Becky Albertalli Makes a Case for the Pointlessness of Sharing Negative Feedback With Authors

“I know many writers exist in this space of constant, relentless self-doubt. Negative reviews feel like confirmation of what we already know.”

becky albertalli why not share bad book reviews

No one understands criticism quite like writers.

We spend months, years, decades even, drafting stories, characters, carefully-constructed plots and building worlds out of our own imagination in hopes of seeing our work immortalized in print.

So you can understand the disappointment when, through all the blood, sweat and tears behind the process, book bloggers respond to your work with negative feedback or poor book reviews. To escalate the dismay, authors are also subjected to criticism on a broader, social spectrum when readers and critics alike share this feedback on social media and decide to “tag” the author whose work is being censured.

The notion seems so simple: no one likes being told their writing is bad. Becky Albertalli, along with a host of others, is one such writer who expressed how it feels to be on the receiving end of bad book press.

Over the weekend (Saturday, August 16), the Upside of Unrequited author addressed this matter in a long yet eye-opening Twitter thread explaining why book bloggers do more harm than good when opting to publicize their direct disapproval of an author’s book.

Read her thread, below.

Honestly, I can totally see what Albertalli means here. All of it. When she says someone is doing this to your fave, believe her. Everyone receives criticism but not everyone metabolizes it the same way; and it’s important to note that reinforcing whatever disagreements you might have by virtually tapping an author on their shoulder to say, “Hey, I hate [blah, blah, blah] in your book because [blah, blah, blah]” it really is not constructive.

If anything, it’s propagating a culture of just being downright rude…Unfortunately, this is the society we live in: no one is spared in the digital realm.

As obvious as it might sound, Albertalli’s heartfelt message really puts things into perspective about the ways I decide to share bad book feedback. I mean, that’s why I created Paperback Paris: to give writers a space to share their opinions and not be side-eyed for them. However, I would never purposely try to put an author down with my review, at least in such a bold manner like tagging them on a platform.

Thanks for sharing your insight Becky, it really gave me a new outlook and approach.

What do you think about sharing negative reviews with authors?

Do you think it does more harm than good?
Let us know in the comments below! We’d love to discuss!

Written by Paris Close

Paris Close

Editor-in-chief at Paperback Paris. Saving myself for Andy Cohen. Give me Gillian Flynn, or give me death.