That is the conundrum.
More specifically, the conundrum is should authors review or not.
I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for a while now…
At least ever since reading back at the end of June horror author sensation Ania Ahlborn’s excellently articulated post I Won’t Pan Your Crummy Book. I’m Not That Type of Gal.
Fortunately, during my recent meanderings I found the excellent post Should Authors Review Books? by Author Raven Blackwood — an author and Navy vet! which makes her a lifelong shipmate of mine — that I’ve reblogged down below for your entertainment and instruction, and which sums up the issues nicely regarding reviews.
But as far as Ahlborn is concerned, in her post mentioned above, as well as her subsequent post, she comes down strongly against authors reviewing books.
And she particularly takes Indie Authors to task for it.
One should remember that after hitting the big times as an Indie herself and subsequently getting drafted by the Trades into the Big League, Ahlborn has returned to her roots and has gone Indie once again with her latest novel IF YOU SEE HER [about].
Which is very cool thing for her to do… and very profitable one I’m sure.
Both of which I admire (read: envy) greatly.
But I don’t necessarily agree with her position regarding reviews.
Indie Authors such as myself, those down closer, much closer, to the lower rungs of the authorial success ladder, need to do just about anything they can to expose their literary flare.
Showcasing the fact that they are not just well-read, but understand what they read and that they can articulate why they do or do not appreciate what they read can, in my estimation, go a long way toward proving their own writing chops…
Or lack thereof.
And when it comes to reviewing well-established authors backed by the highfalutin publishing industry, I’m all for being brutally honest in regards to how one feels about their work.
Meaning all is fair: from one-star reviews to five; as is even making note of the fact that a book of theirs had to be DNF’d…
As can be witnessed by those DNFs found on my sidebar.
But, as an Indie Author who understands that this writing gig is a tough one, I do believe we Indie Authors need to find ways to uplift and showcase each other’s work…
And providing positive reviews for each other is one way to do that.
I didn’t always believe this.
Back when I first started this Indie thing a decade or so ago, I wrote a few rough reviews of other Indie Authors’ work.
And I still feel guilty about it.
And I won’t do it anymore.
But that doesn’t mean I’m going to be dishonest with my Indie Author reviews.
It just means I will look harder for the positive when reviewing them than I probably would for non-Indies.
And if I can’t find enough positive in an Indie’s book to at least write a decent three-star review?
Then I won’t review it.
And if it’s so bad I have to DNF it, gawd forbid — let’s be honest, there are a lot of less than good books out there, especially by Indie Authors I’m sorry to say…
Then I will do it without mention or fanfare.
Which means, if you are an Indie Author and if one day you find your book on my Currently Reading list and then the next day it disappears from the sidebar altogether, never making it to either the Recent Reads or Recent 5-Star Reads lists where all books are rated and (some are) reviewed…
Well then I apologize in advance, for, with my particular literary sensibilities being the way they are, I just couldn’t stick with your book to the end.
But so what, right?
I mean, my opinion about a book is just that…
And we all know what that means, right?
Now do yourself a favor by disregarding this extremely long opinion of mine and go read Raven’s most excellent one on the matter!
TL:DR: Some think it’s okay for authors to review other authors’ books, some don’t. Yours truly here thinks it’s okay… albeit with some provisos attached.
Reviewing books can be difficult, especially as an author. You don’t want to hinder future working relationships by one staring an author’s work, but you don’t think it’s right to dismiss the book’s pitfalls.
I’ve had my share of time as both author and reviewer, sometimes both. I’ve interviewed authors I’ve given negative reviews to. It is awkward, especially if they are the author who publicly gets all whoa is me when someone doesn’t give their book 5 stars.
That’s only the beginning of the dilemma. The one I tend to suffer from is how should I review. I’ve gone from short and snappy to 1,600 words. That isn’t even a joke. I once wrote a 500 word review on a one-word poem an author was charging $0.99 for. Surprisingly, the review went from a rant to a rave.
I’ve tried many styles and formats, different star rating systems. None…
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