“Are You A Review Snob?”


“Help an author … leave a review.”

I see it daily … that little quote we readers, reviewers, blogs, authors, personal assistants, et al, post all the time in our groups, our outgoing email signature, in events – it’s everywhere. I’m just beginning to wonder if we’ve forgotten one very important part of this sentence: “Help an author!” 

It’s happening more and more frequently. I’ve heard countless authors being torn to shreds by the holier than thou, Review Snobs. What part of Help An Author,” is so difficult to understand? I’m perplexed and quite fed up, to be frank. Why are we tearing these writers to pieces? We receive ARC’s for FREE; we win copies of books for FREE; we read it when we get time and then what? Well, it’s review time, right? Because that’s what we do in the Indie community – we help each other out and we leave an honest, respectful and polite review for said author’s very hard work, which probably took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears for he or she to so nicely gift to us in exchange for an honest review.

But, wait! Are we taking this too far? I mean, if you already know you don’t like a specific genre or sub-genre, why are you standing in line for an ARC you already know you aren’t going like in the first place?? Is it a competition to see how many books you can put on your Kindle or e-reader? Is it a race? An obsession? I mean, leaving an honest review for an author, in my opinion, is for some of the following reasons:

  1. To let the author know how you viewed, felt, or reacted when reading his or her hard work.
  2. To let others know your honest thoughts about the story.
  3. To help an author (there’s that quote again!) by respectfully and politely suggesting enhancements or improvements.
  4. To share with the world how much you loved a story and you hope everyone will love reading it.

Ahhh … here’s part of the problem.

Not. Everyone. Enjoys. The. Same. Genres. 

News to you? Not me. There are certain books I simply have no interest in because of their genre. I can’t help it. I have no interest in reading a technical “how to” or “DIY” book, but some of you may love those books. We are all different. So, why are we jumping up and down for FREE books of a sub-genre we don’t like? And why in the hell would you read book two if you hated book one?? I. Just. Don’t. Get. It. Furthermore, if you simply hate a story, why don’t you kindly approach the author (who will usually appreciate the risk you took to be very honest with him or her) to discuss your reasons for rating with one or two stars? Remember our quote?

“Help an author … leave a review.”

So, if I just hate a story, chances are I’m not finishing the entire book. In that case, if I have received a FREE ARC or been gifted a book, I may either contact the author or simply write on my review, “DNR (did not read).” Nothing else needed, in this case. This allows the potential reader to perhaps read other reviews, use the “look inside” feature offered by Amazon, and make his or her own choice about reading the story, rather than reading a review consisting of how terrible the book was (Are you a Review Snob?). Another thing I do for a story I don’t think I can really write a helpful review for is just not write a review. Period. That’s just me.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I do not advocate for dishonest reviews just because you like an author…or don’t. Nope. I do my best, always, to keep my work full of good ethics and integrity, because that’s very important to me. Some stories totally wow me, some are fabulous and some are good. Then, there’s the stories that all read the same, only with different circumstances, as a lot of others in specific genres. You know what I’m talking about. If you’ve read one, you’ve read them all.

So, what does an author truly want to see in a review? Have you ever tried asking? I’m sure they all want five stars and best sellers, period, but that’s just not realistic. I think most authors I communicate with are more drawn to their three-star reviews than any of the others. Why? They seem to be the most helpful (Help an author … ) reviews, honest, and realistic. With that being said, please don’t think I’m saying a review is most legitimate if it has only three stars. If you feel a story deserves five stars,  by all means, shout it to the world. I know I do. So, here are a few things authors have told me personally he or she likes to see in a review:

  1. Respect (no need to tear a hard working writer to pieces).
  2. Spoiler-free reviews (don’t ruin it for others, really).
  3. Quotes a reader really enjoyed from their book.
  4. How did the book make you feel?
  5. Do you have a polite and friendly suggestion (for anything deeper than a quick note, try emailing or private messaging the author first)?
  6. Purchase links, links to the authors’ social media sites, etc.
  7. Just be kind. There’s no need to be mean and callous to get your point across. Sometimes, less is more.
  8. Share your review on Amazon, Goodreads, and any other social media sites you use. This is truly helping an author by leaving a review.

Since I’m discussing author reviews right now, I’d sort of like to introduce one of my personal etiquette rules. This is my personal ethic and does not have to be yours, nor is it a rule or requirement from anyone. When I receive an ARC, first of all, I am honored. I am honored the author trusts and values my opinion well enough to send me a copy of their very hard work-their art. I don’t take that lightly. So, when it’s time for me to write my review for an ARC or freebie (however received), I really try to first purchase the Amazon eBook before reviewing. Not only does this help an author, it also places the words, “Verified Purchase” on my review, lending more credibility to my review. Again, this is my personal thing and is not requested from me EVER by any author. I only wanted to share with you what my personal take is on proper book etiquette.

Now that I’ve probably pissed off half the Indie community with my title on this blog post, I have a question for you: What is your true motivation when you write a review? Our reviews can truly help an author learn and grow if written with respect and courtesy, but when a reviewer begins to tear an authors hours and weeks or months of work, ignoring his or her family, eating on the laptop, writing for our pleasure, I’ve heard it simply causes some authors to just want to give up. That’s not okay. Don’t do that. Really.

As a reviewer and blogger in this community, I believe it’s time we all go back to the basics – you know, back when you were “new” and wrote reviews from your hearts, rather than for ulterior motives. Are you a Review Snob? 

“Help an author … leave a review.”

~Have You Heard? Book Blog

Have You Heard? Book Blog


21 thoughts on ““Are You A Review Snob?”

  1. I really enjoyed this. On my site, I won’t post a 1 or 2 star book. If the author was lucky enough to get published then someone ‘liked’ it. If I start reading a review and the reviewer states ‘I don’t normally read these types of books or genre’ I stop right there. And don’t get me started on when someone writes in their review ‘it was a 3.5 , but I gave it a four to be nice’. Really? Done venting. Thanks again for the great article!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is perfect! I agree one hundred percent. Well said. Thank you so much for being a champion of authors. But, the fact that you also stated you believe in honest reviews makes your point all the more valid. I don’t review as much as I would like, because, being an author myself, I have to be careful. Amazon often monitors author reviews, often removes them, and an author can get ‘punished’ for their review practices.


  3. Donna says:

    Not only did i like this post i screen shot the 8 ideas to help.me with reviews. I try to only read my preferred genre when reviewing. I do try to be constructive. I did have one book so horribly written that i started to highlight mispellings and major grammer errors. My review included my thoughts on the book and a comment that there were a few errors. I then emailed all those mistakes(6page list) to the author. He was so greatful he sent me a second book to thank me for my honesty and then he corrected the errors that he thought was caught in reviewing. If i do not like a book i still point out its good qualities then say but overall was not my cup of tea. I see no reason for one human to be vicious to another.


    • I thought I responded to you but I don’t see it here. I appreciate your comments and willingness to grow and learn more. It’s great when a person can drop an ego or insecurity and be willing to grow even more. I learn many new things every single day and I’m not a perfect reviewer, but I am not a review snob. Lol. I love seeing how many people truly care about the author, his or her work, and the integrity of ones own heart. ❤️
      Tiffany Landers, PA


  4. I love this discussion. For me personally every review I post (apart from one) has been for a book I am generally interested in, and purchased with my own money. I always offer constructive criticism on character, character development, story, pacing, tension and overall enjoy-ability from my personal experience. The tone is light and not inflammatory. It would be great if ‘trolls’ and ‘flamers’ were removed from the review system, but it’s an unfortunate snapshot of our society that these people exist and are everywhere. But for every Debbie Downer, there’s a Positive Polly… let’s hope the universe is balanced out in some way.
    Happy reading and reviewing – keep it positive, keep it constructive.


  5. Great blog! I’m with you all the way about reviewer snobs and etiquette. Even best selling authors have stories to share about receiving a bad review and still, they persist to go on and win reader fans. Every author bleeds sweat and tears over their “babies.” It can be devastating to get those babies panned.

    I prefer certain genres and usually stick to them, but often, a specific genre offers surprises that incorporate multiple genres: Great writing and characters, mood, pace, unique setting, plot lines, editing, even a wonderful cover, etc. Surely every book has SOMETHING good, something enjoyable to focus on in a review. If I can’t give out 3 to 5 stars, I simply won’t review.

    In my most baffling review, someone simply wrote one word–“Okay.” Another was a “revenge review” by a disgruntled employee who was fired by my daughter and admitted she had not read the book. I was devastated, but fortunately, that became my only one star review, and I couldn’t do anything to erase it, despite pleading with Amazon.

    I imagine every author has moments of doubt about their talent, but skin does thicken with setbacks and special circumstances beyond control. PERSISTENCE,,,and plenty of promotion is key to success! Maybe the best advice for all novelists is to vet the reviewers who snap up free ARC’s. There are reviews you pay for –with the choice of using their review or not. Maybe not always financially sound, but at least you have a choice in using it!


  6. I read only certain genres like mysteries and thrillers. I stay away, even if requested in an email from certain genres like YA or Sci Fi or Fantasy – just not my type of book. And I have received emails offering me their free book in return for a review. I usually respond that I am not able at this time to read their books but would contact them if able to, also noting that it is not my usual genre.


    • Great thinking! I do the same thing; however, I have finally learned to be a little more open as I’ve discovered some of my favorite reads in genres I never would have intentionally read had I not been put into a position of having to read said genre. Thanks for commenting. I appreciate your time. 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

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