I am absolutely not sitting around fretting about this stuff, y'all. Other people are just talking to me.
Anyway. Quite a few people have come out with this statement (or variations of it):
Book reviews are more negative across the board.
Do you believe it? As for me -- I have no idea. I haven't seen any kind of proof, but okay. For this blog entry, I guess I'll take it as some kind of truth.
There's the whole ad hominem issue, authors and their strong/dumb opinions are too easily accessible by readers, conversations take place. And readers aren't going to be quiet about their own responses. But leaving out the personality factor..........If reviews are more prone to negativity, then I say the reasons are perfectly reasonable, as in this makes some sense.
1. There are many more books out there and many more are self-published. That's the most obvious drrrp reason.
2. But there's also the removal of the reverence. Back in the day, people would pick up a book and know that PROFESSIONALS put the thing together. If these pros thought this story was worth bringing to market, then the reader--and we'll just assume this reader likes books in general--already has faith in this system. The pros have credentials the reader doesn't know about. . This is like the difference between listening to a college professor versus encountering some schmoe off the street. With one, you have your notebook and pencil in hand, ready to take notes. The other, you'll give him a few seconds and if he isn't amazing, you are out of there, perhaps even muttering about nutters.
And then there's the other factor: if everyone's an author then there are a gazillion more of them out there..
3. When you read a book as a would-be author, you're looking for issues. You're not just reading; you're editing as you go, looking for holes. There are a bunch more wannabe authors out there than there used to be. That means there are a bunch more readers with editing eyes.
4. The audience has changed in other ways. Other people are watching movies or playing internet game so that means the people who are reading read a lot have very strong, specific ideas about what they like and want. I made this up, of course, but it sounds pretty good. Right?It's true in other areas of entertainment.
5. And of course the standard internet factor -- that's the other obvious one. Anonymous means no need to worry about anyone's opinion of you. Behind the computer it's easy to release the inner kraken to rip apart imaginary objects. That's where we'd get the attack the author issue, but it also carries over to other parts of reviewing.
So okay. I wonder if anyone can possibly figure out the proportion of pissy vs. pleasant reviews now versus, say, ten years ago.
It won't be me.