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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Reviews for Friends

Sometimes friends read my books and give me a great review.  I sometimes wonder if they are giving a biased review because they know me, or if they really think I'm that good. 

Many friends will ask me to reciprocate, and I do, but sometimes I just can't give them as good a review as they gave me.  I feel horrible about it, but I believe I must be honest.  Am I being too tough a critic?  Should I be nicer?  I feel like if I'm not honest then I lose my credibility as an author.  

I have suffered a lot of angst over reviews I give friends.  Should I just decline the offer to read their books for review?  I have read many books by friends who are wonderful authors, and I love to tell them so. 

What to do?  What to do?  Do other authors feel this way?

Thank you for listening to me, and I hope I get some great comments to help me.  I am really in distress. 

Sandra K. Marshall


Tina Donahue said...

Personally, I don't leave reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, etc. of friends' books. And I don't expect friends to do that for me either.

There is no book in the world that everyone loves and I don't want to ruin a friendship by saying I wasn't thrilled about the storyline, etc.

It's like lending money to friends. You just shouldn't do that either.

Nicole Morgan said...

I agree it's a tough decision to make. I mean, what if you don't like the book? Friend or not, do you really want to lie to readers and give it a favorable review? How will that make your work look to them in the end?

I offer a straight, across the board "no" to whoever asks that way no one ever asks me and I'm not singling anyone out. Less hurt feelings that way. :)

Sandy said...

Thanks, Tina and Nicole. If I like a book and really think it's good I don't mind giving a review. It's my opinion anyway.

This particular author has improved, but not above a 2 1/2 or maybe a 3. Cringing as I say those words.

jean hart stewart said...

I don't leave public reviews but will comment privately if asked. My beta editor is a good friend and tough as hell as a critic, and expects me to do the same. But that is private, as I say.

Sandy said...

Thanks, Jean. I don't mind giving a public review if the book is well written, and I can't put it down.

Janice Seagraves said...

You can focus on the positive. What did you like about your friends book?

If you absolutely hated it, then I wouldn't leave a review at all.


Cara Marsi said...

That's a tricky question. The requests I've gotten from friends for reviews were so far all books I liked so they were easy. I've read friends' books where they didn't ask for reviews. If I liked the book I wrote a review. If I couldn't honestly give more than 3 stars I didn't write a review. Sometimes I like a book but forget to write a review. A few months back I got an email from a writer I didn't know. I think she looked at some of my Amazon reviews and thought I'd give her a good review. She sent me her story (unsolicited) and asked me to give an honest review. I read the story (short story) and it was awful, just terrible. I never responded to her email and I certainly didn't write a review, yet I saw glowing reviews for that very same story.

Sandy said...

I liked the idea she had for the story, Janice. She did a nice job developing the characters, but there was one place where she gave away the identity of a female character who was masquerading as a male. It wasn't intentional.

Others were smaller things, but happened too frequently. For instance: dialogue wasn't always realistic for a man - the hero. The author made him ballastic at times. lol A lot of things just got worse towards the middle and last part of the book. The idea was fascinating, but fell short for me. I keep telling myself it's because I'm not a historical reader, but I don't believe that.

Sandy said...

Most of my friends don't ask me for reviews, Cara, unless I read their book.

Cara, after your experience with the short story doesn't it make you wonder just how valid reviews are? It makes me very distrusting of them.

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