Book reviews are a great way for readers to get brief and honest deliberations on their favorite titles. It gives a clear insight to the readers of the book content so they can understand whether the book is worth investing their time/money or not. While book reviews can be helpful, today’s world is filled with goons and trolls who target the authors purposely. Instead of honest reviews, they virulently comment biased opinions and disrespect the author for no apparent reason.
Review Bombing and Pre-publication Reviews
Review Bombing is a method used by some people on the internet to ravage the sales of any product, business or service. Apparently, in this phenomenon, a large number of people start posting negative reviews online rather than a genuine opinion, disrupting the owner’s image or product sales.
Review bombing has affected many authors lately. What adds up more fuel to the fire is the unusual algorithm of Goodreads, where people are allowed to review the books before being published. This is called pre-publication ratings/reviews and has been extensively done by users.
Some reviewer’s review bombs the pre-publication ratings, which eventually results in the book tanking even before it’s published. This has been a new dilemma for authors recently.
Authors Falling Prey to the Ridiculous Propaganda
In a New York Times article that’s written by Alexandra Alter and Elizabeth A. Harris, the writers covered the incident that happened with author Cecilia Rabess and her debut novel Everything’s Fine. Although Rabess did have a hint that her book might suffer some criticism, it was surprising to see how the book witnessed backlash six months before its release.
The reason for the negative reviews? One of the Goodreads users read the advanced copy of the book and disclosed its summary on their Twitter handle. Unfortunately, it got viral, and people started flooding the review section of the book with one star. What’s even more hideous is that some of them didn’t even read the book, yet they came up with their opinionated review.
Speaking about the incident, author Cecelia Rabess said how the one-star reviews on Goodreads are nothing but a “broader campaign of harassment”. “People were very keen not just to attack the work but to attack me as well.” she further added.
Rabess was also worried about her book being dismissed without even being engaged by the reader. “I felt particularly vulnerable as a debut author, but also as a Black woman author,” she said (as per the NY Times article).
Although the book had a slow start, it picked up pace and was chosen as Good Morning America’s Buzz Pick of the Week. As of today (June 27, 2023), the ratings of the book on Goodreads are 3.3 out of 5 stars.
Cecelia Rabess is one of the many victims of the review bombing. If things keep happening like this, we don’t know how many more books/authors may get affected by this ridiculous propaganda.