Authors and reviewing.. should they, shouldn’t they…

You know…any time I’m told I shouldn’t do something, my natural inclination is to do it and do it now.

But… yes.  I realize this is one of those ‘situations’ that authors often find themselves in.

Do we review a book?  Is it right?  Is it kosher?  For the longest time, I know a lot of authors were saying No.

Straight up-I don’t review books.  That’s been my policy for the longest time.  I’m not a reviewer.  Now I’ll tell the world when I love a book, yes.  But I don’t review.  And I only discuss books I’ve enjoyed (either mostly or a lot).  That’s my policy.  Just mine-I don’t care what other authors do, as long as they don’t attack another author.  Yes, when they trash another author-the author, not the fricking book, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. When an author trashes another author and I see it?  I’ve even been known to speak up over it… imagine that… I’m vocal, what can I say?

But to just read a book, then review it and discuss the points that didn’t work?  Discuss…not get ugly.  FYI, crap like… how did this shit get published, or OMG, I do better than this comes off as ugly…and um… kind of bitter, too.

A fair review, though? Fair…honest?  Focusing on the issues and the plot and the characters?  Is that a problem?  Well, this is just me… but no,  I don’t see the problem-for me.

Maybe this is more a romance land thing.  Yes, romance land is inundated with that ‘play nice, say nice, be nice’ mind set.  I don’t always care for that mind set.  I prefer honesty and fairness and courtesy, and yes, you can discuss the aspects of a book that didn’t or won’t work for you and still be courteous.

We are all different and we aren’t all expected to love the same thing-whether we write or not.  Whether we write romance or not.  Whether we write erotic or not, or suspense or not…whatever.

Everybody has different tastes and we are all entitled to that.

And here’s the kicker… not only are we entitled to it, it’s a damn good thing we all have different tastes…because if we didn’t…since publishing kind of reflects what the reader wants, and we all are readers, as well, if we all wanted the same thing…um.  Well.  Wouldn’t the bookstore be extremely boring?

Now…we’ve established we’re all going to have different tastes…right?  And if not…since it’s my blog, lets just say for the sake of argument, we have.

Should we be allowed to discuss fairly those different tastes?

Well.  Yes.  Assuming the author is willing to:

  • Deal with the consequences (should there be any)
  • Do it in a professional manner

Now, I’m talking fairly.  As in the author focus on the book.

If the author/reviewer is using the review to attack another author?  Well, then, all bets are off.  That’s unprofessional, it’s stupid, and I’ve got no patience for stupidity.  Those who try to be cute and pretend it was about the book, when it wasn’t…well, it’s obvious.

But if an author focuses on the book? If the author is fair?  Willing  to deal with the consequences?

What consequences?

Well… if you’re giving a negative review to a very popular author…many of them do come with some vocal readers…some of them (the vocal readers, not the authors, although there also very vocal authors who are a whole different ballpark) do take exception to anything less than glowing reviews.  And when I say less than glowing?

I’ve seen people get attacked over giving a 4 star review to one author’s book.

I personally have had people take me task *in person, not online* for not loving one particular author’s series as much as I used to.  When all I said was…I fell behind…I’m just not enjoying them as much…and I had people lay into me.

Now…if those vocal types are the authors who get their panties in a twist?  Um…well, sorry.  That just makes them look like asses,

Back to the subject at hand.

Yes.  There can be consequences, but I don’t think those consequences should come from the author side.

Why?  Because damn it, unless the author doing the review is being nasty… what is the problem? We’re entitled to an opinion and the author doing the reviewing will face enough flack just for stating a polite… “It doesn’t work for me”.

We all want to be taken more seriously, folks.  And one of the biggest detriments to romance is this crazy… We must be nice, say nice, look nice, act nice crap.  Maybe this is my inner tomboy coming out, but that’s such a girly copout.

How about… we Be Fair.  Act Fair. Be Honest.  And be willing to accept the consequences…?