Port De Soller Mallorca

Port De Soller Mallorca

Monday, 13 February 2012

Book Reviews, Should you always do a review on a book you Read?

Authors, particularly Indie authors are always asking you, "If you have read a book and you enjoy it, you should post a review."  Same with Amazon, they encourage you to also write reviews on books you purchase from them, not just books, for the latter, but on anything that you purchase from them and they even remind you do do so.

I have started to do reviews on the books that I read, you can read them here and generally my reviews have been favourable towards both the book and the author.  Minor exceptions to this have occurred of course, in fact I ended up reviewing a book a quarter of the way through from a non Indie author and on a book I had been waiting for sometime to come out, which was part of a series.  It left me disappointed both in the writing style and the story!  This showed in my full review when I got round to completing the book and instead of giving it a 5* out of 5* as I had expected to based on the previous two novels in the series I didn't even give it a rating, had I, it would have been a two or a grudging 3*.

The other thing is, if you buy a book and you are not getting on with it, for whatever reason, do you throw it in the bin or on a bookshelf to gather dust, without completing it.  In that less than stellar review I mentioned earlier someone said, you'll probably not even finish it and I replied (half jokingly) I'm a Scot, having bought it, I'll read it, cover to cover, even if it kills me! And so, I did/ do.

I'm having the same problem again, with another book, this time from an Indie Author.  I've mentioned in some reviews recently that SyFy wasn't really my bag, but have got into it more and more recently having read a couple of Indie Authors offerings and in the main thoroughly enjoyed the story lines offered to me through these books.  There are minor irritations and while I am far from perfect in my either my spoken or written grammar or indeed in my spelling, lots of minor errors abound in some of the books I have been reading.  They are minor in the main but, if the author has indeed produced a gripping fast moving storyline and your eyes are racing across the page devouring each word, it sort of breaks the spell being woven by the words, when you are suddenly going back over a sentence or paragraph to see what was wrong with it.  It acts like a bit of an air brake in that you are racing along the road in a truck and the air brakes are suddenly applied and you are jolted violently to a full stop some place you have no right to be stopping, if you see what I mean!

But while they shouldn't be there I am living with them and even ignoring them to an extent when I do my reviews and, if I have enjoyed the story and the plot, them I am giving it a good review.  Indie authors seem to be more contactable than established authors, well in the sense that if you engage with them on Twitter or Facebook they will, largely without exception engage with you and this does mean that you end up building a relationship with them.  It also allows you to DM or email them with these minor errors and lets them update the main file so that the next person buying the book doesn't get the problem that you got.  I have no problem with that either and I suspect that the reason for most of the minor errors are that Indie authors, erudite as they unquestionably are, like the rest of us, miss things from time to time and they do not have access to the proof readers and publicists and the whole wagon train of baggage handlers that publishing house authors have access to....

But therein lies the quandary I am in.  If, having engaged with an author and bought her or his book and you find that it is just not up to your expectations, do you still do a review and blog it and publish it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or i-books or wherever you bought the book from,  or do you not post a review anywhere, what do you think?


  1. Hi, Tom,

    I have an enduring hatred for Rating systems, but sometimes I will post an Amazon review because it's a book I want to push and so I just click on 5 stars to get it out of the way. (always vaguely resentful that Amazon forces me to click on stars in order to post a review)

    As for reviewing a book I didn't like, why bother? There are too many good books to talk about. If I don't like a book, who cares? Let those who enjoy it talk about its merits. If no one enjoys it, let it wither quietly away, bothering nobody.

    As for letting the author know his/her work is substandard, well, I charge $50-100 for a critique. If the author is that interested in a pro's opinion of strengths and weaknesses, he can pay me. Otherwise, the marketplace will tell him soon enough. (is that too curmudgeonly?)

  2. Jay, I can't believe that you would be bad tempered at any time......

    Minor errors I can put up with and I really don't mind pointing them out, but when it's the story or the plot or the dialogue that (for me at least)just isn't quite right, well I get annoyed. The other issue, and I hear you ABOUT JUST LETTING IT WITHER AWAY, is that, as you know you guys are having to self publicise heavily on twitter and some a lot more than others... But then I suppose what I like or dislike will probably be different to the next person who reads the book... So you may well be right

  3. Okay, well, if you disliked my book, just send me an email. I'm a big girl, I can take it!
    For the most part, I try not to review books unless I simply want to recommend them. I don't like critiquing my fellow authors. Sometimes silence is the best thing.

  4. Dear John I mean Julia, I wasn't talking about your BOOK. (LMAO at that comment). But I like your suggestion too xx

  5. Hi Tom! This is a VERY good question. Here's the deal...if we were getting paid the big bucks to be a professional reviewer (hee hee), then you write the review. However, since we are not actually getting paid the big bucks, it's up to us whether or not to post. I like recommending books I love, so I always do a shout-out (quickie or full review) for those. The ones that are meh, I don't always bother with a review. The ones that are truly hideous I sometimes can't help myself, especially if I am really irked about the book (particularly if it's by one of my fav authors and the book was a disappointment).

  6. Penny, full of good advice as usual, Think I'm gonna' call you Julia and Jay my Favourite Agony Aunts.

    Hear what you are saying a gave a very mediocre review last year on one of my fav authors its on my review page two reviews same book and a non Indie author to boot...

    I am reading one at the moment and it is very heavy dialogue wise which makes it a hard slog when it could otherwise be racing along as the story seems good...

    So, I need to decide whether to keep going with it and if I do whether to review it or not....

  7. Okay, I totally have to use the expression "it's a hard slog" during my next review. Love that!


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