I recently accepted an eBook from a PR company to review. After accepting the eBook, I was requested not to post my review on Amazon if the book receives a rating of less than 4 stars from me as it will not "benefit the author". I have not yet written my review, but it will definitely be a mainly negative review. I can't believe how incoherent the story was in the beginning...
I checked the Amazon page for the book, and all I see are 4-star ratings. It's unbelievable since this is one of the worst books I've had to review. I have not yet replied to the email from the publicist. But what should I do? The reviews on Amazon are giving a false impression of the book. Personally, I don't know why, but I don't feel right not posting my review in Amazon... What should I do? If this were you, how would you reply the publicist?
This is a question that often resurfaces. Once you receive a book to review, you are obliged to give an honest review as your first duty is to your readers. On the other hand, you should try and be as constructive as possible with your review. We at bookpleasrues.com welcome any and all reviews and often I am asked by my reviewers what should they do when faced with the same problem as you are encountering. My advice has always been, write the review and constructively criticize the book, unless of course, the book is so bad, that you just can write a review.
Hope this helps.
This is why when someone sends me a book review request, i always reply with a link to my review policy, asking if they agree with it then only i can accept their books. This is to actually warn them that I WILL post negative review if i didn't enjoy reading the book.
But in your case, well, i guess that's okay. No need to publish in Amazon, but publish it anywhere (Goodreads, your blog, library thing, etc.) so people would still see your review. I actually don't base my decision on what to buy from amazon reviews, i always go to blogs because they're more honest ;)
Making authors and publishers aware of your reviewing policy is very important. Having that in mind, I think it is also important you let the author/publisher know about your review (if negative) before publishing it in Amazon or any other site.
To me, that's a matter of respect and always keep in mind that reviews are just an opinion.
Regardless of how good or bad the book is, it is a job and it requires a lot of work and effort from the author. Just keep in mind that when writing a review keep your personal prejudices aside, and understand the difference between ‘nasty’ and ‘negative’.
I think you should send them the review, but also let them know that as part of your reviewing policy (if any) you are obligated to post it in sites such as amazon, goodreads etc.
It certainly isn't a fun situation.
Post it, reviews are people's opinions and we all have the right to put them out there. If they didn't want your honest opinion they should have never sent you the book to review. People appreciate honest opinions and so do authors. If you never signed anything contractual about not posting then post it. If they don't like what you have to say o well but do try to be as kind as you can. Don't bash the author personally just state what you didn't like about it. I'm an honest reviewer and some of my reviews have been less than three stars. Come check us out.
I wouldn't post a review at all. Or maybe I'd post a negative one elsewhere. I gave my book away and got a negative review and was surprised that the reviewer gave me three stars - it seemed he wanted to give me even less. Maybe he was being polite because I gave him a copy of my book. I do believe that consumers are smart - it they only see five star reviews, they will doubt the sincerity of the reviewer - no one gets all five star ratings.
I think it'd be okay to not post the review. This way you aren't weighing in with your opinion one way or the other.
However, if all the reviews on the book are positive and so you feel a need to warn readers, then stick with your guns and post a negative review.
No matter what, learn from the experience. Note in your review policy and future correspondence with PR that sometimes you may have negative reviews.
My review policy has changed a few times, in reaction to issues. My worst-case occured with an editor whom I interviewed due to his influence on a book. He requested a telephone interview, but then disliked how much he had revealed to the public. He asked/pleaded with me to just post an email interview. I agreed, but changed my review policy to reflect that experience.
Thank you all for your advice and opinions. :) I went ahead and posted the review in Amazon. As I expected, the publicist voted it down and left a comment, but I'm going to ignore it. I've learned that I can't always make everyone happy. :)
Good job! I'm glad that you ended up posting an honest review!
Oh. My. How infuriating!
I have a disclaimer on my blog that states that my reviews will be completely honest. You are under no obligation to follow their rules, just because they gave you a free book. We are book reviewers, and for an author/publicist to not want negative reviews posted... aaaahhh! I just can't believe they even thought that was a reasonable request. If I were you, I would definitely write out my honest thoughts on the book and post them everywhere. I would also mention that they asked that no reviews under 4 stars be written. People deserve to know that they are being scammed.
I think that book reviewers really value amazing books, and to be asked to hold their opinions in if they do not match those of the author or publisher is downright insulting. I don't know about you, but I read and review books for myself, and to persuade my readers to embrace a book, or run away from it. I don't do it for the authors, publishers, or free books. I would feel bad if I did not speak my opinions, and I know I would lose my credibility as a reviewer. I'd definitely post a review, and I would flat out tell the publisher/author that I would most likely not be accepting books from them in the future if they continued to censor my reviews. Censorship goes against everything that books represent.
Excuse me... haha. I got a little fired up. I just can't believe it! Good luck figuring out what to do! :)
I have that disclaimer posted at least twice in my review policy. I just like to repeat stuff that are crucially important, I guess! I've posted the review in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, LibraryThing and my blog. This is about as far as I'll go with it... I really don't want to declare World War III with the publicist. :D She already isn't happy about the review posted in Amazon. If the book isn't good, buyers will definitely make that clear in Amazon reviews and they wouldn't be kind about it. /shrugs
I agree with you 100%. The mission of my blog has always been to encourage readers to read good books and point out good books to readers. I owe honest reviews to my readers. I don't have to worry or bother about telling the publicist that... she definitely wouldn't be sending me anymore books!
I had the opportunity to guest post about this run-in. You can read the post here - http://yaminatoday.com/2011/11/16/the-high-price-of-an-honest-and-u....
Very interesting article! I'm glad you had the opportunity to talk about it. :) Sometimes we forget that book blogging isn't hard work. I'm really glad you stuck to your guns and posted anyway. If a book is poorly written, the news will spread no matter what a publicist tries to do about it. :)