Stop Posting Spoilers — and Other Tips for Writing An On-Line Review

The last time I wrote a blog post about how to write and on line reviews was nearly nine years ago.  Back then, I was really explaining to visitors to my site how to post a review on Goodreads or Amazon.

I realize that, these days, most people (or at least most people who read my books) know how to do this.  But it has come to my attention that there are several things many people do in writing their reviews that annoy other people.  So I figured I would write a new post, trying to correct some of these problems.

1. DO NOT PUT SPOILERS IN YOUR REVIEW!!!!

There is not a single person on earth who appreciates having a review spoil a surprise in a book that they want to read.  NO ONE!  And writing ‘Warning: Spoilers Ahead’ does not mitigate the damage.

It is very very easy to not put a spoiler in your review.  Simply don’t share anything from the book that you were surprised to find out.  Of course, this not only applies to writing reviews on websites, but also comments on this webpage — or any other.

And, for the record, I am not only talking to amateur reviewers here.  There are plenty of professional — or at least seasoned — reviewers who spoil things in their reviews all the time.  Don’t do it.  Or random people will hate you.

2. ROUND UP.

Just about every site only gives you five options for reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 stars.  Admittedly,  having only five options lacks nuance.  That said, it is staggering to see how many times someone will give a four star review and say, ‘I really think this should be 4.5 stars.’  If you ever feel like this, round up!  That’s just basic math, people.  And do you know what it costs you to give something 5 stars instead of 4?  NOTHING.

3. BE OPEN-MINDED

If you don’t like the subject matter that a book veers into, that doesn’t mean it deserves a one star review.   Because that isn’t really a review of the book at all; it’s your own personal issues coming through.

If you don’t believe in evolution and a book mentions it, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad book. If you are uneasy with the concept of homosexuality and a book has a gay character, that doesn’t make it a bad book.  If you feel that a book shouldn’t use a synonym for ‘buttocks’ and it does, that doesn’t make it a bad book.  (In that case, try reviewing the book for the 69,999 words in it that didn’t offend you, rather than the 1 that did.)  A bad review based on your own personal issues says more about you than it does about the book.

4. BE NICE TO OTHERS WHO WILL READ THE REVIEW

Recently, I have had issues with people purposefully posting spoilers — or even fake spoilers — simply to upset people.  That’s not cool.

That said, if you really didn’t like a book of mine, you should feel free to write a review saying that you didn’t like it.  Personally, I find well-written reviews explaining what a person’s problems with my book were to be very helpful.  (Although I certainly like reading 5-star reviews more.)

Okay.  I’ve said my piece.  Thanks for reading this.

287 thoughts on “Stop Posting Spoilers — and Other Tips for Writing An On-Line Review

  1. What was funnier/weirder:
    Murray’s pic of him and Zoe, or the names Mike and Trixie’s names for each other?

  2. Alexander Zverev –

    Definitely the pet names. That was funnier, but the drawing of Murray and Zoe was definitely weirder.

  3. Erica hale-
    That’s kinda random but I do like strawberry Ice Cream.
    Although I prefer mango sorbet.

  4. SSAS –

    Los Angeles is a very big city, but it is also very spread out. So many parts of it are not crowded at all.

  5. Everyone who was talking about Fan-fiction —

    Wait, Wattpad is 13 +?!?!?! I created an account a couple of weeks ago… Well, oops. I really like fan-fiction, but of course, the real books are way better.

    Also, where is the picture of Murray and Zoe? I don’t remember that part. Is it in the exclusive edition only?

  6. T0T I’m not going to survive in the next few months…. I need to read SS10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Alexander Zverev –

    There are over 14 million people in the LA metropolitan area. Just like anywhere on earth, most of them are nice and friendly.

  8. stu, asking for someone to put 5 stars because it benefits you instead of their actual review is false advertisement. it sounds like you’re asking teens to lie, is that your goal?

  9. ehhhhhhhhhh

    My SSAS exclusive edition was supposed to arrive on the ninth and it still isn’t here-

    what is taking so long barnes and noble

  10. To everyone-

    Just in case someone missed the event yesterday, Mr. Gibbs said that there is not going to be a set place for SS10, but it will be moving around. Just thought to share.

  11. Aella –

    Please read this post again. I am not asking anyone to give my books five stars if they don’t think they deserve them.

    If I am telling people to round up from 4.5 stars to 5 instead of rounding down to 4 stars, that is not asking people to lie. That is asking them to do what is mathematically correct.

    And I am saying that giving a book one star because you don’t like a specific word in it object to a mention of something that makes you uncomfortable is not a legitimate review. That is not how professionals review books or movies or songs. I want people to review my books based up the entire book.

  12. Briar –

    There are a lot of homeless people in LA, in a large part due to the fact that many people flee other parts of the country to come to LA.

    For example, Los Angeles has the largest homeless teenage population in the United States. One of the main reasons for this is that, in many places, gay teens feel they are oppressed — or that their families won’t accept them. So they come to LA, which is liberal — and which has very good weather — and then end up living on the streets.

    But there are lots of other reasons that people flee to LA from other places, and many of those people find out that they can’t afford housing here and end up being homeless.

    So, in this sense, LA has a homeless problem partly because of policies in other cities. Which makes the homeless problem not just an LA issue, but a national issue.

  13. A big Fan –

    The GN is mainly the story of SS1 but has been altered slightly to take advantage of the graphic format.

  14. Agent Me~ that was a mistake I stopped halfway through writing, got annoyed at something, spammed random keys, accidentally hit the ctrl button and forgot how to turn Caps lock of, then googled it afterwards.

    -Axolotl in a Bottle (not in all caps)

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