Thursday, November 20, 2008

Booking Through Thursday - Honesty

I receive a lot of review books, but I have never once told lies about the book just because I got a free copy of it. However, some authors seem to feel that if they send you a copy of their book for free, you should give it a positive review.

Do you think reviewers are obligated to put up a good review of a book, even if they don’t like it? Have we come to a point where reviewers *need* to put up disclaimers to (hopefully) save themselves from being harassed by unhappy authors who get negative reviews?


My Response:
I review books, and if you read my reviews, you will know that I am honest. I give my opinion of the work--simple as that. I will add, though, that I recognize that an author has put his time and effort into the title; no one should be treated badly, even if the job is not done well. Therefore, I do look for the good things. I state the weak points, but highlight those good points so that readers can make their own informed choices.

I have had interactions with authors, but always been on a professional level. I do not feel the need to define the job of reviewing by establishing disclaimers. My integrity cannot be bought for the price of a book!

What's your take on this question?

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29 comments:

Patty said...

I think you should be honest if you're going to review something, even if you got it for free.

Coloradolady said...

I agree, honesty always...sometimes it is painful. Let them down gently... :)

Alice Teh said...

Definitely respect the author whatever the output is. If we do critique, we do so tactfully. It doesn't just apply to book reviews. The same thing goes with our daily interaction with others.

I don't get free books for review and most of the books were bought. If I do get them for free, I will still be as objective as possible and fair in my review. My motto is treat everything with respect.

Jeanne said...

Sally, I can only say your response is the best answer. I am not familiar with the workings of book reviews.

Hugs...Jeanne

By the way, I have two posts on your book give-a-way. I thought the first one did not go through. LOL. silly me.

squawmama said...

Good Morning Sally... I agree 100% that you should be honest and true to your readers by giving an accurate review of the book... It is after all a review... that is why you listen to several of them to get an idea of the book... Keep being honest... It can be done tactfully without bashing someone... Have a great day...

(((HUGS)))
Donna

sara said...

so glad you are honest!!! When reading a review, I really want to know what the book is like...honestly! I feel that if authors don't want a real review, then they shouldn't send out the book.

Bridget said...

Dear Kind But Honest Sally!!!, I agree 100% too! That's all that can be asked for. It would be a disservice to your readers to do otherwise.
b.

Melissa Wertz said...

I do not think you should lie about the book in the review and I certainly do not think your positive review should be purchased with the price of a book. Stand by your principals and stick to your guns.

Darlene said...

Well I definitely think you should be honest in your book review.

Knitty said...

Definitely honest! Even a review of a book that a reviewer does not like doesn't have to be a personal attack on the author although some may feel that way. I can't imagine you being vicious in a review.

If I know a reviewer and we share similar tastes in our reading material, it makes it easier for me choose a book based on their review. I can overlook some "that wouldn't happen" details in a light series when I enjoy the author and the continuing characters. Major flaws makes me wonder where the proof reader/editor were.

What sells a book for one person may not work for me. Stuart Woods' novels are a good example. His basic story lines are often interesting, even if a bit far fetched to my way of thinking, but I read them the way I would watch sit-coms. The problem for me is that his Stone Barrington character became too much for me to take. He walks into a room and every female (all intelligent, successful, wealthy career women with perfect bodies and wearing stilettos) drop their clothes and attack him like a starving person at a buffet. Yeah....right.

If I were to review any of the last books I read in that series, I would give the high points of the plot and comment on the singular dimension of the main character. He may be the male reader's fantasy character, but not the case for many women.

Melody said...

I'm with you on this, Sally! Well said! :)

salmagundi said...

Honesty is always the best policy with a little tact thrown in!! Sally

Barbara H. said...

I agree, Sally -- if it isn't honest it doesn't mean much. Kindness and tact go a long way, too, but honesty must be foremost.

char72 said...

I agree with you. Honesty is the best policy.
I've had a lot of Charlie Brown like trees in years past. I loved them. I love Charlie Brown.
Hugs,
Charlotte

Cathy said...

I agree with you, Sally.

Shelia said...

Dear smiling reading one, I agree with you - be honest. Honesty can be done tactfully and I'm sure that is your way!! I would appreciate honesty, even if it wasn't always positive. After I got over the sting - I would thank you!! lol
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Clif said...

I agree with everything you said about book reviews. I have just finished reading Billy and will be doing a review for Thomas Nelson. This is my first time to review a book that I received free. They said the review could be negative or positive they only require that you read the entire book. Keep your honest reviews coming!

bj said...

Oh...I've always found that it is better to be honest and I would never think you wouldn't be honest about your reviews. You took on a responsibility to be fair and honest when you took on reviewing books...and you are the kind that can't "be bought" !! You are just my kinda gal, Sal !! :O)
love, bj

Susan B. Evans said...

I agree. There's no need to get "ugly" about what you read. A review shouldn't be a personal attack - it should be an objective and honest criticism:)

Dawn said...

I think you need to be honest. If I was counting on a review to make a decision I would want it to be truthful.

take care,
Dawn

mari said...

Honesty is always the best policy, right? :)

judicreations said...

Hi Sally
Good for you! I totally agree with what you say. If you are reading a book to give your opinion then what is the author asking for...a true opinion or are they merely trying to gather points no matter what your true opinion is.

It sounds like you do a lot of book reviews. That must be very valuable to the author and I'm sure you are very fair finding the weak and the positive aspects.

Thank you for sharing.
hope its been a nice day
Judi

Chris said...

Yes, highlight both the good and bad and let the reader decide.

Yvonne said...

I completely agree with your post! Very well said!

Alex said...

Honesty is always the best policy. Besides...how will they ever learn to be a better writer if they cannot accept critique???

Theresa @ Take A Sentimental Journey said...

They need to realize that not everyone that reads their book will like it . If everyone always liked their books, there would only be need for one author in the world !

Cottage Rose said...

Hey Sally; I agree with you on this one. I believe in being Honest and up front with people. I won't lead people to believe in something that I don't really care for. So high five to you Sally..

Hugs;
Alaura

nikkicrumpet said...

What would be the point of a reviewer if they lied about what they read. You have an obligation to the potential readers more than to the authors. At least that's how I see it. Now if I ever write a book I'm sure I'll change my mind lol.

Killlashandra said...

From a personal stand point I'm not going to lie about a book. I might not like it but there's no telling someone else may love it. I'd have to make that comment somewhere in the review. I think it's terrible of publishers to try and pressure you into a positive review.