Mary, I just wrote a negative review on Goodreads. I think it's usual to find badly written stuff in the self published jungle. I don't think I'll help the author by flattering them. At the same time, I offer constructive criticism. Even point out graamar errors or why something is not credible, or POV issues. But I won't post the review on Amazon, unless the author says she wants it. Amazing how the lady only has wonderful reviews to date. I wish reviewers would tell the truth. I see another problem with getting reviews from amateur reviewers. They tend to summarise your book which is a spoiler for anyone wanting to buy. Can't they do a biit of research on how to review first? There is a big difference between a summary and a review.
While I can't speak for all authors, I agree that pointing out the redeeming qualities are a plus. Personally, I apppreciate reviews that mention the things a reader might not enjoy or might be distracted by. If there's a repeat pattern in different reviews, I start to get the picture!
I also understand that every book is not loved by every person. That's just the way it goes.
If you write an honest and tasteful review, any self-respecting author should be grateful. (Even if they don't love hearing it!)
I can tell you how I do it. I really hate writing bad reviews too. When I get a bad book that I just can't find anything redeemable in, I email the author privately. When I do this, I give him/her the choice of having me write a bad review or having me not posting one at all. They always opt for no review. Also, when I contact them, I try to give them a helpful suggestion or two. I hope this helps!
I'm sure that nothing I say here hasn't already been said, but because I am in a similar position presently, I think it only appropriate that I share what I am looking at doing, once I get around to providing some feedback for this friend.
I believe in open, honest and frank communication between two people, regardless of their relationship. Whether they are friends, lovers, married, or just two random people on the street, this should be the case,and, in my opinion, certainly would make things easier and perhaps a bit less awkward all around. However, knowing that most people have a hard time taking the cold honest truth, and that I myself sometimes have a hard time with the brutal truth, this may not be the best way to go, in the end.
I will say, though, that if you respect the author, and conversely if they respect your opinion, that they will take whatever you have to say and make whatever adjustments they feel necessary. If your review is candid, tactful and concise, then the onus is on them to make whatever corrections they need to make. If you can find a way to make this review without emotions attached, it is likely that they can take that review in the same vein. I offer, of course, no promises on that because we, as a race of intelligent beings, tend to base a lot of our decisions on emotions.
Hope this helps, good luck!
I agree it's very difficult to review a book you didn't like, especially if it doesn't come naturally to you to point out the negatives in something and you're someone who would rather point out the positives. If your reviews are there for the benefit of potential readers, though, it's important not to gloss over the book's bad points and make it sound better than it is. I've only written one negative review (not on my blog), and I'm still not happy with it. The problem there was that I read a book that was getting absolute rave reviews from everyone who read it, five stars all over the place, and then when I read it I thought "you HAVE to be kidding me". I mean, I'm aware that not everything will appeal to everyone, and that we all have different tastes, but this was (in my opinion, of course) a seriously bad book flawed in so many ways I couldn't even begin to list them all. I should have reviewed it right away, but I didn't, because I didn't want to be "nasty"... but then I kept seeing the "BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ!" type reviews and couldn't stand it any longer! I think by this point I was feeling much less objective than I would have been if I had just sat down and reviewed the book immediately after finishing it. But I still feel "mean" for having written a bad review, despite the fact that I did try to be as kind as possible about the book's redeeming qualities.
So, on that rambling note... I'd like to than everyone in this thread for their thoughts and advice on how to review a book you didn't like! I have to say I absolutely dread the next time I find myself reading a book that has so many problems, as there really is no easy way to do it. I don't even pick up a book unless I believe there is a very good chance I'm going to like it, though, so luckily it doesn't happen often!
I hate when that sort of situation happens.
Looks like you've received some solid advice from everyone else, but I'll throw my 2 cents in and tell you to just tell the truth, but in a nice way. I always tell my readers that I'm an honest blogger, and remind them we all have different tastes and opinions when it comes to books.
I had this problem as well. I love this author who sent me a book and is very supportive of my blog and sends me swag to donate for giveaways so i don't want to loose her as a friend. I wrote the review telling the truth in my opinion, I don't think authors want you to lie and sugercoat things. I don't bash the author or the book. Tell what you would have liked to get from it and state positives as much as you can. be sure to mention it wasn't in your tastes but others may like it. I hope that helps.