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
I recently had this same problem. I thought I would never get through the book, but about 2/3 of the way though the action picked up and it actually got pretty good. However, that doesn't change the fact that had I bought or borrowed the book for my own pleasure I would have put it down unfinished long before then. I dreaded doing the review. I didn't want to hurt the author's feelings, but I ultimately decided that my "job" was to do an honest review. What worried me more than upsetting the author was upsetting a blog reader!!! What if I gave the book a better review than I really wanted to and a reader actually bought the book because of that and then decided that I wasn't a trustworth reviewer because they disliked it as much as I did? So, I pulled out the positives that I could and was as honest as I could be without being mean or harsh. I try to remember that constructive criticism is different than blatant rudeness. Dealing with this situation taught me one thing...don't agree to do ANYTHING until you read the book. I could not agree to host a giveaway and/or guest posts and such if I don't genuinely like the book and it's difficult to explain that after you've already talked about doing just that.
Hi as a writer I would appreciate constructive criticism, not blatant rudeness. Question: As the reviewer if you don't like the story, will you give it a bad review? Can the book be a great story but not your taste and still get a good review by you? Enjil at www.enjil-washington.blogspot.com
I agree. I rely on summaries and a review this tells me if l'm interested in reading the book or not.
Enjil at htt:// www.enjil-washington.blogspot.com
I completely understand your dilemma. You do not want to offend the person who sent you a free copy of their work, however I would've posted the main issues with the book and then made a comment about how if said issues are fixed, the story underneath is great (if it really is) or entertaining or *place adjective here*...however, it was just difficult for you to get past the poor editing. There is no way that I would tell my readers to read or check out a book that I truly didn't enjoy reading...even if that book was free. And that's what I feel like posting a blog with just a review is. Telling your readers to check this out for themselves. With zero negatives, it seems like a suggestion, and that would make me upset if I purchased a book you suggested on your site.
Again, I completely understand you not wanting to offend anyone, I would just think about reviewing a little bit differently in the future.
I think I'd want the truth. The fact that you summarized the book should have been a indication to the author that you were being kind by not offering a review.
It never pays to post a negative review of a book on any Internet book store. If you didn't like it say nothing. Would you tell the world you purchased a pair of knickers that were awful - too tight, too slack, lacking elastic? I think caveat emptor is the word needed when something isn't what one expected. Amazon provide lengthy excerpts of all their books, and by page twenty I defy anyone to say they would buy said boo if it was crap thus far.
Anything posted on the Internet is there for public viewing and can crop up in bizarre circumstances of feeds on search engines. If you're an author, it's even more important to be careful what you post review wise. Think Karma!!! As for people who hide behind anonymous titles (bookywoman, booklover, avid reader etc,), well, who cares what an anonymous person has to say - whether negative or positive? I never trust an anonymous review.
I'm sorry, but to advise never posting a negative review is just plain silly. If all the reviews on everything are positive, it's no better than having no reviews at all. I wouldn't trust a book that had only positive reviews and I don't think most people would. It's also been demonstrated that negative reviews don't hurt sales, but they can be informative.
Further, amazon doesn't provide excerpts on all of their books, and while someone may not buy something that was crap in the first few pages, it doesn't inform a decision on a book that starts out well and then falls apart. Honest reviews can inform decisions to read or buy a work, whether that review is positive or negative. I don't think it's unusual for most of a person's reviews to be positive because presumably they are looking to read things they expect to like. If all they do is post positive reviews though, I'm going to disregard everything they say. Connecting readers with works they may enjoy, and keeping them from wasting times on things they won't, benefits everyone.
I wouldn't wish to decide what benefits someone from wasting time on books I'm not partial to.
A book is a very personal choice, especially if one has eclectic tastes in reading. I will review a book I've particularly enjoyed more especially if it's an Indie author, simply because I think Indie authors need a little encouragement to soldier on in what is a tough sphere. A book I didn't enjoy will not get a mention. I always post a summarised review using my name. I've heard it said by an Amazon marketing exec *that few book buyers return to review books on the Amazon site, they return to purchase books*. He shouldn't have, but he further said most reviews on Amazon are suspect. They're usually friends, family and fellow buddy authors plumping book ratings, though he did admit some best-selling authors have ardent fans who follow said authors and do post fan reviews. I'm in both camps as an author, published and self-pubbing and the latter is experimental for me. It's not a make or break situation.
I agree negative reviews can up sales simply because people are curious by nature. That said, negative reviews often as not draw more attention to the reviewer than the novel/book itself. That's why I say if you're a writer be wary of posting negatives on the Internet, it might come back to bite you on the nose. And here's the crunch: I'd hate it if someone in a high street book shop suddenly upped and said "I wouldn't read that if I was you, I hated it". O.K. so that person hated it for whatever reason. But Hey, I might love it. And, I'll decide whether I want to purchase it: or not. I wouldn't say it, but I'd be thinking: Get Out of My Face.
One man's meat another's poison!
As for typos and bad grammar. Well hey, just take a look at a few best-sellers out there. Errors galore leave one despairing editorial skills at publishing houses. Padding to up page count is often as not repetition and yawn yawn material. But you takes your choice and you pays your money.
If you might love a book that someone else hated, then by the same token, you might hate a book someone else loved. That sort of logic leads to the puzzling conclusion that there should be no reviews at all and people will just have to take their best guess on whether or not they might like a book. The point of a review, good or bad, is to support the reasons why it was good or bad. The reasons you hated something may not bother them or the things you like about the book could be something that turns them off.
Of course people go to a book site like Amazon to purchase books, but if they are reading the reviews at all, presumably it is to help them make a decision. As has been stated several times before, reviews are for the readers, not the authors.
Tad, you hit the nail on the head!
Quote: If you might love a book that someone else hated, then by the same token, you might hate a book someone else loved. That sort of logic leads to the puzzling conclusion that there should be no reviews at all and people will just have to take their best guess on whether or not they might like a book.
Where lies the confusion? Are people incapable of deciding for themselves whilst browsing books on-line? I think not, any more than they are when browsing a book in a conventional book store. I'm an avid reader and like most people I go to Amazon to purchase a specific book within a specific genre, and once I've selected a book I will admit I do browse the *People who bought this also bought* and I have lit upon great reads this way. That said, I still decide on own choice as to whether I will purchase from this listing by reading excerpt provided. I don't have time to read reams of reviews. I do post the odd review to my blog and to Amazon, and the books reviewed have all been purchased. As I said I tend to support Indie authors (self-pubbed/small press) because many deserve support. I've met wonderful people here at Bookblogs and discovered great reads. Therefore I don't follow any book review blogs, because there's a plentiful array of books to choose from right here, also I get to know a little about the author. It's then just a case of following a link to point of sale!
By C.S. Revlis $2.99
Cast into the midst of battle, Teo embarks on an epic adventure to discover where he fits in a quickly changing world. The human race is in danger, the Vampire Lord is gaining power, the war between good and evil is underway.
Contact me at cs.revlis at hotmail dot com