Honest Reviews

We know people who are fellow writers. We read and offer comments on each other’s blogs and social media posts. We want to support them in their book writing endeavors and hope they will do the same for us. Amazon would prefer that we not post reviews of people we are friends with. Both they and Goodreads especially don’t want review trades. So we are more circumspect. We don’t really trade reviews; we just read books and offer our opinions. But here’s the predicament: Do we feel obligated by our connections to write glowing 5-star reviews, hoping for the same for our books?

Here is my opinion, I want to call them as I see them. In other words, I post honest reviews of all books I read, even those of people I know. That may mean four or even three stars along with comments about shortcomings or what I might have preferred to see done differently. Or it may mean indeed mean glowing 5-star reviews. To me, that’s the ethical thing to do. While it’s a great feeling to have wonderful reviews, it’s not reasonable to expect nothing but raves. While I might wish they would, I don’t expect everyone I know to write glowing reviews of my work either if that’s not their honest opinion.  Of course I don’t have to post a critical or one/two star review. And I probably won’t if it’s one by someone I know.

What do you think? I really want to know.

12 thoughts on “Honest Reviews”

  1. All my reviews are based solely on my enjoyment experience John, regardless of who the author is!
    If a book doesn’t hold my interest well enough for me to read it all the way through, I put it back on my virtual shelf and move on to another book.
    I’m fortunate that I can contact most authors directly and advise them of any corrections they may need to consider doing (and not leave a review until the corrections have been made) but unfortunately, most readers can’t, so their only recourse is to state their opinions in reviews and give low ratings.
    Note: Troll reviews are a whole different thing and I don’t hesitate to flag them as such to Amazon, et al.

  2. I agree, John. Writing a glowing review for a book I didn’t enjoy would be a lie, and I’m not comfortable with that. Though if I can’t give at least 3 stars I won’t write a review at all. I figure that way I don’t shred an author’s hard work while still remaining true to myself.

    1. Thanks, Sue. That’s my policy too; if I can’t do three stars I won’t do it at all–for people I know and respect. For total strangers, celebrities, et al I will be a little more ruthless. The most ruthless would be for political figures. 🙂

  3. I think you need to do what you feel is right, John! I don’t post less than three stars but do let the author know if I cannot post and reason why. All authors have to expect some criticism about their work. It hurts especially the first negative one then it gets easier to accept some negative responses. These just make us work harder to improve our writing. Blessings in the New Year! Keep reviewing!

  4. Honesty is refreshing. I like to review honestly as well. And if I didn’t enjoy the book, I too would rather not review with less than 3 stars. If a book is poorly written we can get a gist for that within the first few chapters. If it’s that bad. I don’t read the rest. 🙂

      1. LOL, I was thinking that. And well, I’ll have to update by blog for now. Stay tuned in a few days. PS I heard it got quite cold now in your neck of the woods, as I sit reading blogs and watching the Phoenix nightly news and weather. 🙂

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