BAD REVIEWS - Do they help or hurt us?
Especially if you are reviewing a fellow author or friends book.You know if it's one of those, they are expecting a five star rating from you. Afterall, aren't we supposed to support our fellow authors and friends?
But what do you do when you come across a book from a fellow author that you just simply can not give a good rating to? Do you lie? Or do you stay true to yourself and review the book with complete honesty? Which one helps the author more?
I once received a terrible review about a rhyming story I had written. I didn't know the reviewer but he was a respected author in the community. He was not nice in his review and basically told me to give up rhyming. With this being the very first story of mine that he had ever laid eyes on he thought he was that much of an expert that he could judge my writing enough to say I had no clue about meter or rhyme. I was shocked because I thought fellow authors were supposed to give each other encouragement. He gave me none. Yes, tell the truth but do it with encouragement. I don't believe it helps an author to just tell them to give up.
So did it help or deter me from ever writing rhyme again? I don't know. At first I was very angry. Then I decided I would work harder than ever to prove him wrong. But in the end, although I played with the story a little bit, I have done nothing with the story. It has sat in my inventory for almost 2 years now. I have practiced rhyme and meter and do believe I'm much better at it now and understand it, but... everytime I pick up that story my stomach cringes. What if he was right? Should I just continue on with prose and give up rhyming forever?
I once had to review a fellow authors book that was done in rhyme. I have to say it was one of the most difficult because I just couldn't find much at all good about the book. The author broke all the rules I'd learned and the ending just left me completely flat. I just could not give it a good rating or recommend it. Unlike the 'cruel' reviewer I'd had on my own story, I did try to find something nice to say though. I felt horrible that I couldn't give that author a good rating but it would've felt completely wrong to lie to myself and the reader. Needless to say, the author chose not to post my review.
I couldn't blame the author because none of us want to post a bad review. It doesn't help us sell our books. But does that help the reader make the right choice about what books to read? How do you feel?
Posted by Allyn Stotz at 10:27 AM