Monday, August 26, 2013

Authors are readers too--but are we reviewers?

As authors, we know the value of a real, honest review. Readers often choose books based on referral or review rating, so the more comments on Amazon or Goodreads, the better.

Authors are also readers, inhaling our favorite genres as fast as free time allows. But should we leave reviews?

This is a discussion that has come up a half-dozen times this year, just among the authors I know. We want to do everything we can to support each other, but what do we do when we *don't* like a book? Do we stay silent, leave an honest review, give a courtesy high-rating, or just review books we loved?

I personally stay out of it. I hate not giving back and supporting the authors I've enjoyed, but I find the most comfort in staying neutral. If I love a book, I'll rave about it online, but not on a review site. If I were not writing, and just reading, I'd want to leave reviews for every book I read whether I enjoyed it or not--this kind of accuracy and honesty is something I value as a reader and writer. But I'm not good at tiptoeing around office politics, and leaving a poor review--even at its most constructive--for another author is something I still struggle with.

Many writers disagree with me on this. Do you? As a writer or a reader, how do you feel about authors leaving reviews for other authors?


PG Forte said...

Good post. I guess I feel like it's unprofessional to publicly bash other people's books. Yes, we're all entitled to our own opinions; that goes without saying. But that doesn't mean we NEED to voice those opinions in a public forum. Authors bashing authors just seems crass. It does everyone a disservice.

Kelly Jamieson said...

I made the decision to not review books - I track what I read at Goodreads but rarely rate a book unless it blows me away. I agree with PG - it feels unprofessional. I value the relationships I've formed with other authors and don't want to damage that. Also, I recently stumbled across a review of one of my books by another author that was less than favourable and I have to say, it really bugged me. I mean, I get lots of reviews from readers who don't like a particular book, but this felt different, and I don't want to do that to other authors.

Erin Nicholas said...

I agree as well. It does somehow feel unprofessional. I will, like you Sky, talk online about a book I've enjoyed but I don't leave reviews on Amazon, etc.

Sydney Somers said...

I don't write reviews either, but when I'm super excited about a book I will post on FB or blog about it. I look at writing negative reviews sort of the same as I would talking about a coworker's presentation in a workplace. You might mention it to a close friend or chat to your boss about it, but you wouldn't send a mass email to everyone at work about it either. Like the others mentioned it's a professional courtesy thing to me too.