Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Doing Book Reviews...My Two Cents

I'm a writer (not a pubbed one maybe, but I consider myself one none-the-less). I image some day having one of my books actually published, on the shelf in book stores, or being ordered on people's kindles and ipads, or being borrowed from the library, or from a friend who LOVED the book and desperately wants someone else to experience it and love it as much as s/he did. As a writer hoping to be published one day, I can not for a second imagine the pain of googling my name or book title  and coming across a horrible, mean, negative review. God, that must REALLY HURT. I mean, like a knife stabbing pain in the gut that slices up into your heart and back again.

Think about how hard you have worked on your book (or books). Think about the hours, days, weeks, months and even years you have put into writing your story, revising and editing. And revising and editing. And revising and...you get the point. Then there's that blasted query letter and the synopsis to get through. Then the querying process and the editing process from there and then it's still not over. Then, finally after all that blood, sweat and tears (LOTS OF TEARS and a few too many glasses of wine :-)), you finally get published. HOORAY!!!!!! You are high from the excitement in seeing your baby, your hard work, all pay off.

And then you read a review that says, "Eh, an okay read. Don't really recommend this book. The writing is mediocre, the story drags, and the characters would be better served in the Land of Make Believe cause they just didn't seem authentic to me."


Ya think? This person deeply believed in their book. In their story. Whether you think it's good, bad, or just so, so, their heart was likely embedded into that project. Not only that, their agent and/or publisher obviously believed in it too. IT GOT PUBLISHED!!!

Word of mouth is a very powerful tool in this biz. Silence can be too. Talking, bragging, and swooning over the books you love and not discussing the ones you don't basically has the same affect, but without the negativity and dissing of someone's work. Don't you think? I'm not talking about having book discussion with your friends or even discussing/blogging about the kinds of things that drive you crazy or anger or frustrate you in books in general (not naming the book). I'm talking about using public forums to discuss and sway others to not want to read a book. It may not be your intention to do that, but that is essentially what it does. It's hard enough dealing with the nut jobs who want to ban books and since they're not going anywhere, let's just leave the negativity to them.

So, there you have it. My really long blah blah blah two 37 cent post.


  1. I agree. When I post reviews on Goodreads, my blog, or Amazon, I think twice about it. I only have three that have two-star ratings on Goodreads, and they're about books from authors who are too big (and rich) to care about my measly reviews.

  2. 37 cents, that's funny. I like that.

  3. I keep going back and forth on this - back and forth. On the one hand, I appreciate honesty and if all I was to read were positive, glowing reviews then I'd be wondering what the deal was. I've heard people around the blogosphere saying that people don't have any backbone anymore to say what's on their mind - and it's true.

    Then I read a post like yours and I think that I would never want to diss on a fellow writer given that I know how much hard work it is to write a book. And I get your point totally. It must hurt. But then again, I think, if all a writer ever hears is positive reviews how will they ever grow as a writer?

    Back and forth .... I decided as a writer not to do negative reviews, but I think that honesty from book bloggers and reviewers(non- writers) is justified. Books are entertainment and you would never expect to hear only good reviews of movies. At the same time, you don't hear other actors saying publicly that such and such a person did a lousy job at that role. Same thing applies. Respect your fellow writers and keep the supreme negativity at bay, but don't expect people who are not in your profession (non-writers) to do the same.

    Dang that was long-winded.


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