Constructive Criticism: Why It Matters

Last week, I discussed why how you write a review matters, but I left one key point out– criticism. Now why would I do that? Easy answer there. Lol. So that I could write this post. 

Criticism is all around us. We have heard it every day since we could toddle. People telling us what we are doing wrong, how we should do it, how they did it. So, you wouldn’t think that anyone needs or wants to hear more of it. 

There are so many forms of criticism. For this post, we are looking at constructive criticism. What it is. How to use it. What is not constructive criticism. Why it is so important to use it correctly in writing a review. 

Constructive criticism is clear, direct, honest, and easy to implement. It provides specific examples and actionable suggestions for positive change. This type of feedback also highlights ways the recipient can make positive improvements in their writing or story. 

What is not constructive criticism? Telling someone how you, the reader, would write the book. It is not tearing apart a book. It is showing points in the story that don’t flow, work, or make sense, and then giving ways to improve upon their work. 

As a reader or reviewer there are a few things that are not ours to do:

  1. Trying to have an author write the book to fit our wants.
  2. Tearing down a book just because we don’t like it. 
  3. Being an asshole because we or someone we know does not like the author, subject, or genre. Never, under any circumstances, should you personally attack the author in a review.

The reasons why you should use constructive criticism??

  1. Every book is something that the author has put long, long days and many hours to create and show the world that they have built in their minds. This was the author’s vision, not the readers. 
  2. Tearing down a book is not helpful, just hurtful. Now this opinion may not make me friends, but I’m okay with that.
  3. If you can’t be honest and unbiased, then you shouldn’t be leaving a review. 

How do you leave good constructive criticism?

Start by sharing what you did like about the book, then explain what wasn’t working for you. That can be in the POV it is written in, the characters didn’t mesh well, the world building had holes. Then give good solid suggestions that may help the author better their skill. 

Yes, reviews are for readers. I understand that saying, but many authors read reviews, too. Why? It helps them better their craft and see where they may need to go back and look at what they could have done differently.

If there is an author I don’t care for, I simply don’t read them. I don’t review them. I don’t let them rent space for free in my mind. 

Remember, how you review books sets your reputation as a reviewer. There are so many great reviewers out there. They don’t give just all 4 or 5 stars. They don’t like every book, but they do have respect for the author and their craft. 

There is never a reason to be hateful about a book. If it’s not for you, simply state that. Put in the why it didn’t work for you. Actual reasons. Saying that you disliked it is not a reason. What is the reason you didn’t like it? Give the author a way to see if that is something that they can change or want to change. 

If there is a book you want to read and you can’t find it–Go write it! 


  • Rhonda Butterbaugh

    This is a very important subject matter. I love everything you have mentioned and hope that readers who leave reviews would follow this! I know I try to!

  • Riley

    Thank you. We are trying to shine a light on some issues. Ones that I feel competent in tackling with the knowledge I have. After 7.5 years of reviewing I feel I’m qualified now. Lol. I’ll continue to talk about those important topics as well as some fun ones.

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