Yes, reader shaming is a real thing. When most people see those two words they conjure an image of an over-inflated, red-faced, angry, asshole of a writer, shaming his or her sweet & meek readers for daring to criticize their work. Sadly, that does happen on occasion. I’ve even heard tales of writers messaging readers and hounding them about reviews and opinions, BUT…that is not what I’m referring to.
Remember what I’ve said before about reviews being gold, even not so glowing ones? That is sofuckingtrue. They are not only great feedback for the writer, (providing he/she is open to it) but a powerful tool for other readers. I personally try to read 2 5 star, 2 3 star, and 2 1 star reviews when making a book purchase. So ALL reviews matter…in more ways than you think sometimes.
I notice a trend, not on purchase sites as much as book reviews site, thank God, of some elaborate, meme & gif filled reviews, both good and bad. Some are so hilarious, that sometimes I am so entertained by the reviews, I’ll read a book simply in spite of or because of them. While sometimes, I am so upset with reader shaming, for lack of a better description, that I feel like I just want to scream at the screen and toss my Mac at the wall.
And NO, it’s NOT their opinion that bothers me. I get that not every book is for everyone, hell I’ve read books that no one liked that I loved the hell out of, and on the other hand, I have loathed books that the entire country is flipping the fuck out over. It’s opinion, plain and simple and every single one of us is entitled to ours, and to share it with the world if we so choose. My problem is when at the end of a laugh meme, eye rolling gif, review—or even just a word filled one—the reviewer then proceeds to heap shame upon any reader whose opinion differs from theirs. If they FLOVED the book, they announce that anyone who didn’t, wouldn’t know a good book if it bit them on their trailer park, high school dropout, ass. Or, when they HATE the book and everything it represents or comes in contact with, they finish with stating that anyone who liked the book is a complete and utter moron, that the writer must have passed out free blow jobs to get the 4 & 5 star reviews, because anyone with even a hint of taste wouldn’t dare read it, much less pay for it and give it multiple stars.
Luckily, I haven’t had that trending on my books. But let’s be honest people, you probably have a pretty good idea of the power in those parting words. You know that no one wants to be the person that you just called a jackass for their opinion, so they either jump on board the love/hate train, or they don’t review at all, and that’s a shame because EVERY honest review matters.
And the ones shaming other readers, matter way more than you will ever know.
You can share your opinion, both good and bad, WITHOUT shaming other readers for theirs.
(PS, I have no editor for my blog posts, just my books, so forgive my mistakes.)