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
Give your truthfull review. That is what your readers expect from you. You can give the summary along side. Give reasons why you hated the books. There may be others who find those reasons trivial and summary more interesting and go on and read the book. That is the way it works.
Truthful and balanced.
Always tell the truth to protect your credibility. If you fudge or are not honest, you'll lose your own readers. Joseph
I think you always have to be honest. Honesty in a review does not mean you have to be overly harsh or hateful. You can give a negative review while still being respectful. Plus, let's face it...sometimes negative reviews are just as beneficial in promoting the book. It happens all the time. 50 Shades of Gray is hated by some and loved by others. The Selection got a scathing review that turned into a huge situation on Goodreads that garnered the book even more attention. At least people are talking about the books.
Not everyone is going to like a book and as a blogger, I think I owe it to my followers to give them my honest opinion.
I hope I can still chime in, even though it has been awhile since this went up and I have to say even from a writer's perspective I would rather have the bad review. This is due to as a reader having read books that had great reviews but when I got it and read a really bad book. I do submit reviews on Amazon and Goodreads and if I read a book that has great reviews and is bad then I will write a review to balance out all those great reviews.
If the book has both good and bad reviews to where it balances then I shrug and move on. It feels like false advertising. I have actually requested people to be hundred percent honest when reviewing my book, I don't want to create a false impression for a reader.
You know, I've struggled with this myself. It's very hard for me to write a negative review if I've already had some personal contact with the author. This happened to me when I won a paranormal novel in a blog giveaway several months ago. I didn't like this book at all! The plot had elements of Twilight and Harry Potter. Not very original. Also, there were many editing issues. The author and I corresponded back and forth. I finally told her I wouldn't be reviewing the book, because the most I could give it would be three stars, and that was really stretching it! Of course, she vigorously defended her book when I pointed out to her, in my emails, exactly why I didn't like it. The whole thing just got too uncomfortable for me, so that's why I ended up not reviewing it.
Recently, a book sent to me by an author through a blog tour company was so bad I couldn't get past Chapter 3... I wrote to the tour director, asking to be released from the tour, since I didn't even want to post an excerpt from the book! Then I got worried that the tour director had forwarded my email, complete with all my negative comments (example -- "the syntax and prose are atrocious!") to the author,...I didn't want to hurt the author's feelings.
It's much, much easier for me to post a negative review if I don't know the author at all, either through emails or in any other way. Well-known authors that I'm not likely to ever have contact with are not a problem! I can happily post negative reviews of their books! Lol.
I have to say, I strongly disagree. Reviews are for readers, not for authors, not for book agents, not for publishers. I think a summary is fine as a brief part of a review, but if that's all it is, it's not a review. I wouldn't be worried about typos and punctuation in an ARC, that's supposed to be cleaned up by editors. But if a book is being sent to anyone for review, it's expected to be a finished product. The time is past for suggestions for changes or critiques or any give and take with the content. That is what beta readers and editors are for. It doesn't matter to me if it's an established author or a new author. The only person you need to be respectful of is the reader.
I agree it is all about the reader.
I think it's important to always tell the truth...regardless. There are constructive ways to mention that a book as poor writing and/or editing. Readers rely on reviewers to be honest. If it's just a description of the book, that's not nearly as helpful. It doesn't really do the author or reader any favors. And, if a reviewer I trust doesn't mention poor prose, typos, etc., then I would lose faith in that reviewer's opinion. I agree that using a blog to trash a book and/or author isn't constructive. But not providing honest feedback is also not constructive. If no one talks about the problems, someone is going to come along who is not nearly as nice. I recently passed on reading an author who was recommended to me because the reviews mentioned typos and grammatical errors. Nothing turns me off more as a reader. However, a month or so ago, the Amazon page included new information "Updated and Corrected Edition". Reviewers talked, the author listened. I'm glad he did. I bought his entire backlist 2 days after finishing his book. Authors (and publishers) need to be made aware when a book has problems. In the long run, it benefits them and the reader.
I might be in the minority here, but that's just my opinion.
I agree !
I'm a little late to this party and I don't review books, I write them. I wonder if a third option wouldn't have been just to decline to review the book?f