Digital Reads Reviews

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There are many times I give star ratings without an explanation or a review on my profile on Amazon or Goodreads.

It is my wish if I decide to just rate or write a few lines review on my profile or on my blog. It is my wish what rating I give – 1 star or 5 stars. If a book does not make me happy, it SIMPLY does not. I can’t say it feels wonderful reading the book when I don’t feel so. There are days when the stresses of life, especially during this world crisis, I can’t find words as my brain has gone into survival mode. So rating and one-line reviews might be my new norm.

But I definitely won’t like it if an author or a fellow reader pulls up my name and profile on the social media, then proceed to ask if I am doing okay on a public forum just because I have given low ratings for his/her books and others too. Why should a reader be pulled up and shamed like this for not liking a book/books?

I saw that happening to someone, and it shocked me. I was in tears for that reader/reviewer. How do you know what kind of a day that reader has had? How do you know what problems have befallen that reader? To call him/her out like this didn’t feel like kindness.

Maybe I am reacting too much or maybe not. I have been harassed by an author and fans for 1 year for giving a low rating on a book. And my heart just goes out to this reader whose reading profile and books rating has been screenshot and put on social media for all to see and make fun of.



And I got to thinking, how long will it take for an author to do that with my profile? How long would it take for an author to harass me again for my rating or review? Should I be scared of what I write? Seeing the post brought out all that I had gone through when I got nasty comments on my blog for 1 year for a review until I shut down comments on that post. I nearly had a breakdown at being called dirty names.

Am I reacting too much? Is such a thing okay?

The pandemic has scared me up properly. More than 2.5 lac people have died, and the numbers are increasing.

Why can’t we be more kind? Am I asking too much?

There are many things on this earth at the moment than ratings. So many have lost their loved ones. I have cried every single day since the crisis started. In 2 months, the world has changed for us and our loved ones.

I don’t know who the reader is, but if it had been me, I would have broken down for being questioned in such a manner.

Corona is already taking away physical strength, don’t take away mental strength. Some of us are struggling here.

Absolutely heartbroken. I have been crying since I saw that post.

Why can’t we be more considerate? I despair for humanity, sometimes.

50 Responses

  1. That’s awful! I often think, when an author contacts me directly, that they should be careful of what they are asking for – 9 times out of 10 those books have not been edited properly and are technically just bad. But to harass a reviewer is unconscionable. You asked for it and that is part of the risk you took as an author. This makes me very sad.

    1. It made me cry for an hour as that reader may not even know her profile has been made a mockery by other friends of the author…. I am shocked at what the others are saying about that reader because she gave 3 and 2 stars

  2. I find it really disheartening that authors/readers would criticize anyone for their OPINION. It is your blog, your goodreads account, your Amazon account, YOUR OPINION. If anyone had anything negative to say, I’d ban comments on that post, block the jerk and try not to let it get to you (even though I know it will because we are the same person and we are both sensitive to this kind of thing). I hope the person you’re referring to has done all of the above. I’ll never change my ratings/reviews for someone else. ❤

    1. I have no idea Jess. I was shocked to see the screenshot. I don’t even who that reader was. I checked her goodreads profile, she has worked in a library for 12 years. I assume the reader must be knowledgeable to give low rating to books. But how is rating so important in a world where 1000s are dying

      1. That too. I understand that writing books is an author’s job, but low ratings come with the territory. The biggest advice I’ve ever seen given to authors is to pay no attention to their reviews (except on blog tours, because you should thank bloggers). Otherwise, they are not for the author, they are for readers. If your skin isn’t thick enough to understand not everyone will like your book, get a new job.
        And during the pandemic, stop being jerks!!! Grrrrrr!!!

  3. Shalini, you are such a sensitive and kind person. I admire your empathy.
    I also hope for people to embrace kindness. In my heart, I believe they are but what gets more air time are the outrageous bad behaviors. I’ve had to ignore them to preserve my sanity, humanity and hopefulness. I NEVER engage with those looking for an online fight and don’t hesitate to use the tools available to block them.
    It’s important these days to protect your eyes and ears from those wishing to make you feel bad. Don’t let them win. Put your armor on, smile and reach out to your safe zones.
    Hugs to you💜

    1. Thank you so much Jonetta. Life has changed and I can feel the fear palpable in each of us.
      A little kindness goes a long, long way. In times when people are dying, we need to pray to be with our loved ones, not worry about ratings of a book especially when so many are unemployed

        1. I too am praying every minute. I don’t sleep nights; I beg the powers to be for a cure. Vaccine would take a very long time. We need cure now.

  4. I am sorry Shalini that you had to go through this. I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s you opinion and you are entitled to it. Don’t let deplorable people bring you down. Keep up the reviews as they are helping people like to me in deciding what to include in their TBR as life is short to read bad books.

    It’s your review, you can rate it however you feel it. You are a nice person.

    1. Exactly Blue. People have forgotten than in world crisis, some are going through more problems than others. So a little kindness is needed now more than ever

  5. Hi Shalini, I have to second all of Jessica’s comments. Egos tend to get in the way and fans can be overly abusive when someone criticizes their favorite author’s work. It is so wrong, but sadly, you can’t stop the bullying or the cruelty. All you can do is try not to let it get to you.
    If authors can’t deal with criticism, then they shouldn’t be in this business. Not everyone is going to like their books, and that’s just the way it is. I, for one, appreciate reviewers like you who are willing to take the time out of your busy day to leave an honest review. Don’t let this discourage you. Please keep reviewing and sharing your opinion. It is very helpful to authors and other readers. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. It was not even criticized. The reader just gave one star and 2 star rating to books she didn’t like. That’s it. Why did the author have to screenshot her profile and call her names? I am trying to fight for her, hoping the other bloggers and author grow up and not call the reader mean names.

      This is really sad. The reader doesn’t even know her name is on social media

  6. I wonder what the author thinks this will accomplish. It won’t change the ratings, won’t change anyone’s behavior, and won’t create an increase in sales. Instead, it makes the author look petty and unpleasant, which could have a negative career impact. People really need to think it through before venting in a public forum.

    1. Amanda, other authors and bloggers too vented and called that reader names for three of her 2 star ratings. I have been telling them that she is a librarian as seen on her profile… But so sarcastic were the comments. And the reader doesn’t even know her name has been pulled through all this. It is so sad… One rating caused all this…. Why? This is world crisis, how can everyone like all books?

  7. Oh Shalini… there really aren’t any words to make this feel better. I wish I could just give you a great big hug. I’m sorry that authors and their fans feel they have such a right. It should never happen at all and I hate that you had such a horrible experience and that you should be reminded of it in such a way. We will catch up soon. I’ll have to make you laugh your way out of this one, at least for a bit. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    1. Oh baby.. Just seeing your words made me smile…
      It is ironical that most of us in hot spots don’t know if we would survive the crisis with our families and there are authors who are worried about one star rating…
      How does rating matter in front of survival? I can’t understand.
      Do we humans think the crisis would happen to others and not to us? Where is such a guarantee in life.
      That reader had been shamed by other bloggers and authors… Some wanted to pray for her as she had given three books low ratings and some said she was in a bad mood. She is a librarian for heaven’s sake…. And she doesn’t know people are talking about her… Gawd
      Why Nina why? What is wrong with people of today? Where is empathy? Can you imagine the doctors all over the world who have had to declare loved ones dead? Omg I can’t breathe thinking about the state of the world… And here we have – She gave me one star rating, pray for her… I can’t believe how people could be this way during tough times. Why can’t they be kind? Whyyyyyy?

  8. That is so bad! I have never had this happen to me – although I did have au author comment on my Goodreads when I gave a 3 star review saying they were sorry it wasn’t for me! Not everyone likes everything!

    1. Exactly. I wished people moved with more grace and understanding in this world especially during tough times. The reader whose name has been dragged doesn’t even know that she has been spoken about like this with sarcasm and pity. All because she gave a 1 star rating and millions are dying all over the earth

  9. Unbelievable and shocking! I think the author should be reported to Goodreads because it is against their policy for authors to act in this manner. Usually I do not provide written reviews for my 1 or 2 star ratings out of CONSIDERATION for the author…..and sometimes because I just don’t want to give more time to a book I didn’t enjoy. Thanks for taking time to speak out about this and for your empathy and kindness.

  10. As a reader and an author, I am shocked by this post, Shalini. I have never ever commented on a review in a public forum [or even a private one] other than to thank the reviewer for their effort. I don’t usually finish reading books that I don’t enjoy so don’t rate below a 3, but I don’t necessarily think that is the correct thing to do. I just also don’t think it is fair to rate or review a book I can’t finish reading. I have also just given ratings before, sometimes I don’t have the time to write a review but what to say something about the book. Don’t let it get you down. It takes all sorts of people to make a world and not all of them are nice.

  11. Shalini you are such a kind person with a big heart. Unfortunately there’s nothing to say to make things better because no matter how much we point out how what they are doing is wrong there’s always going to be someone who just likes to stir up drama. I hate that this is happening to the person you are talking about and that it’s happened to you before as well. No one should be judged or criticized for their opinion because it’s just that. It’s their opinion. Everyone is different and not everyone is going to feel the same way and not everyone rates books the same. It’s times like this when I understand more and more why my husband isn’t much of a people person.

  12. What happened was horrible. But know that it’s their insecurity is showing. They are in denial the book didn’t work the way they wanted. It’s them who couldn’t digest some negative comments. Their sportsmanship is in question. It’s horrible to see them saying nasty things in public but know that people supports right person. Those who knows you won’t judge you by things they are doing. Don’t be afraid of what they think or say, they asked for your opinion not other way around and know that you have supporters.

  13. Shalini, I started following you about the time you were attacked for your review; I remember being so shocked that this would happen to anyone. As I recall, the publisher even jumped in and banned you. I can tell that knowing about this happening to another reviewer has brought it all up again for you. It is already such an emotional time for all of us. I just can’t imagine anyone being this cruel. Just as I start to see the good in social media, something like this happens. I am sorry for you, and I am sorry for the person who is being criticized for rating a book honestly. In terms of the virus, things will get better. We can pray; we can follow guidelines. Past that, it is in God’s hands; but we can certainly be kind to each other along the way.

  14. Oh God, this is really sad and creul. Each person has their own likes and dislikes isn’t it. As a reader and reviewer, don’t we have the choice to say “No, I didn’t like it?” and it is 1 star for me. I feel the same for that reader who was pulled up on social media and I feel terrible that it has happnened to you before. I understand when you say it’s making you cry. Love and hugs dear and hold in tight. Let’s do what we have to do Shalini and if authors or fans of the author cannot take it with grace, it is their fault not ours.

  15. Oh, lovely, I am so sorry this has has such an impact on you. You wear your heart on your sleeve and you are such a joy. I hate to know the bookish world is making you unhappy. Ratings, like reviews, are subjective and should not require explanation or public shaming, or whatever. Your hobby, your rules. I admit I have stopped putting star ratings on my review posts because I feel pressured into going into all lengths possible to justify my choice. Some think 3 stars is low, some think it’s okay… I don’t have time for this. I believe that as long as respect is around, you shouldn’t have to worry about voicing your opinion, with a rating, a review, or whatever.
    I am sending you big big hugs. Please don’t let this affect you too much. We love you! xxx

  16. People say horrible things because they can hide behind a computer screen. I fear this is definitely a “thing” about the internet. It allows those who are vile and nasty to attack an opinion. Luckily the kind people outweigh the cruel.

    1. I am genuinely thankful Marialyce that the good outweigh the bad ones. But when survival of mankind is at stake, how does a rating of the book matter? How does writing remarks about an unknown reader matter al because it decreases a decimal point of average ratings. I have seen many authors crying on Facebook when a reviewer gives low rating and negative review. Their author friends too shame that reviewer. What is the need to do that?
      We don’t like the food of a restaurant, we give low rating and walk away. We don’t think the hours put into making of that food.
      Low rating makes us feel bad, but Mocking a reader just shows the author’s character more even if it is covered in sarcastic humor.

  17. so sorry, dear Shalini, for the ugly experience — most people are wonderful, so why is it that the stupid ones can torment us so much?!

  18. Oh this is absolutely awful! I just don’t understand why authors and publishers bother to ask you if you want to review if they only expect 5 star reviews… What about honesty and integrity? I’ve been questioned about low ratings before; asked to increase the rating, reread the book since I clearly didn’t ‘get’ it the first time around or delete reviews… It seriously sucks, and makes me doubt my worth as a reader, but I’ve decided long ago to let haters be and focus on the part of the community that shares the booklove and supports others. It’s sad to have so much negativity especially during such a hard time… Why can’t people be nicer to each other? I was literally attacked on twitter yesterday for not including the name of a translator in my blog tour review; the person attacking didn’t even bother to check who actually wrote the review before slandering me… In a time where I’m already feeling low and stressed, I really didn’t need that. Anyway, always remember that there are a lot of us who love honest reviews, will always be there for fellow bloggers and share the love. Don’t let the haters bring you down! <3 xx

    1. Yvo I don’t plan to ever name the translator of books. I just checked Twitter. My review is about the author who wrote the story and not for translator, that is for the publisher to take care. Also, on Amazon, nobody ever mentions the translator. I am so done with people who keep demanding things from us. We read books we write a few words. That’s it. I am not here to give publicity to various people involved in the process of writing and publishing a book, translated or otherwise.

      1. Oh yes, I agree with that! It’s not like we are pretentious literary blogs and get paid to write our reviews… I read and write reviews to share the love for books as well as help spread the word about what the author wrote; I don’t even tag authors in my reviews and I will never tag translators either. I sometimes mention the translator in my blog tour reviews; I know how hard translating is as I have studied it myself, but I don’t feel I should be forced to write something in my reviews just because someone says so. Thankfully the woman that wrote those things had nothing to do with the publisher or blog tour organiser; she actually DMed me telling me not to worry about it. (So I guess thankfully there are also people out there who do appreciate what we do.)

  19. I’ve faced this especially with authors that are like 2 books old. One of them pulled up my Instagram profile telling me to change my 2 star rating to 4 stars because it would affect the overall rating or he would make sure I wasn’t considered for any book reviews within the community. With the advent of self publishing, there is no one to hold up the standard of literature that should go out to the public and this has given impetus to so many mediocre pieces of writing in the market. This also gives a huge ego boost to the authors of such books who are only looking for high praise and cannot deal with constructive criticism.

    More power to you though Shalini, such people will always be there.

  20. I feel you and for you, precious girl! I’ll stand at your side any day and be your kickass chick.

    As someone who was ruthlessly bullied in high school and later by an incompetent and insecure supervisor, I totally understand and empathize with how this type of rampant arrogance and demeaning and petty viciousness can affect and effect your life and cause considerable consternation, self doubt, emotional pain, and deep scars to the psyche that are challenging to process, heal, and overcome.

    I have since observed and concluded that stupid and crazy are everywhere and when some vile troll feels the need to make themselves feel better for their shortcoming at my expense, I refuse to put their numerous issues in my boat, as I’ve enough of my own to row and attempt to stay in course. I am also stingy with my time and refuse to give them any of my energy, let them deplete their own meager supply of brain power with their own self importance.

    However, I’ll gladly expend my reserves in backing up the right of any individual, whether a blogger or reviewer, to express their personal opinions on their page, whether I agree with their conclusions or not is irrelevant.

    1. I will answer this when my headache is gone but I did something naughty today. You are tagged… 😂 😂 Many many times in Facebook. Sarah and I are sure you are gonna scream. What a hoot!! I get my jollies this way

        1. You are my darling honey. I am always thinking about you, you put a smile on my face from the first day we met virtually

  21. I totally agree with you Shalini. Every person is entitled to their opinion, every book is not for every person. If you give your reasons for not liking something, then that is it. No one should be shamed or harassed for that. That is unacceptable!

  22. Don’t bother with such negativity. Whenever a bad thing like that happens, I deal with it by thinking the mockery says more about the person who mocks than the victim. They’re doing that to themselves. I feel for the person who rated the book. Reading and reviewing is all for our own joy. If it doesn’t give you that at the moment, no one should force you to do it. That is why it is called passion. Unless you’re on a contract which I don’t think is the case most of the times.

    🙂Stay safe. And it’s alright to feel low. You’re not alone.

    1. That’s the most beautiful line. I agree it is passion and they cannot be same. Thank you so much for your wonderful support

  23. Sadly, the stop has been pulled out on ugliness lately. And if that’s not apparent, turn on the news. As hard as it is to do, we can’t control what others say and do. But we can do our best to not take it personally and perhaps counteract rudeness with distracting ourselves by doing something nice for someone. We can definitely control our actions. And, yes, it is totally heartbreaking how some behave.

    1. I understand. I was most affected because it was an author I knew and she mocked a reader on social media for her rating and calling her pathetic as she didn’t like her book. That really shocked me. Other authors too joined in Mocking that girl. She was a librarian so I assume she would know her books. Besides liking or disliking a book is a personal choice

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