Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Writing Wednesday: A Gentle Word About a Rough Subject - Reviews

So, you may have noticed that I've been posting a lot of reviews again lately. Yes, I've been reading more books since it's summertime, but I've also been reading more books that I feel I CAN review.

What? Can't a person review everything they read?

Well, yes and no.

Some people do post reviews of everything, both positive and negative. Especially if you're a paid reviewer and someone tells you "Review This." Then you have little choice. You need to say what you think.

But for those of us who aren't paid for our efforts, there's more leeway. I read a lot of books by authors who are just starting out, and not all of them are good. I understand there's a learning curve involved as well as the fact that not every book is my cup of tea.

If the author is a newbie, I'm not going to post a bad review. Heck, if I don't think it's worth recommending, I'm not going to post any review at all. As my grandmother always said, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything." So there are books that I read, both beta and published, that no one else ever hears about. At least, not from me.

If, however, the book I read and don't like is published by one of the Big Publishers, and the author is an established author, then I kind of feel free to express my opinion if the book disappoints. In that case, my review is not going to make or break an established career arc, and I feel I want to warn my friends not to waste their reading time or book money.

Does that make sense?

In general, most of my reviews are positive because I'd much rather share my good experiences than the bad ones. But sometimes I just need to complain. And even then, I think my complaints are rather tame compared to some of the things you read on Goodreads. Just sayin'.

How about you? Do you have a personal review policy? What does it take for you to pen a bad review? Or do you always keep it positive?


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  2. This is a very interesting post - and I have to agree with more or less everything you say. I often host other authors on my blog and sometimes (although not always) review their books. Before I agree to review a book I always find out as much as I can from the blurb and visiting the author's sites for excerpts etc. I will not agree to review a book I don't honestly think I will enjoy, so therefore my reviews tend to be positive and if I have to give a star rating it will usually be four or five - I will occasionally mention if editing is an issue but if the book is really badly written I just won't review t at all, rather than give a bad review. Like you though, I have given a couple of 'thumbs down' reviews to books by major publishers and well known authors. It's just my opinion, and other readers must have loved the book or it wouldn't be so well known, but if readers of my review share my tastes they'll know they probably won't enjoy the book either, the author wouldn't be upset, if they even knew, unlike my fellow authors, self published or with a small press, to whom each review matters and a bad one can be like a stab in the heart !

    1. Thanks for your feedback - it's reassuring to hear others have similar philosophies!

      And yes, to those of us who are small press pubbed, bad reviews are stabs in the heart with blunt instruments, lol.


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