Wednesday, March 4, 2015

#IWSG Review or not to Review ...

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Not too long ago, a friend asked me to review a book. As I set out upon a journey of romance, it became obvious that the further I read, the less I felt inclined to since I stumbled across character developmental problems as well structural plot holes.

I actually garnered courage (the book is soon to be released!) and contacted the author, sharing with her my unease of reviewing a book I felt was unready and mentioned my reasons in a tactful and friendly way. I felt obligated to since I knew she would appreciate having a book at its best.

I have heard of many authors who have written off reviewing books for this reason and will only beta read and critique. I'm thinking I should do that, too!


How do you handle books that aren't ready for publication when someone asks you to post a review on it?


Have you signed up for the A to Z April 2015 Blogging Challenge? I have! I started writing and scheduling the posts, but I have several more to write. I want to dedicate my time in visiting and commenting!




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22 comments:

  1. I try not to agree to review a book for someone unless I've read enough of it to know that I'll be able to be positive about what I have to say. I'm not good at leveling criticism, except when I'm critiquing for someone who I know can handle it.

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  2. Ouch. That's a tough one. I only accept requests for reviews from people I know are ready to publish. I don't know what I would do in the situation you were in.

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    1. I had no idea she was not ready since her book only had a week left. :(

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  3. I have done this and hope I have done it fairly. The authors who reacted to such interviews seemed to accept them as I approached them and a few continue to be warm with me so I guess I didn't upset them too much.

    Here's what I do: I'm honest with them about my feelings. Unfortunately most of the less than good reviews were for books that were already on the market. When I'm not thrilled with a book or find problems with it, I try to put the emphasis on what I liked and what I thought was good. I point out the weaknesses while trying to put the most positive spin on them I can. For Amazon ratings I never give less then 3 stars and when I do feel that I have to go 3 stars I still try to give positive points that might still sell the book to certain audiences.

    I feel that if my name is on a review it's my credibility that's at stake. I don't want to rave about a book that is not good and give 4 or 5 stars if it doesn't deserve that rating otherwise I can't be trusted as a review source. The reviews should be useful as feedback and a learning experience for authors, but ultimately the reviews are guides for customers who are considering laying out their money to buy a book.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Wise! I like doing that too when I can...

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  4. Last year, someone asked me to do that, and several chapters in, I just knew I couldn't finish it. Not sure it wasn't ready to go, I just couldn't connect with the characters. (Which could have been me or the story.) I let the author know, with tact, and she understood.
    I still review books. And now I know I don't have to review if I don't have to.

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    1. I like having that option; that I don't have to if I don't want to. Nice to know, isn't it?

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  5. Good question! I've been in this position many times. The more people know you write fiction, the more requests you receive, I find. Sometimes, it's taken a matter of great tact on my part (when I know the author is non-receptive to critique), and other times, I have simply NOT reviewed the book after reading it, because I couldn't stand with hand over heart and say anything positive at all. Very difficult position to be in!
    http://www.yvettecarol.wordpress.com

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    1. Indeed! I feel the best type of people to write reviews are avid readers--author approach books with an entirely different view on books (because we see them skeleton out!).

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  6. Hi Elizabeth! I think anyone that reviews for a friend is incredibly brave :) Luckily I have a friend who has no qualms in telling me if my work sucks lol!
    Suzanne
    Co-host for Alex :)

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    1. lol. I would love someone like that to critique my work!

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  7. I've never actually had this problem with any published books, and I hope I don't. I don't offer to review books, though. I just read and review them if I want to. And I've never had to give a writer I know less than 3 stars, so I guess I'm fortunate.

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    1. Yes, you're fortunate! If I do happen to come across a book like that, I will mention it, but this book was so unready--it still needed a few more rounds of edits. :(

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  8. Gosh, that's hard to do! And while it's hard to hear that what we have done is not perfect, it's harder to face the realization, which will inevitably come, that we have failed and wasted our time and others. I would thank you, myself, if I were the writer. More than that, I would note you as being one to depend on for truthfulness and understanding. Well done! I'd follow you if I weren't already!

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    1. Not only that, but it leaves a "bad taste" in the readers' minds. They won't want to pick up future books if one is not properly edited. Aw, thank you, Diana! <3

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  9. Wow, that is a tough one. I haven't been in that particular situation, though I've been asked to read and ideally post reviews for books I find are not for me. The writing is average and the story is fine, just not my thing. The issue then is I don't just give out 4 -5 star reviews because someone's nice, I rate based on how I enjoyed the book. I consider 3 stars a decent review, 1-2 reserved for really problematic books, which I usually state why I rate that way. There are times where I marked Read for a book on Goodreads and left off the rating because I didn't want to offend the author. I notice some published authors do that, or they only star reviews of books they highly recommend

    Either way, I think it takes maturity to do what you did, to tactfully address the issue head on with the writer instead of burying your head in the sand or making excuses.

    Here's my March IWSG post

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    1. I read a book once, which was not my genre, and there were many things I didn't like, but I was fair. I admitted that science fiction is not my typical read and while I felt the author info-dumped on certain scenes, I loved the pacing of the plot and the characters.If I review a book I'm not interested in, I do my best to be honest and *fair*. Sure, I may not be able to get into a 50 year old's mind over knitting and biking, but if it is well written... But a book that still needs more work on it, well, that's an entirely different matter!
      Thanks for your comment!

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  10. Hi there!

    I just stopped by to check out your blog. I've signed up for yet another year of the A to Z Challenge and look forward to reading many, many posts next month...;~)

    Take care,

    Donna L Martin
    www.donnalmartin.com
    author of THE STORY CATCHER (Anaiah Press 2015)
    coauthor CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: ANGELS AMONG US (Simon & Schuster 2013)

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  11. HI, Elizabeth, I made a promise to myself. If I can't say positive things about the book, then I won't review it. Luckily for me, I choose most of what I review.

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  12. That's what I do. I'll crit and beta, but don't do reviews. For one thing, I'm very honest, which isn't always good when I actually want to keep writing friends. ;-)

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