I reached a pivotal point in my career as an author last night. Stix received its first one-star rating. No review explaining why or hate spewed on socials. I have no idea what the reader hated. But I am perplexed because it was an arc I sent out for free. So, that makes me question what other arc readers do when they hate the book? Several of my followers mentioned that they'd decline the review and contact the author directly.
I'm on the ARC and BETA teams of a handful of authors for several years now and I've never given one of them a one star rating. I also try, as a rule, to review every book that I read. The simple truth is that I try to not publish a rating and/or review for any book that I can't honestly give three star or higher rating to. There have been a few times that I did give a book a one star rating, but I can count those times on one hand. In every one of those times, the book was a nonfiction book, a how-to book on a subject which the author wasn't qualified to write about.. I reviewed those books and gave them one star ratings because if the reader followed the writers instructions they could be injured or even killed. Other than those reasons, I don't write one or two star reviews. What I do instead is email the author, explaining to him or her what I felt was wrong with the book and why I didn't review it.
When it comes to authors whose ARC and BETA teams that I'm on, I feel that my loyalty is to that author, and my responsibility is to help them become better writers through positive feedback, not to tear them and their work apart.
I would ask those that enjoyed the book and didn’t leave a review to help out. A few other authors have done this
I would never post an arc review under 3 stars without telling the author first and giving them the option to not post it. Also, the book would have to be unreadable with typos for me to give a 1 star. If I don’t enjoy a book but the writing isn’t for me I give a 3 and say it wasn’t my cup of tea but might be yours.
Next time , I would put anyone wanting to leave a less than 3 star review to send you a copy of the review first , then hold onto it until after the release ( usually 10 days to 2 weeks). That way it’s an honest review, but hopefully won’t tank the books release.
Respectfully, the point of sending out ARCs prior to release is to get *honest* reviews out there, not only good reviews. If someone didn’t like the book, they shouldn’t withhold their review just to make the author/the book look better. Yes, on the author’s side the point of sending ARCs for review and to hopefully get good reviews to help increase sales, but on the reader’s side, the point of reviews is to see if the book seems good and like something you’d want to read and negative reviews help inform that.