Monday, June 11, 2012

On Writer's Reviewing Books


 As writers, I know that a lot of us like to read books and since reading expands our knowledge of what others are reading and our vocabulary, we read.  I love to read.  I also like to review books.  But, I am curious what to do when you come across a book that isn't written very well?

I know it's not appropriate to write a review like this:   

Your book sucks and there's no plot.  I hate the characters.  You should never write again.  I hope in your next life you don't have thumbs. 

Ouch.  That's definitely not the way to review a book.  It's hurtful and it attacks the author.  It should never be right to attack the author if a book isn't your taste.  Writers typically write nicer reviews because we know what it is like to be stung with a negative review.  It hurts.  We don't want to inflict that pain on others.  Another writer might sugar coat something because they are very sensitive.

I think that honesty and constructive criticism are best for a book review.  Don't be extremely negative towards the author.  Talk about the writing.  Was there something missing that could help the author?  If it's an indie author they can fix a part and re-upload a book with little effort.   I recently came across a book that had a very good premise and was interesting to me, but it was filled with POV switches and info-dumps, which made the book difficult to enjoy.  A little more time just needed spent on revisions.  I had to make a choice to review the book or not.  I decided to review the book, but I made sure that I complimented what I liked about the book and a few things that needed adjusted to make the book better.

My advice; if you do write a review for a book that isn't very well written, make sure to offer honest and kind suggestions.  Even if the book is terrible, be constructive to help the author. 

What do you do when you come across a book that you didn't enjoy?  Do you review the book or simply move on? 

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As a side note, I am getting closer to 200 hundred followers and it's getting closer to my 200 give-away!  Which, I promise will be pretty awesome. :)

Hope you had a great Monday!

14 comments:

  1. Congratulations on acquiring all those followers!

    I once gave a book a negative review, but kept going back and editing it to make it less critical. I wanted to be honest, but I just felt badly about telling what I didn't like. I like your advice to focus on the positive and helpful!

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    1. Thanks Aneta! :)

      I've already gone back and changed the review a little to make sure it doesn't attack the author, but the book just needs a little push in the right direction.

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  2. Good advice. And I'm excited for you that you're almost at 200 followers! :) If I don't like a book, I won't review it. Yet sometimes I promise to do a review for an author and so I try to pick out the positive aspects. I won't exaggerate, and I won't leave a negative review either.

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    1. Thank you Christine! :) I like the author and I wanted to give her a review to help boost book sales, but it was hard to leave a high review. I tried to be positive and just point out things that are good, but added what needed to be worked on. I don't think I could leave a negative review. I like the compliment sandwich approach.

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  3. That is great advice. I enjoy reading book reviews and always appreciate when reviewers don't just bash the book but try and give out feedback that might be of help and is honest and not hateful.

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  4. Actually, I just read a book that was terrible - I couldn't even get through more than the first chapters. I had been hoping to give the author a great review to help get their name around a bit more, but I can't. So I'm just moving on (I know, I'm a wimp). She was already turned down by every agent under the sun and went into self-publishing. I think she has 3 books under her belt like this. I figure, if she's happy with it, why ruin her party?

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  5. Reviewing books makes me nervous. If I enjoy a book, great! If not, I tend to just move along without reviewing because the idea of saying something even remotely negative to a writer who has obviously worked hard makes me feel really bad!

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  6. no response can be as harsh a review as a bad one. i usually only post positive ones to recommend. i dont feel qualified to give a negative review because others might like it. my opinion as a reader is limited and subjective. i read many good reviews that give quality comments, even if they are negative. i'm more, "if you dont have something nice to say, keep quiet" but i think we need writer book reviewers! glad to have them!

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  7. I totally agree! I have reviewed a book that wasn't very well written, but I had already promised the author I would do it. I gave her a compliment sandwich review and she got mad at me, so I decided I wasn't going to review indie anymore. Not worth it to me!

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  8. It depends on how much I did not like the book. If I can't think if at least as much positive as negative - then I don't review it. But I won't be afraid to tell people not to read.

    If I had promised a review I would talk to tje author - be honest and ask if they still wanted me to post it.

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  9. I usually don't write a review if I didn't like the book. That being said, I try to find something good in every book I read.

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  10. I opt not to review a book I don't like because I don't want any hurt feelings. I guess I'm a wimp.

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  11. do u mean the constructive criticism way ?

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  12. I review every book I read honestly but I always make a point to be constructive with my criticism rather than judgmental. You would never read a review of mine that says "this book sucks, don't waste your time with it" because just because I didn't like it doesn't mean someone else won't. I just explain what it was that didn't work for me and then I always try to give an example of who might like the book. I think the best example I have is my review of Gone by Michael Grant.

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