Would you write a glowing review for a so-so book if...

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Would you write a glowing review for a so-so book if...

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Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 16, 2010, 11:28pm

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huhtikuu 14, 2010, 3:13pm

Um. no. I might try and make it more positive or find the positive things about it for their benefit but I would like to believe I would be honest about the whole thing. I would certainly keep it to constructive criticism but that is a pretty big field.

huhtikuu 14, 2010, 3:28pm

I feel it's more honest of me to say exactly what I think about a book. Where I get the book doesn't matter. Whether I know the author or not doesn't have any bearing on my reviews. If I am given the book in exchange for writing my review, then the gift of the book is buying a place on my blog and in my LibraryThing reviews, and perhaps on Amazon.com, but, it does not buy a glowing review. In general, I request or buy copies of books I think I will like, so the majority of my reviews are positive, but I make mistakes sometimes... When I do make a mistake, I do not have a problem posting a neutral or negative review, if that's what I feel the book deserves.

I might like the general premise of a book, and still give it just three stars if there are severe problems in the execution of the story. Or, I might give three stars to a book I'm not really keen on if I think someone else may enjoy it, so one needs to read my comments, not just take my ratings into account. I try to make my reviews as honest as I can make them. I save the one and two star ratings for books I REALLY can't stand. Thankfully, I don't encounter too many of those.

huhtikuu 14, 2010, 4:57pm

# 3: "I save the one and two star ratings for books I REALLY can't stand. Thankfully, I don't encounter too many of those."

I was wondering about rating the book with 2 1/2 or 3 stars until I saw all the 5's and comments along the lines of 'this is the most fabulous book I've ever read.' I still had a few positive things to say about the book, but my main points were about the need for improvement and I didn't feel comfortable rating the book too highly since it looked like the system was being gamed.

huhtikuu 14, 2010, 6:00pm

I think some people feel obligated to post a glowing review if they know the author, or if they've been given a free book. Fortunately, I feel the need to be honest more than I feel the need to - well - exaggerate. And that's what I feel some of the five star reviews are... mere exaggeration.

huhtikuu 14, 2010, 6:40pm

One often sees glowing reviews of self-published authors on Amazon. This is not because the books are good, but because the author wrote the reviews himself under different names, or she got a bunch of friends of hers to give it good reviews in order to help pump up the sales.

huhtikuu 15, 2010, 4:24am

Be honest. If there are bit you liked, be sure to mention them. If there are bits that didn't work, let other readers know, and they'll judge for themselves how important they consider those bits to be. Anyone who wants to be an author has to be able to take some criticism. If they can't then being an author is not for them.

huhtikuu 15, 2010, 7:17am

That's what I like so much about posting reviews here... you can give your actual opinion, without repercussion. I would be very upset if it was otherwise.
I am sure there are reviews added from invested connections to the author, and some others to inflate the overall book ratings, but I hope, due to the numbers, a reliable rating will win out, and a valid combined rating will reflect the true worth of the book.

So.. I'm with the others. Be honest. I, at least, will appreciate it!

huhtikuu 15, 2010, 7:25am


Only if it was my mum, I reckon. Given she is in no danger of writing one, I am safe. :)

huhtikuu 15, 2010, 12:14pm

People I know (or at least, those I consider friends) get 5 stars in my library: it's my library and I can do what I want with it;-) - I also make it clear that they are written by people I know. They only get a glowing review if they deserve a glowing review. Of course, that does raise the problem that books I haven't reviewed by friends start to look as if I didn't think they were very good and that isn't the case at all. I just don't review every book read.

My reasons (and star ratings) and given fully and explained on my profile page for anyone's who is interested but I don't really expect that anyone who doesn't know me is going to dash out and buy a book just because I gave it 5 stars.

huhtikuu 15, 2010, 3:34pm

Old saw "Honesty is the best policy" seems a good guide. If you are truly puzzled about how honest, maybe this will help: if there was any good thing/if there is something you particularly liked/ if this book might reach an audience unlike yourself/ if you wish to be positive rather than negative, say that, but keep your stars to one or two.

huhtikuu 30, 2010, 11:18am

I would not write a glowing review just because I knew the author.

huhtikuu 30, 2010, 11:22am

#1 No.

I have been in that situation on three occasions. On one occasion I was able to avoid writing a review at all. On the other two occasions I wrote a very factual review and pointed out specific flaws in the book. One of the books was an anthology of short stories, so I was able to praise some stories while pointing out flaws in others.

huhtikuu 30, 2010, 11:25am

Anthologies are great in that way. Almost any group of stories has a gem or two.

huhtikuu 30, 2010, 11:26am


maaliskuu 13, 2011, 8:39pm

in almost every case, when i knew the author well, i probably let it slip into my review; at the least, i would treat his work a little differently. I think this is human nature, is it not? I shan't use his name, but he won a few prizes, and i worked with him. he was considered by many, mostly in the education department of our university, as a mean and opinionated mean, and i watched him tear apart an educational transfer who wanted to write children's book about little monkeys until the lady simply didnt come back. I understood where he was coming from. He didnt write many books, but i loved both of them, and i think the reason i did and do love them is because i did and do love him. i believe that writers are a separate kind of being and that our art IS US.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 14, 2011, 6:33am

I agree, with Esta1923 and reading_fox, that honesty is the best policy, but perhaps with a dash of added diplomacy. It's hard not to be righteously angry about reviewing a work you might have thought to be a total waste of your time, but I always try to balance comments on what was good about the publication with what could be inproved. There is always something to say about the worth of the work--the cover was good, there were one or two stimulating lines of thought, the author had obviously tried to express themselves creatively--but any criticism should always be constructive, not sarcastic--a future edition could profit from editing or proofreading or clearer maps etc.

I wouldn't care who the author was, friend or stranger, but I would always remember the potential range of audience: not just the author, not just curious readers, but also one's peers, those who might need to be won over, the publisher etc.

As for stars, what with half-stars being an option there is a maximum of 10 for a perfect publication and zero for waste of time, effort and space. On principle I would never give a zero, but surely there is enough of a range to accurately reflect one's assessment of the success of a book on its own terms, whoever the author.

(Incidentally, what a range of animalistic nom-de-plumes on this topic: dragons, a fox, a rat, a sloth, a cat, a 'rhinoceros', maybe even a manta ray...)

syyskuu 20, 2011, 7:43am

Speaking as a journalist, writing favorable reviews of books you don't like or haven't read just because the author is a friend/relative of yours is unethical. When you do so, you cheat your readers and in doing so cheat yourself.

While it's true that some people read reviews just because they like to read reviews, it's also true that most people read reviews as a means to help them make buying decisions. They won't buy the lawnmower that gets bad reviews. They will buy the book that gets good reviews.

So when they read glowing reviews of a book -- and then buy the book and read it -- and find they've saddled themselves with a stinker, whom do you suppose they blame for getting burned?

The other thing is that if they buy a book because you recommended it and it turns out to be a stinker, what do you suppose they think of you as an author and editor, as an authority upon whom they can rely?

My own answer to the problem is that I never review any book that was written by somebody with whom I am personally acquainted. Neither do I solicit books from publishers for review. That way I avoid guilt, conflict of interest, and other negatives. Readers think better of me (I hope) and I think better of myself.

helmikuu 16, 2012, 2:25pm

I ran a review site for 5 years. It was interesting and very time consuming as I had 24 reviewers working for me. During this time I was also reviewing books for Suite Magazine. Now I just get books to review for my own blog and on sites such as GoodReads and LibraryThing. So I have just a tad bit of experience.

The very first thing that I learned was to be honest in a review and to justify my rating in the review itself. The way that I look at it is that I have been sent a book for an honest review. And it doesn't matter if I am rating a book low, average or really good. And most authors do appreciate that honesty. I have even had authors correct the mistakes I pointed out before the book was published. (yes I was reviewing ARCs)

So be honest please. Your name is the one on that review.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 24, 2012, 1:42pm

>19 Shaiha:
So be honest please. Your name is the one on that review.
I do so agree with this. I would only alleviate my honest review by moderating the tone depending on the tone and intentions of the author--in other words I might be more pungent with a peppery, aggressive writer than with one who was sincere even if I thought a tad misguided.