You are not alone.
But I do have a bit of experience with review writers. I run the largest peer review group on Goodreads. Although I haven't been active in the reviewing part of the group for many years, I'm still the main referee. You'd be surprised how unprofessional some professional writers can be when they have direct access to their reviewers.
I channel one of my Dom characters when dealing with some of them. Nothing like a firm spanking to get people to behave.
This is the advice I give to newbie reviewers and butt-hurt authors who got honest reviews rather than 5 stars.
Firstly, reviews are for READERS. not AUTHORS.
This is one just for authors: NEVER reply to a negative review. That way lies chaos, accusations of intimidation, and possibly pitchforks and torches. Suck it up, you have big boy/girl underwear on now, or at least have your tantrum in private rather than on a public forum.
The point of a review is to help readers pick a book they will enjoy.
Authors provide products. Readers are consumers of those products and need to know if that purchase will suit them. They need to know the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Every author wants to attract people who will enjoy their books and steer people away who'll hate them. What I'm getting at, is that negative reviews are not always bad reviews, but there are some things you might want to avoid for the sake of your fellow readers.
Things to avoid when writing a review.
Given what I just said about negative reviews being useful, this is a tricky one. I don't want to suggest limiting a reviewer from saying whatever they want, but I think every fair-minded person will agree that a review should be about the book, not the author.
Personal attacks on authors are a no-go. And could get your review, maybe even your account, removed.
I've been called a misogynist for writing female-centered BDSM, back in the day, and I've heard of other mm authors getting homophobic reviews. This is NOT ok.
If a book is not your thing, move on.
If you think a book violates amazon policy, or the quality is terrible, report it. Amazon wants to have good products on their store too.
Spoilers. Please don't, for the sake of other readers. Just like you don't want to know how a movie ends, or 'whodunit' in a murder mystery, don't state the ending in a review.
Remember, a review is not a school book report. You shouldn't be trying to tell the entire plot.
One-star reviews without explanation
If you hated a book enough to bother rating it one star, let other people know why. it doesn't have to be long. e.g. Got bored, too much, too little **** writing style didn't suit, etc. Say if you DNF (Did Not Finish) and why.
Possible things to put in a review
NOTE: One-line reviews are perfectly fine!!!
But if you want to give your fellow reader more, below are some ideas about structuring a longer review.
1. What is the story about? Reveal the genre, theme, main conflict, and main characters in the story — without giving away spoilers or revealing how the story ends. A good rule of thumb is not to mention anything that happens beyond the midpoint.
2. What did you think of it? Enjoyable, stayed up all night, it dragged? Did you connect with the writing style?
3. Who would you recommend the books to, if anybody? e.g. fans of low-angst clean romance will love this.
(said no one about one of my books ever)
I hope that helped!
Hit the button below to let me know. And yes, please say if I'm boring you to tears.