As a reader, I do a lot of book reviews. I didn’t used to, but in the past year I’ve discovered Goodreads, and I review all of the books that I read on my Kindle. Reviews allow me to sing the praises of a book I really love and it allows me to vent when I’ve slugged my way through something for which I’m less than enthusiastic. I’ll also say that I pay a lot of attention to reviews prior to purchasing a book. They make a difference for me.
A recent incident gave me pause when after a less than stellar review, I was contacted by the author. He was quite nice in his email and while he didn’t ask for a review change, he made a few points I thought were valid. I was a bit irritated with the book and the protagonist when I initially wrote the review. This came through in all its glorious colors. I redid the review to tone down the snarky-ness but I didn’t change my overall premise.
Then the issue came up about not having the right to post a review if I didn’t complete the book. In the review I stated that I had completed about 40% before I just couldn’t stand it any more. (FYI, I did end up finishing the book at a later time and my opinion didn’t change.)
I was curious about this “right to review” concept so I tweeted:
The half dozen or so responses clearly indicated that as long as a statement was in the review about the percentage read, it was all good. I tend to agree.
My thoughts on book reviews
- I think they are important. If you read a book, do the author and other readers a favor and write a review. If you bought it at Amazon, go there to write the review. If you bought it elsewhere, consider joining a readers site like Goodreads.
- Don’t make all of your reviews glowing. Don’t make them all snarky. Try to include info from your perspective that may help other readers or the author.
- Don’t be surprised if an author contacts you regarding the review. Carefully consider how you respond.
- For the love of Pete, try to keep them reasonable in length. Criminy, some reviewers are so stinkin’ long winded. I don’t WANT to read a blow-by-blow that’s 8 paragraphs long. It’s a review, not a synopsis – get off yourself.
- I think it’s perfectly ok to let the world know that the book drove you so crazy you couldn’t finish it. Best to provide concrete examples of why it didn’t work for you in this case.
What are your philosophies for book reviews? Have you ever been contacted by an author after a review? Do you think it’s okay to write a review when you didn’t finish the book?