My Twisted Writer Brain…

Review-Bombs Covered in the Press May Have Positive Impact

Right now there’s a post circulating on social media titled “How Review-Bombing Can Tank a Book Before It’s Published.” Just click on the link to learn more.

Source: Scopio. Artist: Andreas Steidlinger

In a nutshell, ‘review-bombing’ is the act of leaving negative book reviews by readers who often haven’t read the book or by a group of like-minded people with some agenda/message/theme/political/statement/etc. with which they want to target the author.

Review-bombing can be compared to swarming. It’s not a mature look at the writing, plot, and structure–it’s about the reviewer affiliations and not the product reviewed.

To “bomb” means that many target the same book with negative feedback to deter others from buying the book or to teach a ‘lesson’ to the author that powerful forces are at work.

Review-bombing is often organized, targeted hatred via limited information and/or little or no first hand knowledge of the subject at hand.

In this particular situation, here’s what happened. Author, Cecilia Rabess wrote her debut novel “Everything’s Finethen sent out advance reader copies (ARCs). One of the advance readers mentioned the plot on Twitter and ka-boom… it went viral. That’s when shit hit the proverbial fan.

Many didn’t like the controversial notion of a young black woman falling “in love with a conservative white co-worker with bigoted views”.

That dislike transferred from Twitter posts to Goodreads reviews where disgruntled people (who had not read the book) left a bunch of one star “reviews” attacking the plot and the author (note to readers: Author Cecilia Rabess is a poc).

For those who don’t know, Goodreads is a subsidiary of Amazon and is used as a social media platform for writers and readers.

It not only gives voice to authors selling their wares, but also to the readers who drive the traffic via reviews, social interactions, and genre specific voting for ‘best book’ etc..

Goodreads is where many readers discover new authors and where authors can gain recognition for their works. Books are tracked for popularity and recommendations. There are give-aways, communities, and author discussions.

Can you see how devastating a negative review-bombing could be? It can affect sales, professional reputations and relationships, while giving voice to something or someone that isn’t necessarily the best/real reviewer of the work in question.

Source: Scopio Artist: Gul ekrulila

Don’t underestimate the power of Goodreads.

NOTE: I seriously love Goodreads. There’s so much good there, but that always means someone can ruin it too. My user name is Faye Arcand. Come follow me.

This particular “review-bombing” got top media coverage and can be compared to the banned books controversy.

How many go unnoticed?

How swayed are you as a reader when you see a one or two star review? Do you dig further or move on?

If you ask someone why they’re leaving a one start review on a book they may spout rhetoric, or they may have a legit reason… They may also say that everyone else is doing it–so why not?

It should act as a wake up call for all of us to read with scrutiny and wade through trash.

You just never know.

People with strong opinions and too much time on their hands, will jump on a bandwagon because they’ve either been instructed by someone in a perceived power role, often following blindly without having read the book, or because of a personal agenda that no one really cares about until it makes the news.

This is pure ignorance. Simple and plain.

The media, whether traditional or social, is a powerful tool. The issue with Ms. Rabess book has been spotlighted and is now turning around.

I just (June 27/23) checked the Amazon site and the Canadian site shows that Rabess’s book averages 4 stars (77 reviews); on the US site it also averages 4 stars (114 reviews) and 3.35 stars on Goodreads (800+ reviews… the lower stars are getting drowned out).

What’s interesting is that this is a book that would never have even been on my radar, but because of the controversy I’ll now buy it, read it, and do a legit review.

The stress that this must’ve caused is heart-breaking. An author is the vessel of her muse and writes through the noise. Brava to you Ms. Rabess. Keep writing what you want and stay strong. I’m in your corner. Go forth and conquer.

NOTE: If you’re going to review a book, don’t be a complete ass. HERE are some tips on how to complete a review. Oh, and please read the book prior to review. Just because someone in your circle says …ewww it’s really terrible or blasphemous or whatever… use your own thought process and wonderful brain power to make an informed choice.

Tell me your thoughts on this subject. I’m curious to know what you think about the author, the book (if you’ve read it), and the entire review-bombing controversy.

Source: Scopio. Artist: Nally Rodriguez

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