Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How Do You Handle...

Recently, I read somewhere about someone giving an honest (although bad) review of someone else's book.

The author had approached the reviewer and the reviewer could not find one shining example in the book to give any sort of praise. The reviewer posted the bad review on their blog and soon after, was being harassed by the author's friends.

Nasty comments appeared under the review and the reviewer even received a nasty email.

The author was never heard from.

What if this had been your book or even your review? I am all about honesty and when reading the review, I didn't find it as harsh as I had been warned it would be. But if you cannot find anything to praise, should the review be done?

And you, as the author. How would this affect you? What if someone posted in their blog that your book lacked plot, had characters you couldn't make a connection with and was poorly written?

We, as authors/writers, take a responsibility to make sure our work is the absolute best that it can be before we give it to the world. But there are those out there who think, "Hey, that would make a neat story!", then proceed to write it out and push it onto the web before any editing has been done.

Funny. I think my first book was just like that and I thank whatever deity listens that I didn't get the horrible reviews. My book just died, quietly, with no fanfare. Had I gotten those bad reviews, I probably would have hid from the world, never writing another word again.

And it is fine that friends stick up for your work. Family will as well. But don't harass the person who wrote the bad review. (Okay, yeah I have asked people to help out my sister in law on Amazon...) But honestly, I didn't attack the person who wrote the bad review, I just posted a more positive one. Others have as well.

With that being said... if you are going to be honest and write a bad review, don't slam the author and just say it was a horrible story, that it was the worse book ever and leave it at that. Back up your words and give examples.

What would you have done in any of these situations?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

If I couldn't find anything I liked, I wouldn't post a review. I think a lack of reviews speaks just as strongly about a book.

Unknown said...

Bad reviews are hard. Sometimes I am mad that the book was so bad. I hate to spend money on a bad book. Even if the author gave me the book to review I get mad when the book is bad. I hate to waste my time. LOL

If something bothered me in the book, I try to copy and paste a sample of it for an example. I don't think it does any good to slam the author herself though. I find with bad reviews, stick to the facts.

I can usually tell when someone is slamming an author and I just think that makes the reviewer look bad.

I have to admit, I'd love to have read the review and the follow up comments that you talk about in your blog post though.

Great discussion, MichelleKCanada

Rory Grant said...

Honesty, honesty, honesty every time for me. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Any author has to appreciate that even books acknowledged as literary classics have been hammered at some time by bad reviews - You simply can't please everyone. I learned that as a musician - we could have amazingly successful nights only to find one guy in the audience yelling 'shit' - Just gotta roll with it I'm afraid.

A. Santiago said...

I'm from Book Blogs :) and now following your blog
I replied to that discussion and I agree, while the reviewer was harsh and could've given constructive criticism, the author, apparently, could've done some editing.

I have a paragraph with bit of negative critique in a book review, but with some examples.

Stop by my blog whenever

Jamie Gibbs said...

I go along the lines of "if you're requested to review the book, then no matter how bad it is you should give an honest and fair review'. I've given my share of bad reviews (though, I hope, that I've justified why I didn't like it). I usually balance it by highlighting something that the author does particularly well too.

I think if you're an author and your book is out there and you're having people read it, you shouldn't expect everyone to love it/pretend to love it just to make you feel better. If that's what you want, never get published.