I know reviews are important. I think they are awesome, good or bad. I love getting reviews. Someone has read your book and bothered to remark on their experience. I read books, and many times, if the books are by mainstream authors who I have never met or contacted, I will click a star rating at the back of the book on my Kindle.
I don’t give reviews – just a rating. Why not more? Why not expand on what I like about it? Or not liked? Yikes!
Welcome to the snake pit…right this way…your seat is ready.
I know a boat-load of authors, I’ve been doing this for 8 years. Some I’ve met in person, some online, some I like as people, others not so much, some I love but don’t care for their writing. (Please don’t try to guess who this might be, I’m talking in generalities). The point is I know people. And some people know me. Giving my opinion on friends’ (let’s call them friends for now) books smacks of bias. I enjoy books for my own reasons, and what I like, I admit, might not be what others like, and vice versa. I frequently find some of the books being raved about…uninteresting. I have types of books I love and don’t love, just like everyone else. I love a good western. I love mysteries. I love cozy mysteries and noir.
I’m too old to read a book that doesn’t appeal to me right away. I don’t have enough time or energy.
I also don’t want anyone to say “They’re friends. Of course she gave it a 5 star.” I try to stay professional as much as possible as a writer. Being impartial is hard. Especially with friends. No way would I tell a friend “Hey, read your book. Hated it!” Nor would I ever write a review about a book I hated or DNF. Now, if a friend asks me to read their book and give an honest opinion about it to them and them alone, I’m happy to do so, as long as they can hear what I say and still stay friends. Like a critique group. Otherwise, I keep my opinions to my self.
My dad used to say, “Keep your hands in your pockets and your big mouth shut.” Wise, wise words.
So, I think it’s just best if I keep my ratings to myself. Especially books in my own genre. You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. “She’s just jealous.” “She’s friends.” etc.
That doesn’t mean to say I won’t say something nice about a book I’ve read, especially if I thought it was good. I might post it on FB. I might recommend it when people ask for books to read. I might say, “So-and-so knocked it out of the park with this one!” or “I love her heroes.” But I’m not posting them where they “count” like Amazon, ARe, or Goodreads. If I really like a book, I’ll tell the author, either in an email or on FB, which is where I interact with most people.
And frankly, when I do this it’s as the “real” me, not the author me. And I think that’s even better, cuz it’s word of mouth. No spoilers. No explanations. Nothing but “Hey, I liked this book.” And I have a few authors who I’ve shared posts for, just cuz I like them or their books.
And now that FB has this link between authors and friends and is removing reviews, I have even more reason not to review. What’s the point if it just gets removed because FB thinks we’re besties?
And finally, my life is really busy. I barely have time for writing and everything else. Writing reviews would be the last straw and I’d have to stay up all night to get everything done. I need my beauty sleep. People can tell you, I’m no good without my sleep. It isn’t pretty. And I want to keep the few friends I have, so it’s best if I just read and skip the review.
I hope everyone understands. I’m a writer, not a reviewer. There are others who do a fabulous job of it already out there. God bless them.
Just not me.
What about you? Are you a writer who reviews books? In your genre? Where do you post them? Under your pen name or real name?