1. Have you ever read a negative review of your work — or that of somebody close to you — and thought: "You know, once I get past my initial hurt or defensive reaction, I see that the writer has a valid point?" If so, what did they help you see that maybe you didn't see for yourself?
2. What do you think of reviewers who only publish positive reviews? Jen Forbus, who reviews crime fiction on her blog
and for several publications, posts this on her Web site: "I will not post a review of a book I can't say mostly good things about. I may point out minor things I didn't like or that disappointed me, but the purpose of my blog is not to trash an author's work. Remember the old adage, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all?" I follow that. I post reviews of books I honestly feel have merit and would be enjoyed by others. For the remainders, I say nothing at all."
I feel this is wrong; that it sets up a false dichotomy — that a reviewer's only choices are either to slobber over books or to eviscerate them. A negative review need not be a napalming, after all. There is such a thing as constructive criticism, and I believe smart and informed readers of discerning taste, determined fairness and developed critical faculties have an obligation to try to help readers make the smartest possible purchases with their diminishing spending dollars. That includes steering them away from what they believe to be bad writing and storytelling when they come across them. In my opinion.
What say you?