Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bad Reviews....Do They Make Good Authors?

Ahhh...the ever saddening bad review.

I recently read a book that....well, let's just say didn't jive with me. I felt that it needed a lot of work. I pushed through it as I've been working harder on fulfilling commitments, even if it means it takes me almost a month to read a 200 page book.

After writing the review I realized that it may be hurtful to the authors feelings. I posted on my blog a while ago for advice on what to do about this. Whether to post the review, let the author take a look first, and then post, or just not post at all. I took the advice I was given from my amazing readers and made a decision that sat well with my mind and heart.

I chose to write the review, email it to the author, and give that person the decision of whether or not it went on my blog. As I assumed it would go, the author requested that I not post the blog, and was very nice about my not so sweet review.

My question isn't really whether or not you would choose to post the review or let it slide, it's what keeps us from posting negative reviews of less known authors than of more famous ones?

If I read a Neil Gaiman, Stephanie Myer, Stephen King, or Dan Brown book that I disliked, I'd have no qualms with posting a scathing review. But, an author that personally asked me to review their book, I feel the need to give them positive or nothing at all. Is it the fact that my lowly review is less important to the 'big time' authors? Someone had to have given them a negative review in the past. Not everyone loves these authors now, so surely they weren't loved from the start were they? Who was that mean critic that chose to tear their works of art to pieces, no matter what the author would feel like? Where would these authors be if people like me were the only ones that talked about their books? Would their works be as good as they are now. (Not for the record that I think all of the aforementioned authors are awesome).

Now I'm wondering if I did this author a disservice by not posting my review. What will this person have to work harder for? No one knows how I feel about their book....

What are your feelings dear readers? How do you feel about authors 'paying their dues'. Bad reviews...they're just part of the game aren't they. Should we be pulling punches? Is that how we get millionaire authors that aren't worth their weight?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I deleted my last comment because it was just way too long lol. This is a situation that I just ran into myself today, and as a new blogger I didn't feel as though I should start off writing a negative review for one of the first new authors nice enough to give me a chance to review their book. I chose to not write any review at all explaining that the writing style made it too difficult for me to read.
    I think new authors deal with enough criticism and rejections on their journey to being published. I honestly think that this will continue to be how I deal with new authors, if I can't write a positive review, I will explain why I won't be writing any review.

  3. I think you did the right thing. You sent the author the review - that means he or she saw it, and can use it to improve their work. You didn't publish it which was incredibly nice of you. As a new author, the review could really have hurt their career even before it got off the ground. So, to my mind, you did what was helpful to the author in two ways - they will grow because you didn't hide the review from them, but did hide it from the reading public.

  4. I always post negative reviews because if a book is really bad I want to warn other people about it. I don't write my reviews for the authors, I write them to tell my readers what books I think are worth reading and which ones they should avoid at all costs.

    That said, I haven't reviewed any new authors yet, so I might change my mind if that ever happens. I wouldn't want to crush anyone's dreams or anything. What I might do is send the author the real review, and then post a short review of about a paragraph explaining the strengths and weaknesses of the book and what my rating would be, with a note saying that this is the author's first book and that they are very likely to get better. That way I can still give my readers my opinion about the book without doing too much damage to the author's future chances.

  5. I'm glad to know that the three of you feel I did the right thing. For the most part, I feel the same. I just have second thoughts at times. I did give the author exactly what my review would say if I had posted it, no punches pulled.

    Emily, I think I'll take your advice from now and and post something, less scathing about it on my blog. More of the "I just didn't enjoy this" sort of thing. That way I feel like my reader's are getting honest opinions from me. I mean, they are my reader's right? I do owe that to them.

  6. If a book is so bad that I don't finish it - then I personally don't review it - however if i think it is only average - or less than average I usually say something like it is not my cup of tea - and have a disclaimer in my blog blurb that says ***VIEWER WARNING*** The opinions expressed below are solely those of this reader and are not intended to hurt any other reader's (or Author's) feelings.

  7. I have been pretty lucky with author requested review books. There were none that I just totally disliked.

    I have read books that were less than stellar, I review them. I try to find something positive to say, a character, etc and I always say it may not be for me but it will be for someone so read it anyways.

    Thanks for the invite to Book Bloggers Unite!

    Reading,Reading & Life


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