why negative reviews are so scary + how to not fail at writing them

reviewing is just part of a book blogging life.

reviewing is based on your opinion, and how you feel about the certain something. while stating your feelings sounds so easy, i came to realize that it’s not. it’s waaaay more complicated than that. especially if it’s negative, or a negative review amidst the sea of super popular ones.

why writing negative reviews can be scarier than taking a chem final

i lied nothings scarier than taking a chem final you didn’t study for 

  1. scared of backlash – when i was writing a review for when dimple met rishi, it involved important topics like sex, and diversity. i read that review 10x to make sure i wasn’t writing anything that can offend anyone. i rewrote every line that remotely looked like i was trying to say something bad. why? because i was scared. i was scared of being seen as someone who doesn’t support such an important thing, and someone who is percieved of being racist. it’s embarassing, and sad to be thought of someone like that.
  2. being the black sheep – confession time: way, way, way, back when i first started blogging (like i used to use blogger instead of wordpress) and i read hyped up books that let me down i changed my rating on goodreads so it could seem like i “fit in” with all the other positive reviews.  i didn’t write a whole review because anyone with a brain could’ve seen how fake i was. i don’t do this anymore, and i won’t do it anymore especially if a book is representing something in a very problematic storyline.
  3. being sued – okay this sounds of a bit of a stretch, but believe me when i say, i was super scared of writing anything negative about a product, or ANYTHING after i found out you can be sued. i read a blog post about someone getting sued 350,000 for writing a bad review, and lord help me, i don’t need to be so broke that i end up in the negative values. 
  4. authors can be scary?? – please read this, as well as this to figure out what i’m talking about.

so while we have that side let’s look on the side where it’s important to posting a negative review, and we shouldn’t be scared of it

  1. to start off, there may be people who actually agree with you. and may think you’re helpful because you just saved them a lot of time, by crossing of that book of their TBR.
  2. some authors will take the criticism in a good way, and hopefully use it later on to improve on their later books
  3. it’s part of book blogging. reviews are pretty much the heart, and soul of a book blog. it’s the second (after goodreads) people look up to for a review on a book. you wouldn’t want to spread false statements on your book reviews.
  4. fourth, and most important it’s your opinion., everyone has a different outlook on books, or things in general. so why should a negative opinion be considered in valid?

tips on writing negative reviews

  • try to relay your opinion in a calm, and polite way

unless it’s extremely problematic you don’t want to immediately start bashing on an author. blood, sweat, and tears (bts reference!!!) have gone into these books, and the author will probably be upset, and a little pissed off to be bombarded with deragatory words.

DON’T: this book was just soo stupid, i don’t even know how the publisher allowed this to be published! my eyes were literally burning with each sentence. the author made very character sound so stupid. how was this even the final draft??? my grandmother could’ve wrote better than this, and she didn’t even go to school!! 

i think i went a bit overboard

DO: to start off, the characters were more or less developed, and i found them doing something that should really need some looking-over. there were a lot of grammer mistakes, that didn’t help with the already, broken writing 

  • look at other peoples unpopular opinions

if you are unable or unsure of how to express your opinion (or if you don’t even know your opinion), you could look at the other reviews to help you out a bit. some people might see this as copying. that’s not the case. if you are quoting someone then of course credit them.

DON’T: *looks at famous blogger* *starts to write the same exact way, WITHOUT crediting them* 

DO: as another reviewer, ________ said, “lot of  plot holes, and dumb characters”. and i totally agree with that… 

  • try to be sassy!!

if you try sugar-coating, but you sound like a 40 year old professor, try to make you reviews more entertaining! i love reading, may’s, julianna, or cait’s reviews because they manage to tell if something is not wroth the time, but still make me laugh. i try (key word try) to be funny, but no. i am not.

DON’T: everything about this was so stupid. for example in page 131 paragraph, 6…. 

DO: i have no idea how to be sassy, but if you want awesome exampled read Cait from Paper Fury’s review of Warcross or Em @ softlykaz’s reviews  

  • balance it out

if you calm down enough, you might find something that was remotely good about the certain book. i remember when writing  When Dimple Met Rishi, i was so engrossed in writing away all the bad things about the book (which were a lot surprisingly) i forgot to focus on the one good aspect. which was the diversity, because it was so spot on.

I like to think that made me seem less like a angry, rambling, crazy, bitch, and made my conscience feel a bit better.


and one final reminder: it’s okay to post a negative review. you are your own person so by that logic, you have your own DIFFERENT opinions. so what your favorite types of review? were these tips helpful? what are some other tips you can add on? are you comfortable sharing  negative review online? let me know!


37 thoughts on “why negative reviews are so scary + how to not fail at writing them

  1. Oh, I understand – I’ve written negative reviews, and I always go over them with a fine comb before I publish. As an author myself, I understand the impact of getting a negative review, and I don’t want to impose those feelings on anyone for anything. That’s why I always, always, always, explain why I didn’t like something, and then balance it out with something I did like. And, I understand about not wanting people to think you a racist – being a white girl, I’m nervous of someone thinking that of me because I didn’t like a book written by a not-white author, or a character that’s not white, or something like that. It’s one reason I haven’t read some of the books that have come out recently that deal with topics like race. What if I don’t like the book and when I write a 3-star review, people get mad at me?

    I’m glad to know I’m not alone in my thinking. And, at the end of the day, what I think is what I think, wrong/right/weird, my thoughts are just that – my thoughts. Take them or leave them.


  2. Oh, I feel so much of this post! I’m terrified of writing negative reviews. Reviews are HARD enough without the added stress of writing about a book you didn’t like.
    But this post was super helpful! Some great ideas for not falling apart when being honest. 🙂


  3. I’ve written a fair few negative reviews, plus a few reviews for books I ended up DNF-ing. And generally, I haven’t had many issues with people getting upset, thankfully. A couple of comments on how you shouldn’t be writing reviews for books you don’t finish that crossed the line into rather rude, which I just block, because 1) they weren’t bloggers or writers, and 2) because it’s my blog, and getting to comment on it is a privilege that I can take away from you. But getting sued in terrifying, and something that doesn’t play in the back of my mind when I really didn’t like a book, so I try to write my critiques as nicely as possible.


  4. I’ve definitely been in the boat of being nervous to publish a negative review, but yes it’s sooo important to share our HONEST opinions on a book. I think that trust is the most important criteria of being a book blogger.

    But I do have to say – there are do’s and don’ts to writing a negative review. Like you said – don’t completely bash a book. I’ve seen this more times than I want to and it always comes across incredibly rude and immature!

    Liked by 1 person


    also yes i love this post!! i’m so scared of backlash tbh and also i used to change my ratings too!! like when i rated a book five stars or something, i’d read a review that hated it and then i was like “good review” and then i changed it rip me and my fickleness

    but yes!! i believe that you really should bash the author themself for the book, but you can like… bash the book i guess lmao

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AWWWWW JULIANNNNNNA!!! of course i mentioned you, how can i not?? i say it 24/7, but you’re fabulous, and so are your posts, and the fact that you watch Teen Titans!!

      glad to know i’m not the only one who was like that. honestly, i was vry scared of people ya know, judging me!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. OH THIS IS SO SO SO TRUEE!!! I think that writing a negative review is so daunting, and I used to be so scared of writing them, but now I just write it in a really sassy way (or I try to ahah!)

    I think that when writing a negative review, as you said, it’s really important not to go overboard with your hate, and stay calm!! I’ve definitely been guilty of ranting, and then before I publish it, I go back and change it because I realise that even though I have a negative opinion, it should still be said politely aha 😀

    This is such a great post, I loved this discussion!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. your reviews are just prefect. i mean i only read your recent review of Simon VS, but you nailed everything on point, like WOW!!

      yeahhhh, i can totally relate especially when i was writing When Dimple Met Rishi, review. i just ranted, and quickly went back to edit it. thank you so much!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I was actually very afraid to post negative reviews when I first started out as a blogger and as time passed I understood it was not a bad thing, everybody has different choices but it’s your own choice how you portray that feeling in your review. I am definitely against bashing but if someone states in a polite or in a different/fun manner like you said, it’s definitely an okay! But I have heard a few scary stories about authors retaliating back. And that’s completely wrong as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post! I do believe it’s important to be able to be honest and write a negative review if we feel a book’s not good. I’m not a fan of reviewers who only write positive reviews but I do know how hard it can be which is why I only review books from publishers these days as I’ve had a few authors get angry in the past at negative reviews. One author even had the cheek to say I should have paid for the privilege of reading her book lol! I don’t personally find writing negative reviews that difficult but I do find it hard sometimes especially when I seem to be the only one with a negative opinion, or if I have a negative review for a book which is all the rage as its about race equality, or something important like that. I find that hard as people might think I’m against the overall message of the book rather than the individual sorry itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ahaha, i loved your comment!! i can’t believe that an author has done that too you!! that was just so immature. i totally get how your feeling, recently i have read Starfish, and i gave it 2 stars, and idk i just felt SOOO nervous. as i scrolled through goodreads it was just FILLED with 5-star reviews!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol, I used to wonder if I’d read the book right when I saw nothing but positive reviews for a book! We all need to build more confidence with out reviews, I like negative reviews, we can make proper informed decisions as readers when there’s a negative review or two on a book 🙂


  9. Authors AND the community can be scary sometimes, but it’s all part of being a blogger. There are bound to be people who will disagree with you, be it on your negative reviews OR your positive ones!

    That being said, I totally respect people who are 100% honest in their reviews. For me, I think it’s OKAY to say that a book made you want to bleach your eyes (I may or may not have used this phrase in a few reviews already), as long as you don’t PERSONALLY attack the AUTHOR or the PUBLISHER. You can hate on a book, but never hate on the person who spent months, possibly years, writing it. ^_^

    – Aimee @ Aimee, Always


  10. I actively search for negative reviews, especially ones for books I like. They can help point out the flaws I glossed over and reanalyze the ones I ignored.


  11. Hello Balie!
    Great discussion post. I really love how honest you are, and the practical tips that you provided about how to write a negative review well.
    I can SO relate to your first point about not wanting to be the unpopular opinion. There are books that are hyped that I didn’t enjoy as much as I thought I would. I find it particularly hard to write a negative review of a book that is diverse, like Dimple and Rishi, because I don’t want to sound racist. It’s silly, right? I liked that Dimple and Rishi is a diverse book, however, there are OTHER aspects of the book that I disliked. It is silly to equate Dimple and Rishi with diversity, and to equate not enjoying the book with not liking diverse books in general. (If that makes any sense at all!)
    Again, thanks for sharing these tips! I’ve been staying away from reviewing books that I disliked. However, maybe I will make it a (very late) new year resolution to review more courageously 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sophie!! Thank you so much for liking my post, and agreeing with me! I’m so glad you can agree with my point on writing negative reviews on diverse books like When Dimple met Rishi. There’s always this little fear lurking in the back of my mind that someone will call me out as “racist”, an you put it in just the right words. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Haha, this post was both hilarious and so true! Posting negative reviews are as important as posting the positive ones, as long as you explain your viewpoint in a polite manner. This is seriously such a great discussion topic! On a side note: TOTALLY agree! Not studying for a chem final is NOT fun (…not that I’m speaking from past experience or anything…)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. That’s such a great, well-written post! 🙂 I actually don’t have a problem with writing negative Reviews (sometimes they are easier than positive Reviews for me, because when I love a book I’m like ‘omg it was so good omggg’ and words fail me xD), but I do think that trying to be calm and polite is a very good tip! When I really hate a book it’s sometimes hard not to slip into ranting, but I try my best to edit the Review or wait until my hate calms a bit 😀

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s really hard, because my brain isn’t supplying very helpful information, it’s just like “this was so good OMG OMG” 😂
        Oh no, the book hangover slump is the worst 😮 I hope you get out of it soon! 🙂


  14. New here on your blog ~ this is such an important discussion post! Sometimes I’m TERRIFIED of writing a negative review because of the way authors sometimes react as a result of seeing negative reviews. HAHAHA “my grandmother could’ve wrote better than this, and she didn’t even go to school!!” I’m laughing so hard. I see a sly BTS reference there *smirk* nice to see a fellow army! I think that negative reviews are something that is needed, but also completely bashing an author is unnecessary and should be avoided as much as possible – authors are people too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HELLLLLOOO FELLOW ARMYYYYYY!!! *rubs hands together* do i have a lot of questions for you. like who is your bias? , who is your bias wrecker? (everyone is the group is low-key bias wrecking me these days), J-HOPES MIXTAPE, did YOU LOVE IT SOOO MUCH?? and do you listen to other bands (like EXO/GOT7/RED VELVET…)??

      lol, anyways i’m so glad you enjoyed my post! You should not be of afraid of voicing your own opinions, because you matter!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jimin is my bias! Has been since I started stanning them about a year ago – Tae seems to wreck me the most, but Hobi with his mixtape release has me swerving a bit. IT WAS JUST SO GOOD??? like i love hobi and all but i wasn’t expecting it to be so good?? Ah yesss, i have so many groups i stan haha! got7, exo, monsta x, blackpink, nuest, astro, seventeen, bigbang… it goes on and on for forever haha.


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