Monday, September 10, 2012

The Honest Truth

There has been a lot of discussion lately about some very underhand tactics to get a ton of reviews on Amazon and therefore shoot books into stardom. For example, authors paying for reviews or making up phony aliases so they can write their own reviews. Many whom I have spoken with are appalled and sadden by these methods. I'm sure you feel the same way.

I don't want to harp on about it, but since I am getting ready to e-mail a copy of Betwixt to all the blog tour participants (Betwixt blog tour hosted by A Tale of Many Reviews, Dec 3 - 8), I thought I'd touch on the subject today.

What is an honest review worth?

To me, as a reader and a writer, the answer is simple - gold. An honest review is what I'm looking for. I don't want to give buyers false impressions about my books. I also don't want to buy a book based on false reviews. I want my books to be reviewed by readers and I want to know what they think. I value readers' opinions and I particularly love reading a review that is well thought out and shows the reviewer has really understood the book.

Whenever I review a book, I tend to keep it brief as I never want to give away spoilers. I hardly ever read a book that I think is perfect, but I try to err on the positive when I'm writing a review. If I have a huge issue with something in the book, I will mention it, but on the whole I like to be upbeat. I will never write anything I don't agree with though.

What kind of reviewer are you?

I'd like to finish by saying a huge thank you to anyone who has reviewed or rated my books. I so appreciate the time you have taken to read them and then share your opinion on them. It's people like you that help us indie authors get exposure for our work, so a thousand times thank you :)



16 comments:

  1. i am an honest reviewer. im like you and dont like to say to much cus i HATE spoilers in reviews. i like to say whether i liked a book or why i didnt but without giving anything away. to be honest ive been pulled from two blog tours cus the publishers didnt like the 3star reviews i gave the books, but thats ok cus i still posted the reviews on my blog cus i feel that readers need to have honest reviews not what the publishers want you to say.
    i love your books melissa :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Alice :)

      I think it's awesome you leave honest reviews. I don't actually think 3-stars is a bad thing. I've read 3-star books before and enjoyed them. Reading is so subjective.

      Personally, when I buy a book, I like to see a variety of reviews, that way I know it's not just family and friends, but there are honest readers leaving their opinions as well :)

      Thanks for loving my books. You're awesome!

      Delete
    2. yeah i love to see a variety of reviews for a book too, if there are only good reviews then it gets me thinking if they are legit reviews or not. the one thing that absolutly bugs me when reading a review is when people dont use that one simple word "SPOILERS" ive had many books ive wanted to read be spoiled cus the reviewer hasnt used that word. ok rant over hahaha

      Delete
    3. You're entitled to your rant :)
      Spoilers can really ruin it for some people. I'm one of those naughty readers who sometimes skips to the end (shhhh!! Don't tell!) so spoilers aren't always a deal breaker for me, but I never put them in my reviews because I don't want to ruin it for others :)

      Delete
    4. i dont mind looking at a review if it says "spoiler" but when it doesnt and it gives away the biggest thing about the book then i find i cant read that book. i never put spoilers in my reviews, or if i do i say so. hahaha i have actually skipped to the end of a couple of books, but normally i wont do that hahaha

      Delete
    5. You are much for disciplined than me, Alice :) lol :)
      I just have to know if they will end up together and if someone dies, I can prepare myself. I'm sure authors of any books I read would be very disappointed in me :) I never want people to read ahead in my books!!!

      Delete
  2. Great post, Melissa. Agree, agree, agree.

    I don't review as my author persona (a pen name), but my reader persona does. And I don't hold back. I tell the truth, and I try to be balanced and back my criticisms up with examples. I will include spoilers when necessary, but I flag the passage as such.

    Anyhow, I don't think it does the writer or potential reader any favors to post a falsely inflated review. Burning readers with false 5s can actually backfire. (Two of the most scathing reviews I ever wrote were for books which had a head-shakingly high number of 5s, and ONLY 5s. I was like: are these people kidding???) In fact, when book shopping, I don't even bother to read 5-stars anymore - especially those written by reviewers with a history of '0' other reviews.

    (Can you tell book reviews is a hot issue with me? LOL)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha! Thanks for stopping by, Melissa :) It's great reading other people's opinions and I love that book reviews is a hot issue for you.

      I know what you mean about too many fives. I've read a couple of rather average books that only had 5 star ratings. It does make you wonder.

      My goal is to spend time getting honest reviewers reading my work. I'm more than happy for family and friends to review my books as well, but even then, I ask them to be honest. If they didn't like the book, they must say so. It won't hurt my feelings. Reading is SO subjective. We can't expect everyone to like the same thing :)

      Delete
    2. Just to clarify...I read a lot of self- and indie-published works. I've found some real jewels, but I've also come across some very badly-written novels. The 'scathing reviews' were for books that had major plausibility issues and downright bad writing. ;) I rarely give 5 stars (I mean, if you give most everything a 5, then what do you do when you read a book that is truly spectacular?), but I rarely give only 1 either.

      Looking forward to your blog visit. :)

      Delete
    3. I have read some pretty bad indie novels too. I really want to make sure the stuff I publish is good quality. At least if I get a bad review it will hopefully be a taste based thing rather than a criticism of my writing :)

      I hardly ever give 5 stars myself. I save that up for truly exceptional pieces of work.

      I'm VERY excited about being on your blog. Thanks in advance for having me :)

      Delete
  3. Great post Melissa,
    I always try to be honest and keep my opinions about the book, not the author. I have read a few reviews in which people like a story but because the author has said or done something they may not like or agree with, mark the book with a lower rating...I think its petty and uncalled for. And you're right, reading is very subjective. I have often loved a story but hated the characters (and vise versa) - and don't get me started on reviewers who charge to write a review, just don't!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think your reviews are awesome! That's why I'm always so stoked when you say yes to one of my books :)

      Delete
    2. LOL, I've been eagerly whittling my way through my review pile, Betwixt is next and I'm super excited to get started :)

      FYI, I'd NEVER turn down a chance to read one of your books Melissa, I think you write amazingly good stories!!

      Delete
    3. Awwww - you are so sweet :)
      Can't wait to hear what you think. I hope you enjoy it when you get to it!!

      Delete
  4. Right or wrong... I only review books I like (as you can see from my Goodreads average rating - 4.99), and I keep my reviews honest focusing on the positive. I don't feel the need to do or say anything if I don't absolutely love a book. My policy: 'If I can't write/say anything nice, I won't write/say anything at all.' The good news is that I hardly ever pick up a book I don't love because I stick to my preferred genre - almost never straying from it - and I investigate the book, the author, the ratings, and the reviews beforehand. This method works for me. (✿◠‿◠)

    BTW: Love this topic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. This is a great topic :) I love hearing what everyone else does. I don't like saying bad things about books either, but I do think honesty is key. I think investigating a book before hand and sticking with a genre you love is a brilliant idea.

      Thanks for stopping by :)

      Delete