Thursday, November 20, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Honesty

"I receive a lot of review books, but I have never once told lies about the book just because I got a free copy of it. However, some authors seem to feel that if they send you a copy of their book for free, you should give it a positive review.
Do you think reviewers are obligated to put up a good review of a book, even if they don’t like it? Have we come to a point where reviewers *need* to put up disclaimers to (hopefully) save themselves from being harassed by unhappy authors who get negative reviews?"

I have never received a book from an author directly. However, I think I know what this question is referring to, the whole dilemma that has been going on. If you don't know about it, leave me a comment and I'll be happy to fill you in :)

Reviewers are not obligated to give a good review under any circumstance, even if the author gave them a book. I'd think that the author would want an honest review because they went out and gave books away. When I hand someone an article I wrote for the school paper, I expect them to give me an honest opinion about it. I know people who tell me every single one of my articles are good and I don't need to change anything. That isn't helpful. There are people who always tell me so many things are wrong with my writing. They are tough critics, but they help make my articles better. Plus, compliments from these people mean more to me since I know how tough they are!

This shouldn't be any different for us. We should have reputations of being tough (but not nasty) reviewers. This means if we like a book, it was really good!

Many of the people who always have something to say about my articles for the paper always say something about what they liked about it, even if they have to point out a really small detail. Reviewers should strive to do this to, especially if you just pointed out a whole bunch of things you didn't like about the book. You shouldn't totally slam the book. The author did spend a lot of time and effort on it, no matter how badly it was written. This does not entitle them to an overall good review, though.

If the author gave you the book, make sure you sincerely thank them in your review, no matter how bad the book was!

I don't think we need to put up dislaimers. Authors should be able to show some manners in this area, but some fail to do so. I hope the author who was recently angry for a bad review and acted badly about it will suffer to some extent. As with many things, people need to recognize the consequences to their actions. I hope reviewers and authors will learn from this incident!


Debi said...

That was all very well put! And I agree with you completely.

But now, please fill me in...what's the deal?

Sarah said...

An author gave a reviewer a copy of his book. She reviewed it and didn't like it. She didn't trash it, but her claims were legit. The author posted a comment on her blog and posted an entry on his blog (but later deleted it). He threatened to file a lawsuit because he expected a positive review, saying how he went out of his way to send this book to her and she didn't review it nicely.

Michelle at A Reader's Respite posted a good entry on it here:

Her entry is how I found out about it!

SmilingSally said...

I agree that I want no disclaimer on my blog. It's a bit of an insult to think I need one. I look forward to reading your comment on my post.

gautami tripathy said...

If a writer gets abusive, I think we ought to tell him off with sugary sweet politeness albeit sarcastically!

Read my BTT post!

Ronnica said...

I've faced this issue somewhat, but I'm straight-up about it. I'll try to state things as civilly as I can, but if I don't like a book, I'll say that and say why. That said, I'm going to try to avoid receiving review copies for a while as I'd rather read what I want to.