessary for the writer to gauge their work and adjust accordingly.

    I’ve hardly gotten any reviews yet I cherish the critical ones highly. Because I write I often find it hard to be critical and I hate myself for that. The grains of truth that critical reviews contain are hard to see beyond the rude husks, however they are there. If there’s a personal commitment and drive to writing, bad reviews should be the least of a writer’s problems.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. starjustin

    Amen Jen! I agree totally. Been there, done that and you are so ‘on point’ with this post.

    Authors become better writers by taking the brunt of their actions if a readers review is honestly written yet falls short of a 4-5 star review. As well, they can revel in the 4-5 star honest reviews that are well deserved, to express just how great of an author they are and, from these authors, the readers want more.

    Thx for sharing! 👍🏻

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Noriko🌷

    Oh, wow. I reckon this author is a sore loser type, obviously.
    If you ask me, if they want to have their book reviewed FOR FREE, they should at least have some courtesy to offer a review copy. It doesn’t have to be a physical one, an e-book copy is totally fine.

    Secondly, asking reviewers to refrain from posting negative reviews is almost tantamount to clipping their wings, silencing their voice. That’s absolutely a no-no in my opinion.

    We are human. We are entitled to our opinions. Obviously, we need to strive to be objective and fair in our reviews, but we should be at least allowed to voice our thoughts especially on things that didn’t work for us to help authors grow.

    I am so sorry that you had to go through such a crappy situation but keep in mind I’ll always have your back!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Frankly I’d just delete the request and think no more about it. Those kind of requests don’t deserve to be even considered. Thankfully most authors are respectful of reviewers and the time we spend on reading and putting considered thoughts into a review.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s exactly what I did, but then it became thought-provoking to me. Some people choose not to leave negative reviews, and I believe that’s their freedom to do that, but it also seems fair that reviewers should be able to express what they didn’t like. I’ve actually read books after reading negative reviews and sometimes it’s because of the negative thoughts the reviewer left that made me want to read it!

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this matter. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Who asks for a review and doesn’t provide the book? I had no idea authors did that. And then not to post a review if you didn’t like it? Speaking as an author, it’s scary to put your work out there, but it’s part of the job. Not everyone will like your book – it’s just a fact of life – but you take the good with the bad, and some negative reviews can point out areas an author could improve on with the next book. I agree with Cathy – I’d just delete the request.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It happens to me all the time, Teri. The author tells me I’ll likely enjoy the book and then sends me the Amazon link to purchase it. I don’t get it. I deleted the request and didn’t bother to respond.

      Thanks for weighing in, Teri. You know I appreciate it! ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I find this totally unbelievable. How does this author think these types of requests will assist in his/her writing career. I totally agree with all you have said Jenn. I have had author requests that offered their books and I turned down due to interest, genre, time etc. but they have always offered the book in some way to read. Your reviews are always thoughtful and anything negative is very constructive, I have never seen you bash a book, ever. Delete, and move on. Too bad this happened.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Carla. 🤎 I did ignore the request and the others that were similar. This is the first time I haven’t been offered the book, in addition to being told to refrain from a negative review. It’s just crazy to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, Jennifer. That’s asking a bit much of a reviewer—no book provided AND the request to refrain from posting a negative review??!! I, personally, wouldn’t take a chance on that one. Seems like there’s absolutely no benefit in it. 🤷🏽‍♀️

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I agree, I Agree, I AGREE. Unfortunately it is not just authors but publishers who are beginning to set a few too many rules for reviewing for me to feel comfortable. Nothing controversial, even though the book may be. Nothing political, even though the book may be politically themed. Nothing about religion, despite the fact that the book was filled with overt religious themes but not billed that way. I’m very close, obviously from my lack of posting, to be finished with reviewing. If I read a book and like it, I’ll tell you. And if I don’t, I’ll be sure to write that as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We’re on the same wavelength with this, Mackie. I’ve been feeling very negative about taking requests for a long time.

      Hopefully you don’t stop reviewing though, because you’re so amazing at it; you write beautifully. I totally understand completely how you feel though. Hugs ❤️


  9. UGH. Some authors really need to learn some etiquette around requesting reviews. So sorry this happened to you but sadly it’s not the only time I’ve seen something like this. Just the other day an author emailed me and at least 50 other reviewers on the SAME email and just attached their book in the hopes that one of us would bite I guess. No thanks! My review requests are closed anyway. I can’t bother with someone who can’t even checking that first.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You hit the nail on the head! It clearly states on my ‘about me’ page that I’m not taking requests on the blog or Goodreads. Can’t they read? It seems rude that they can’t even see what your process is first.

      The group email thing is hilarious. I’ve never had that happen that I can remember. 😂

      Thanks, Lisa. 🤎

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Brenda~Traveling Sister

    Wow, that’s unbelievable the author would think you won’t do anything but laugh and hit the delete button after that! Sorry that happened to you. It’s maddening for sure that authors think like that! Just example of it’s all about me. Vote with your time!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. The only time I’ve come close to this situation is when I Accepted a review from an individual and not a publishing company. I reviewed the book but because it didn’t match my personal taste and I felt I needed to give serious content warnings in my 3 star review I decided not to publish the review on my blog. I contacted her and explained the situation and indicated that I would still publish my review on Amazon and goodreads for her. She declined and asked me not to publish it At all because she was looking for 4 or 5 star reviews. I give lots of 3 star reviews and don’t consider them that bad…just sorta meh.

    I’ve only had one request to review when the book wasn’t provided and I deleted with no response!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can totally understand choosing to refrain from posting 3-star reviews and under on your blog. Same here: to me 3-star reviews aren’t bad at all, it’s just not a book I’ll likely reread. Thank you! ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

  12. That happened to me in early days of blogging. Author approached me through Instagram and didn’t even send e-copy or book any format and sent me purchase link! what can one do? I just left it unanswered thinking author might be newbie and doesn’t know how bloggers work or how to approach them.

    Even with book feature and author feature I feel uncomfortable. I’m okay to do that without asking anything in return but I had experience where author kept asking if the post is reaching to audience if readers like it and then asking me to repost on social media on daily basis! I thought ‘am I now a marketing manager and that too for free!?

    Such experiences really make me tired and I hesitate to open contact emails now.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Wow, that’s too much! I’ve never had that happen, although I have had an author ask me to go through and like all 4 and 5 star reviews of their book. Lol. That is too funny! I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with this too. Thank you for sharing. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Makes me wonder what world writers like this live in. Not my world, that is for sure!

    I’m wondering about changing my review policy to “I won’t read your crap” to something like “Pay me $500 and I’ll read your crap and trash it”


    Liked by 2 people

  14. Wow that’s totally unacceptable and to me a little unprofessional of them. If I’m spending money in a book I have a right to write a review whether it be positive or negative. Heck even if I was sent the book I have a right to write a review whether it be positive or negative. I’ve never had an author blatantly ask me to review their book but not write a negative review on it. On my about/review policy page on my blog I flat out say that my reviews will always be 100% my honest opinion. I mention how I’ve gotten pretty good at picking books I enjoy but there’s always a chance that I will accept a book that’s just not for me and I tell them to be aware of the possibility of receiving a negative review from me. If an author told me not to write a negative review I would tell them I’m not reading their book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t even bother responding to them, Misty. Truth is: I’ve got too much on my plate as it is, and it states on my profile that I’m not even taking requests right now. It just really got me thinking about some of the reasons I’ve been turned off to taking author requests.

      How smart to state all of that on your profile! I may revamp mine as we. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I don’t blame you for just ignoring it. Mine states that I’m not accepting requests either but I still get them anyways lol. So far I haven’t had any negative experiences with authors thankfully but I’m sure I will one day.

        Yeah when I finally wrote my about/review policy on my blog I added it in there because I had heard others negative author experiences and I thought I would clearly state it in there just in case.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. yes, i guess we all get those requests from time and time and i’ve gotten very choosy which i accept. even still, after a positive review, one author came back and asked me to take the statement of his author request off my review and that if he’d known i was going to do that, “would never have asked me in the first place.” sheesh…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Some people say that absolutely is a requirement. If you win a book on GR, or get a book for free, I’ve been told by multiple people that you are always supposed to thank whoever gave it to you in your review. NetGalley is a prime example. Sorry you had to deal with that! 🙄


  16. Well, that’s rude! First, a review request really should provide a copy of the book to read. And telling you not to post a negative review? That for sure would make me walk away.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I regard the audience of a review as the reading public, not the author. Warning potential readers what to expect is the reviewer’s duty. But reviewers should back up their opinions with evidence. Negative reviews are not always dissuasion. Often what the reviewer dislikes is what I’m looking for.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. A review request should always be accompanied by a copy of the book or an e-copy. And any author who doesn’t want an honest opinion of their books shouldn’t even be making review requests in the first place.
    I have been reading your reviews since I joined WordPress 2 years ago and I have found them to be honest, fair and well expressed.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Pingback: Negative review? Keep it to yourself… – vibes&ventures

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