I was recently approached by a book agent to review a book on my blog. I did not like the book, found typos, and the prose was erratic along with some other issues.. I even had someone else read it and they agreed. Rather than post a negative review, I summarized the book. The agent was disappointed but when I told her my negative feelings, she preferred the summary.
What are your thoughts?
Joyce at http://www.jssherr.blogspot.com
Tell the truth. Once you become a "shill" for an author or publisher instead of sharing your true thoughts and feelings, then you cease to have value as a reviewer.
I think a summary is fine but I would still want to know that you didn't like the book. You don't have to go into great detail but you should include your evaluation. If you're not comfortable doing that, I would recommend telling the agent you won't do the review unless they want your true feelings expressed.
I give honest reviews. Everyone has different opinions example everyone has loved 50 Shades of Grey. It has had marvelous book reviews and I disliked the book.
If I was approached by an author personally to review her debut novel, I will not post a negative review on my blog. Because sometimes, you should know that it hurts for any author to hear about such bad things about her novel. Respect her writing, if you have strong feelings about her errors in diction and the like, email her privately to give valuable suggestions and criticism. Ultimately, if you choose to give a negative review, it doesn't help anyone.
It's very difficult to write a novel. So it's admirable that he or she wrote it in the first place. As for summaries, that works!
That's just my opinion :) But one thing I have to say before I end, I won't hesitate in giving negative reviews for books that I obtained on my own account. Knowing the author or the agent personally while giving a negative review is just awkward.
I think you did the right thing!
Sel from Bookcase to Heaven™
As an author, I don't think it's negative to hear the truth. I value a reader's feedback, especially if it deals with diction and mechanics. Writing is very personal, and novels are very difficult to write, but mine are written for the enjoyment of the reader, and if my writing is filled with "road-blocks" to that enjoyment, then it defeats the purpose of my writing in the first place.
:) That's the right way to go!
Thank you, Selina :D
Yup. P.G. Shriver done did get thet un rite! (Yes I did it intentionally.) I don't meak misteaks. Let an author know if there are technical errors. They should appreciate it if they are serious about their work.
LOL! That's priceless, Michael! When I first read it, I thought you were making fun of my Texas accent! Then I remembered what the discussion was about! Haha! Great one! ;) And you are right, if authors are serious, then it won't hurt their feelings; it will help them. (It was the "done did get" that hit home! Oh, my! Too funny!)
I haven't been requested to do a book review for authors yet and I may say this is such an eye-opener. Having that said, if I were in your position, I could have really posted about my negative feelings about the book but I will force my self to find something good about it so that it may be balanced.
I think that's exactly what you should do, Rhea.
Your criticism of established authors probably stems from the fact that their books are supposed to have been professionally edited, where indie authors don't always have the kind of money for professional editing. Still, I have received wonderful five star reviews that are not balanced, and horrible two star reviews that were not balanced. I tend to consider these more opinions than actual reviews of the work, therefore paying little attention to them.
Speaking of the star system, be careful there, too. If you rate a book one or two stars, there is obviously something you like about, or you wouldn't have rated it at all. So countering the rating with all negative comments causes your review to lose credibility, I feel. It becomes a stab at the author, which is what you are trying to avoid in the first place, right?