Authors reviewing Authors (It’s a Minefield) #MondayBlogs #AmWriting

Authors reviewing authors

(it’s a minefield…) Guest post by Terry Tyler

Reviewing advice

 

The scenario: you’re a self-published/indie press published writer who tweets, blogs and is a generally active member of the online writer community.  You like to read and review the work of writer friends, if in a genre that appeals.  One of these friends (who I will call Friendly Writer and refer to as ‘he’, for convenience), asks you to review his new book, via an ARC.  The blurb piques your interest; you say yes.  You start to read, with enthusiasm—but there’s a problem.  Several of them.  The dialogue is unrealistic, the characters are one-dimensional, or tired stereotypes.  Maybe the plot is unconvincing, or it’s a bit slow/long-winded/badly researched.  If it was a random book by a stranger, you’d abandon it.

If you’ve been active in the online writer community for a while, this might be a situation you’ve already faced.  Friendly Writer is expecting a review from you.  So do you take the easy way out?  Say what a great read it is, and give it 5*?

Do you decide that it’s best to … lie?

Most writers have, at some point, been less than totally frank when reviewing.  We think about ourselves in the same situation; sometimes, being kind is more important than brutal honesty.  But there are several levels of diplomatic possibility between ‘This guy needs to find a new hobby’, and ‘This is a superb novel by a talented writer, highly recommended!’

Before I get to the helpful hints, though, let’s look at why some authors give dishonest reviews—and why they shouldn’t.

5 reasons why authors give glowing 5* reviews they don’t mean:

  • Because they’re kind.  They don’t want to hurt Friendly Writer’s feelings, and would like to give a boost to the book he’s worked so hard on.
  • Because they don’t want to face the possible hassle that might follow an honest review; easier just to provide the required positive one.
  • Because Friendly Writer has given them a 5*, or been generally supportive about their work, and they feel they ‘owe’ him the same.
  • Because other reviewers have been complimentary, and they feel under pressure to agree (‘is it just me?’).
  • Because their own new release is imminent, and they think that if they dole out the 5*, they will be reciprocated.  NB: this might involve not actually reading the whole book…

5 reasons why they shouldn’t:

  • It misleads the reading public.  All over Amazon, you can find reviews that say, ‘I don’t understand the high ratings; was I reading a different book?’, and ‘I bought this based on all the great reviews, and I wasted my money’.  Think about it.  If you’d stayed at a hotel where you received only mediocre service, would you label it ‘excellent’ on TripAdvisor?  Review a faulty electrical appliance with ‘5*, a great buy’?
  • Many people consider most Amazon reviews to be fake, purchased, written by friends or just generally ill-informed.  If you write dishonest reviews, you become part of this problem, which affects us all.
  • The misleading review doesn’t do much for your own credibility.  If you say a book is brilliant, when it has wooden dialogue and a dodgy plot, potential readers may think your own work won’t be so great, either.
  • It makes the glowing 5* that you really do mean count for nothing.  Who can tell the difference?
  • It doesn’t do Friendly Writer any favours, in the long run.

 Remember: Amazon book department is not a cosy writing group for the encouragement of aspiring authors.  It is an online shop where the reading public spend money.

Writing tips

Practical problems

Sometimes, your complaint about the book may just be that it needs a better proofread.  This is not a criticism of the writing itself, but a practical problem that can be fixed, as is an issue with formatting.  A couple of times I’ve started to read friends’ books that were otherwise very good but had considerably more than the acceptable few proofreading errors.  I emailed to tell them, so they could amend if they wanted to, or instruct their publisher to do so.  Recently, I read a terrific book with one glaring continuity error that the editor had missed; I let the author know.  She was really pleased I had.  With regard to the proofreading, I also listed some of the errors I’d found.

But what if the problems are not so easily fixed?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Write the honest review but show it to Friendly Writer before you post it, and ask him if he’d rather you didn’t.
  • Concentrate only on the elements about the book that you did like, and give it 3*, or 4*, depending on the good/bad ratio.  For instance, it might have lousy characterisation but wonderful scene setting.  Or a plot full of holes, but delightful dialogue.  Contrary to some opinion, 3* is not a bad review; it means ‘it’s okay’ on Amazon, and ‘I liked it’ on Goodreads.  I find 3.5* very useful; you can then round up or down.  Or up on Amazon and down on Goodreads, as they mean different things.
  • Give 3* and review objectively rather than personally, by saying what the book is about and who might enjoy it.  For instance, if it’s a zany chick lit book, give a brief summary of the plot and say something like ‘If you’re a fan of Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series, this might be one for you’.  Just because a book made you wince, other readers might not be so discerning.  For instance, my ‘deal breakers’ are bad grammar, lack of historical research, consistent bad punctuation, unrealistic dialogue, and characters undergoing sudden, unexplained personality changes to fit the plot.  Others might not mind or even notice these things.  Recently, I read a basically good book with punctuation errors on every page.  Out of over 30 reviews, only a handful of others mentioned them.
  • Do nothing.  This is actually not as much of a cop out as it sounds.  When I published The Devil You Know, I submitted it to lots of book bloggers who had never read me before.  Of all those who agreed to take it, two never reviewed.  I just assumed they didn’t like it much.  Friendly Writer will probably make the same assumption about your own lack of response, and thus save you both embarrassment.

What if you haven’t taken an ARC, but have bought the book and feel obliged to review because of your online friendship?

  • Say and do nothing.  See above.
  • Do not mark the book as ‘Currently Reading’ on Goodreads, or tweet that you are reading it, until you have read 20% and are sure you like it enough to continue.
  • If Friendly Writer asks, say you’re sorry, but you weren’t that interested in the subject matter/it wasn’t quite what you were expecting.  It’s likely that he will accept this with dignity; in my experience, writers who throw their toys out of the pram every time someone fails to express awe at their brilliance are few and far between.  Thank goodness.
  • Be aware of Friendly Writer’s feelings, and imagine yourself in the same position before launching into an detailed critique; if asked, mention the aspects you liked but say that you had some issues with other areas, and do not expand unless invited to.  He may already be aware of the book’s weaknesses. 

Any of these suggestions is better than writing dishonest, misleading reviews.

Lastly, if your lack of a glowing 5* results in Friendly Writer getting shirty with you, put it down to experience, and move on; if he gets upset because you are not willing to lie about his book, then perhaps his apparent ‘friendship’ was really nothing more than networking …

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97 thoughts on “Authors reviewing Authors (It’s a Minefield) #MondayBlogs #AmWriting

  1. Brilliant! I love to support my fellow author friends, but I rarely tell them I’ve bought their book for the exact reasons you mention. There’s also the fact that it might take me ages to get to read it and the author will be thinking the worst – I know I would! If I love it then I’m more than happy to shout about it from the rooftops. Great post, ladies.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Yes, of course, it’s so good when you genuinely love it and want to rave about it, isn’t it? And sometimes people get the wrong idea – you BECOME friends with writers when you love each other’s work. In other words, that comes first, not the 5* reviews. For instance, I’d give virtually everything by Gemma Lawrence and Deborah Swift 5*, whether I’d ever talked to them or not, but it’s nice that I’m one of their favourites too, so we’ve become online friends. And yes – I’ve learned by experience not to tell people I’ve bought/am reading one of their books. Anyway, it’s nicer for them to get a lovely surprise, if you liked it!

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Great advice indeed. In my case, I do warn writers beforehand that I might take a long time to read the book because of my long list, as I also worry that people might think I haven’t liked a book I haven’t read yet.Your advice of the 20th is a good idea. I once read the 80% of a very long book and eventually gave up and the author asked me what I had thought… I am afraid I told him, but he asked. I do not post reviews if they are less than 3 stars.
    I try and find aspects of the book that I think might be interesting to readers, even if sometimes they are not what I am most interested in, because taste is very personal and subjective.
    All the best and thanks, Terry.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Excellent post. Thanks for the suggestion on how to deal with the awkward situation of reading a friend’s book and not being able to give it 4 or 5* – very helpful. A friend found herself in a difficult situation when she joined a group whose members reviewed each others’ books. She found herself presented with a really crappy book whose author expected a 5* review. She left the group.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I’ve never participated in those groups, Rosie, no matter how many times I’ve been implored to join. Now, I no longer exist to those authors, even though we once supported one another on social media. Guess I’m on the “outs”!

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    • You often find that it’s the writers of crappy books who throw the toys out of their prams when they don’t get great reviews, in my experience, Mary! Recently, I’ve braced myself and given a couple of friends less than 4* and it’s been fine, both times. It means that others know your reviews are worth something, too, if you’re honest, and that if you say a book is really good, then it really IS.

      I’d always steer clear of author-reviewing-author groups – awful!

      Liked by 3 people

      • I’ve no intention of getting involved in any review-swap groups:) You’re totally right about it being the writers of crappy books who get most upset when they don’t receive the 5* they believe their book deserves.

        Liked by 2 people

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  5. This is a really thoughtful and practical post Terry. Much of what you discuss, I already do or will practice.
    I think, as authors, we need to grow thick skins and accept reviews and criticism. (I was lucky because I already had thick skin when I started – reviews of scientific manuscripts are brutal.) ANY review can be really helpful.
    One way to avoid a bad review is to join a critique group and get your book reviewed as you write it. I can’t imagine not doing that – you learn so much and get great ideas from the group.
    It’s worth the money to hire someone to proofread your book, too!
    I do prefer to purchase and read books by blogging friends on my own and review if possible. That TBR list is huge.
    One problem though: finding someone you don’t know to read your ARC.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah, Noelle, I can’t imagine DOING that – for me, writing is a solitary activity. I would hate to have comments from people all the way through, who perhaps don’t get the genre, or have different ideas from me. The only two test readers I have are two I totally trust to tell me if something works, whether it’s their prefrence or not. You’re right about the thick skin, though – one of them is pretty brutal! When I was writing Lindisfarne I had to re-write whole chunks of it – he was right, damn him!!

      A professional proofreader is essential for everyone, of course! As for getting people you don’t know to take an ARC – as mentioned in the article, I approached book bloggers who had never reviewed me before to take them for The Devil You Know and Tipping Point and, on the whole, it was good – a few have since read more of my books, by choice, which is lovely! But usually I stick to the tried and tested, who I know like the way I write. Just as important, though, are the reviews that come in from the reading public. I think that’s when you find out what the book is REALLY like, because you’ve had no contact with them whatsoever, and they’re under no obligation to spare your feelings!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Terry, I have started using NetGalley to get reviews from readers with whom I’ve had no contact. By and large, they’ve been supportive.
        As for the critique groups, I joined one in 2009 because I’d written my first book and knew it wasn’t good. Everyone in the group had published, and they were very kind patiently teaching me how to write fiction and dialogue. I’m still with that group – none of them write mysteries but they are so good at finding holes and making red herring suggestions! We meet once every two weeks, so I have lots of time to write in between. You are just a good writer from the get-go!
        I’d love to have a website for the books written by members of Rosie’s team – since we can’t review each other.

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    • We still CAN review each other, Noelle, just not through Rosie’s blog! I’ve got reviews on my books for some people who are on the review team – Teri, Chris, Georgia, Shelley, Alison, Cathy, Liz, Barb, Lilyn, both Jennys – and you, of course!!!

      Ah yes, Netgalley – doesn’t that cost an awful lot, though? Might have changed now, I remember looking at it some years back and it was about £200! Glad that critique group works for you, it’s all about finding what suits you, isn’t it? I know many, many writers find groups very useful, even those who are well-established. I’m even resistant to too many test readers – for my 3rd published novel I remember giving out chapters to 4 or 5 readers, and got so many conflicting points of view it was just confusing, and I ended up doubting myself!

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  7. Great advice I’ve had the experience of Friendly Writer getting shirty with me when she got the honest review she asked for and didn’t like it. Homophone errors, poor research resulting in major errors of fact (a King of England during the Victorian era? Really?), and a female protagonist who did not behave the way actual humans in her situation would behave.

    So yes, I moved on … I wish that Friendly Writer every success, but I don’t read her work anymore.

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    • Oh dear oh dear…. so she doesn’t even know what ‘Victorian’ means??? Yes, I’ve had that experience too. Long time ago. Someone asked me to read her novella. It was really amateur. All the other people she’d asked to review (who she did masses of RTs, etc, for!) gave her 4 and 5*, which gave her a completely unrealistic view of how good her writing was. I gave her 3* (being generous), and one line saying that it was a nicely written novella. She blocked me on here. I challenged her. She said it was completely out of order not to give a fellow writer either 4 or 5*. I said, oh, so you wanted me to LIE??? Someone else gave her 2*, and said he thought all the other reviewers must be her pals from her writing group, because it was… really amateur. She commented, saying he had made her cry. Talk about emotional blackmail. He removed the review.

      Life is too short to waste on these idiots, isn’t it, Sharon?!

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  8. It’s always tricky – especially when someone you know and like has signed you a copy of the paperback. In one case I found another book by the same author and gave that a positive review instead. (And no, Terry, I haven’t got round to Patient Zero yet.)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve fallen into the cop out category more than once, because I can’t lie in a review. It devalues the entire review system. Better to leave a 3.5 or 4 star-rating and concentrate on the good parts. Excellent advice!

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  10. I was told by my first boss – if you are not making mistakes then you are not doing anything. I try to learn from mistakes and I value honest feedback. Yes what a person likes to read depends on their personality and what they want a book to give them – so not everyone will like your book or the way you wrote it – an honest review is priceless to the author and the potential reader but oh how hard to see it as a gift when it’s not what you want to read. Thank you for this post Terry and all the discussion it has generated xxx

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  12. Great tips and yes, it’s happened to me, too. What’s worse is when you read a famous, popular author and the book comes off meh. I’m never sure if it’s just me or…?
    I do as you suggest and focus on the good instead of the parts that bogged the book down and give it a 4 (I know, it’s copping out!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes it is just that everyone reads a book differently. Other times, particularly with BIG authors, they have so many fans that they can do little wrong.
      Anyway, 3* isn’t bad either, it still means it is ok and a 3.5 star can give an author hope that you found some good points, perhaps give it a brave go instead of feeling guilty over a 4* that you know isn’t really honest?

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you Terry for this excellent post on authors reviewing other authors. It’s like quicksand and I’ve learned to maneuver as I’m hopping from one tree stump to another in hopes I don’t fall in.

    Authors who know me know that I’m 100% honest. I stake my reputation on my reviews and if I say it’s 5 star, I loved it. But If I say it’s 3-4 star, I explain why I didn’t care for it but in a positive light. It can be as simple as I didn’t connect with the characters, choppy plot, abrupt/cliffhanger ending, etc.

    When asked by fellow author friends to review, I ask them bluntly, “Do you really want me to give you a concise, authentic review or are you just looking for 5 stars?” I then explain how I’m honest and I might not like their book. Then I give them an out by offering a free spot on the POTL BLog if they’ve changed their mind about the review. Some want a real review while others are just looking for a boost.

    So many reviews on Goodreads and Amazon are phony or inflated reviews. It’s hard, as a reader, to know what’s real and what’s fake. Like Jacquie, I get caught up in the glowing reviews from uber-famous authors like Dan Brown and read the books. So many times I’m disappointed but occasionally I run across a gem like Susan Wiggs (reading The Apple Orchard and it’s so moving).

    Again, with the quicksand.

    When I’m giving a critical review, I try to remain objective and state that it’s my reaction and other readers may feel different about the book. If it’s a grammar/writing nightmare, I tend to spin it in a way that doesn’t demean the author but points out something they can work on in their next book.

    Why do I do this? Simply put, when my first novel was published, I asked Rosie and Cathy to review it. In each of their critical reviews, they pointed out flaws and I worked really hard to make sure my next book didn’t have those errors. If they hadn’t been honest, I never would’ve learned that valuable lesson as a writer and an author. I’m so grateful for their willingness to be honest and real.

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    • Aw thank you Mrs N, the last paragraph means so much. Sometimes I do think we are on the path less travelled when we post our middling reviews.

      I like your offer to authors of a ‘boost slot’ if the review isn’t going to be what they were hoping for. That’s a great idea.

      We appreciate your support.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are a blessing, Rosie, to all of us authors. Your support gives us the courage to keep writing. I cherish every review now because it helps me in the long run, even the ones where they slam me for being a redhead. lol!

        Yes, the book slot is a way out for us reviewers who want to support authors but the author doesn’t want a critical review.

        It’s my pleasure! I love you guys! 🙂

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      • I think we must remember, too, that 4* isn’t the option for a book we didn’t like. 4* means ‘I liked it’ on Amazon and ‘I really liked it’ on Goodreads. We shouldn’t always give 5* unless we don’t like a book. I think 5* should mean something special. In my book (!) it should be kept for books that you can honestly say you LOVED. 🙂

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  14. I only review debut authors with less than 3 published books, so many are not ready to be published. I have a policy that I adhere to that I do not review any book that I haven’t read cover-to-cover. If the book is not ready for publication, I will email the author and tell them that I couldn’t review it because of multiple issues that need to be addressed and I couldn’t review it because of these errors I was unable to finish it. Fortunately, this has only happened once. I also tell everyone that I will not give a review that is not deserved. If I do read it all the way through and I review it, I will be honest. I always give a balanced review by highlighting the positive points first, then the items to work on. I never tear down any writer. I’ve never had a bad relationship with anyone that I’ve reviewed.

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    • Wow! That’s a kind policy. I find I do need to chop and change with my reading and reviewing. I personally struggle with reading too many books which need editing and proofreading attention in a row. They start to blurr together and I start believing they are okay or the norm. Once I go and read a really well crafted book, I can come back and constructively compare and comment on a book that needs help.
      Thanks for sharing your experiences Rebecca.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Good for you, Barbara. It’s why Rosie says that if we can’t give 3*, we don’t review. As a very active member of her team (I take 4-5 books a month), I find that I reject about 1 in 6 because I can’t honestly give that rating. And give my reasons, which Rosie can pass on to the author.

      This stream does seem to have moved on from the difficulty of reviewing friends, and authors not giving 5* to everyone they know, to general reviewing…. it would be good if more people had something to say about the actual difficulty of reviewing friends who don’t write very well, but I think it’s something people often don’t want to talk about in public.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Most definitely! I’ll have to be more careful about that in the future. I think in the past I’ve wanted to be very supportive when they tell me about the book, and say things like, “I’ll read it right away!” Then it just gets semi-awkward when I don’t mention it ever again–which is what I’ve had to do before when the book really….well, you know.
        I think I need to curb my enthusiasm upfront. Maybe just promise to check it out so then the expectation isn’t as high on their end.

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      • Been there, learned by my experience, Chauncey. Had to send too many difficult to write emails, or had awkward silences, as it sounds as though you have! I think it’s important to accept that just because you like a writer friend’s work, they won’t necessarily like yours,and vice versa. Hard, tho!

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  15. Thoughtful and helpful post, Terry. So many poorly written books receive 5* reviews from an author’s devoted “street team.” For this reason, the entire review system is skewed. All the things that bug you about books, bug me, too. When writing a review, I try to be honest but kind. That’s the best any reader can do.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, that has happened–and sometimes, with tragic results. My gripe is that phony reviews devalue all authors. I’m actually grateful that some readers don’t like my books; at least it proves I’m not part of a 5-Star Club.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly, Linda. 5* shouldn’t be given to every book you just vaguely like, it should mean something special. I liked that a writer I’ve always been quite friendly with on here gave me 3* and said what she didn’t like about my recent book, Tipping Point. I was glad she had the guts to do so.

      I just hate the ‘unofficial 5* swap’ – you know what I mean, I am sure! 😉 The writer who has a new book coming out soon, who gives lots of 5* out to writers she knows, in the hope that she will get them back. I’ve had so many discussions, over the 6 years I’ve been doing this, with authors who say they totally agree with me about all this, then I look on Amazon and see that, yet again, they’ve given a glowing 5* to a book they told me, privately, that they didn’t think was much good. And thanks for ‘liking’ my comment about 4* not being the automatic ‘I didn’t like it’ option. 4* is a good rating. It can be used for this, if it is a good book but just not up your street. But this article is about those books that are just… not very good. About options for how to deal with the situation, and it’s a very awkward one. In the past, I’ve emailed a writer friend to say that I had a few issues with the book and would rather not review, because the review wouldn’t do them any favours. And, as I said, not elaborated unless invited to – I’ve had a couple of unsoliticted critiques in the past and they’ve made me really cross!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You have the best approach, Terry. Being a writer yourself, you understand both angles. I’ve learned so much from following Rosie’s blog. I often jot down notes of things to be on the lookout for when working on my own stories. I’ve saved this post, to help me write more meaningful reviews.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Thanks for this post. I’m a blogger who does book reviews and for the first time I had to send an author an email telling her that I was not going to be able to review her book. I just couldn’t get into it. It was so hard for me to do that. I went very easy on her, trying to put myself in her shoes. I felt so bad, but I just couldn’t give it a dishonest positive review when I couldn’t get into it enough to finish it. She actually thanked me for letting her know. I told her I would pass it along to someone who I thought might appreciate it more and review it, and she was okay with that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good idea, about finding another reader more suited to the book. BUT don’t feel bad about pointing out things which need work. How can an author improve if they don’t know there is a problem?
      I expect you have given lots of your time freely in exchange for reading and reviewing?
      Please don’t let an author make you feel guilty for an honest review.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Good for you, CozyNook! From a writer’s point of view, an easy option is just to not do anything. We don’t mind! As I said in the article, if a book blogger takes my book but never reviews it, I just assume she didn’t like it much. That’s okay!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ah, sorry, yes!!! Just saying that it is an option, if the situation is too awkward. It’s really nice of you to bother, like Rosie does. Most don’t; they just don’t review, and that’s the last you hear of it. But that’s okay. They give their time up for nothing.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Please do, if you like them, or even if you just like them a bit – reviews are SO hard to come by, and it’s the amount of them on Amazon that makes a book more visible; it doesn’t matter if there are some that are not that positive, or of lower star ratings. You can always just leave a star rating and one non-commital line ~ every one is so gratefully received! I do know what you mean about awkwardness, but it’s the constant uphill struggle for all of us, with only 1% of the reading public reviewing (apparently!). Thanks for reading the article, Ali 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Excellent post Terry.. I very rarely review a book that I have not bought. I don’t tell an author that I am reviewing, but if I am reviewing a book under 3 stars then I will drop the author a line to offer my reasons why.. However, some authors are not easily daunted.. I had one reply that implied that my age was influencing my view of the book as they were using modern English!

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    • Nor me, apart from for Rosie’s blog, Sally. But reviewing books for strangers is easy (indeed, I have less than positive reviews on my own books from total strangers, too!) – the problem comes when it’s a book by a friend. I know it’s kind of the problem writers don’t talk about – but I wrote this post after seeing yet another glowing 5* for a book that someone had told me, in private, they didn’t think was much good. I can understand why people do it. I just wanted to give some options!

      Off topic, but talking about less than positive reviews on my own books: I have a 2* on my black-humour-drama Best Seller. It was written by a man who reads mostly crime thrillers, and complained that it wasn’t thrilling enough. Which is a bit like a vampire book lover complaining that it hasn’t got any vampires in it. It’s, um, not a thriller, mate….

      As for those who won’t accept that their book is not brilliant…. it’s too often the case that the worse the writer, the bigger the prima donna!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I agree with you Terry.. and in fact most of the books I buy are written by friends as I try to support them in any way I can.. I still do not tell them I am reviewing unless I have read sufficient to know I will enjoy. Which I can do now as I am reading and enjoying Project Renova book 1 which I bought a few weeks ago along with book 2! That was on the back of a recommendation of someone who is a friend and whose opinion I value. As to the guy who gave you a 2* it is a shame that he did not see the merits anyway.. What really amuses me is the ones who give 1* and admit to not reading yet!

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Reblogged this on Sharon Booth and commented:
    This is a great post by Terry Tyler. It’s the very reason why I have a notice on my book reviews page, stating that I don’t accept books for review. When I post a review, it means I have bought the book myself without the author knowing, simply because I like the look of it or I trust the author through previous work. I only post reviews for books I can give four or five stars to. Trust me, I read many more books than appear on my blog, but if I don’t feel enthusiastic about them, I don’t review. I’m not a book blogger, and therefore don’t feel obliged to post the bad and the ugly as well as the good. I’m simply someone who loves reading and likes to share when I’ve found a book worth telling others about!

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  19. I’m not an author, but even as a blogger I sometimes find myself in this situation as I have a good rapport with a lot of authors. I tried to gloss over the spelling, grammar mistakes as these can be fixed. It’s when I have issues with the plot, pace, or sometimes the authenticity (someone writing a historical book but using items etc that weren’t available in that era), that I find myself in situations where I have to try and work out what I am going to award it. I would never not give an honest review though as I agree with Terry, you’re deceiving the people buying the book, along with the author and yourself.

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    • Exactly, Stacey. Saying a book is brilliant when it’s not is EXACTLY like giving a fake review on any other product, as I mentioned. I know not such a big expenditure, but I’ve wasted enough money on books with a slew of 5* reviews from mates (before I got wise to them) to be annoyed about it!

      And it just adds to all the bullshit on the internet, generally, of which there is far too much!

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  20. Pingback: Friday Roundup – 24th November | Stevie Turner, Indie Author.

  21. Entering this late, so can only say I’ve enjoyed and learned form all these comments.And I try to review honestly… or not at all. So difficult being a reviewer… and a slow, oh so slow, a reader. Always wonder how one person can review two/ three books a day… super fast. How i envy their speed and perception.

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