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August 13, 2012
by Tahlia Newland
Should authors publish negative reviews?
See this second post in my series on issues surrounding reviews on my personal blog today. There’s a poll too.
By Tahlia Newland
I occasionally publish negative reviews (2* or 3*s) but always with reluctance. I’ve been a reader a lot longer than I’ve been a writer and if I read a book that seems to be to be poorly written, even if it does have nothing but 5* reviews, then I think it is only fair to post an honest review for the benefit of other readers who may want a balanced view. I’ve written over a thousand reviews of opening chapters (through YouWriteOn and Authonomy) and hundreds of reviews of full books. I’ve been a beta reader for several writers and I take reading and reviewing as seriously as I take my own writing. So far this has not backfired on me as a writer.
Wendy Unsworth - Author of The Palaver Tree
It’s a tricky one and becoming a published author myself has made me a much more thoughtful reviewer, which I think is a good thing.
Honesty has got to be the most important factor therefore I have voted ‘sometimes’ in the poll because I have felt on rare occasions that a low star rating is justified. That was when I felt that the content of the book was totally misrepresented on the cover and in the blurb.
99% of the time I wouldn’t finish a book that I would rate 1 or 2 star and if I didn’t finish the book I wouldn’t post a review.
There is a real case for saying that by not posting a negative review, when we feel it is deserved (having purchased a book) we are endorsing it by default and that is worrying. However, in most cases I personally would prefer to put a book to one side as ‘not for me’ and concentrate on works that I can enjoy and discuss with others.
There will always be plenty enough people who are willing to ‘lay it on the line’ when they consider a book to be unworthy – maybe pure readers (as opposed to writer/readers) are best left to that job!
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