Wednesday, September 2, 2015

IWSG Post – Fear of hurting another writer

I always look forward to the first Wednesday of the month, as it’s our monthly IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) post. This awesome and inspiring online group was started by Alex Cavanaugh, Author of Amazon bestsellers: CassaStar, CassaStorm, CassaFire and Dragon of the Stars. 

In our IWSG posts, we discuss everything related to our writing: from the troublesome first draft to the million and one revisions we writers do, we also cry over the heart-breaking query process and vent out our writing frustrations, anxieties and insecurities. Let’s not forget that we also support and encourage each other. Don’t forget to check out the IWSG website for awesome writing tips.

As many writers and even publishers request me to review their books on my blog, I always feel guilty turning them down. It’s next to impossible for me to review all the books that people want me to review. For one I won’t get the time to read all of them. The second reason is, I have this big fear that I may not like the book.

So many people who approach me have self-published their books. Trust me when I say this, the quality of writing sucks. Most of these writers haven’t bothered hiring a free-lance editor. As the soft-hearted girl that I am, I hate to hurt other writers, especially when they have self-published their books. I politely decline and wish them good luck.

I’ve nothing against self-publishing. It’s the quality of writing that worries me. This is not to say that the quality of writing that comes from the bigger publishers is good. Sometimes, even the books published by the biggies suck big time.

In India, there are just a few publishers (good ones) and I feel that by being honest in my review, I will be rubbing a lot of people (read editors of the publishing houses, the marketing and sales team who have a say in which book to publish and the writers themselves) the wrong way. Honestly, I’m not here to make enemies. It happened with me once, I was honest in my review of a book, and to make matters worse, the said editor had three chapters of my manuscript. You all can guess the outcome of my three chapters.

I’ve decided that I’ll not review a book that I didn’t enjoy reading. Never mind the fact that it’s been published by a big publisher or I know the writer or the editor personally.

How do you all handle such delicate situations?


30 comments:

  1. That's a good policy. But of late, I have realized that enemies, powerful ones at that, are important to get ahead in life :P

    Destination Infinity

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  2. You can probably just tell them you don't review books, since you don't on your blog. Saying no is always hard. I have to say no to a lot of people who want a spot on the blog because I don't want to blog so many days of the week anymore.

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  3. That's why I don't review books on my site.
    I won't review one I didn't enjoy either. And if I'm not enjoying it, I usually won't finish it, and I don't believe in reviewing a book I didn't read.

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  4. You've got to do what you think is best. It sounds like you've got a good policy now.

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  5. Basic honesty lies at the core of anything professional be it writing or anything else:)

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  6. Such a great topic to discuss. It is too bad the quality of writing that comes with some self-published books haven't been edited. I only beta-read and there is a certain aspect of brutal honesty that goes with that. If I'm reading a published book that I don't like, i just won't post a review on Goodreads. But I understand where you're coming from!

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  7. It's a fine line reviewers tread. You want to be professional and honest with your opinion, but not all people respond professionally if the review isn't what they were hoping for. That's why I only write reviews for books I finish, and I only finish a book if it's 3+ stars (although lately even the three star books I haven't been finishing). I only review what I read, which I think is fair.

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  8. I have stopped reviewing books as well for the same reasons you discuss here. I don't want to review something I didn't like. As for the self-publishing stuff, there are some really gifted writers who are self-publishing. I don't think anyone should put a book out there that hasn't been professionally edited. I have paid a great deal to have mine professionally edited and it is being professionally designed as well. I guess it's hard for readers to figure that out though, who has done that and who hasn't. The writing will tell all, I guess.

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  9. I've been sending a lot of review requests to bloggers and can understand that not all of the can review them. They either don't have the time or the book doesn't sound right for them, which I am 100% okay with. Reviewing for others can be tricky. I always try to be positive. I've never had to write a review for a book I hated before, but I don't think I would if I had to. I wouldn't want to be mean, as I wouldn't want others to be mean about me or my books.

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  10. We each have to decide if we'll review books or not. I don't do many reviews anymore and it's been a long time since I wrote one for a book that was less than average. (And it was a book from a big publisher.)

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  11. Reviewing, much like publishing and finding the right agent, is a subjective business. What one person likes another doesn't. I don't do formal reviews of things so not really had this problem as such but not sure I could leave a bad one!

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  12. I think you're wise. I'm in this to be a writer, not a reviewer. If I wanted a career as a book reviewer, I might have a different opinion, but I'm not. Therefore. I only review books that I enjoyed for one reason or another. If I hate a book, I'll pretend I never read it.

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  13. I think you're wise. I'm in this to be a writer, not a reviewer. If I wanted a career as a book reviewer, I might have a different opinion, but I'm not. Therefore. I only review books that I enjoyed for one reason or another. If I hate a book, I'll pretend I never read it.

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  14. I came to the same conclusion about not reviewing a book I didn't care for, then I broke that rule and have lived to regret it. Honesty only brought me trouble, so I'm back to my rule.

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  15. I've written review for books I've really enjoyed but then I got to a point where I felt I needed to quit writing reviews completely because I didn't want to write anything negative and risk hurting someone's feelings. If I don't enjoy something I honestly don't have much to say about it anyway, I've never been one to pick things apart and go on about what I didn't like. Plus I just believe if's better to remain silent if I don't have anything good to say. I am more comfortable just not reviewing at all.

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  16. I have to say that I've read some awesome books by self publishers. It's a matter of taking your craft seriously and treating it like a business to put the best book out that you can. But I never give bad reviews. If I don't like it, I don't review it.

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  17. Rachna, I agree with you. I would never want to put down another writer's hard work for any reason. As a result, I only review and/or rank books that I truly enjoyed and can give 4 or 5 stars. And nowadays, I only give a book about ten pages to get and keep my attention. There are too many choices out there to continue reading a book you don't like.

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  18. I stopped reviewing books that people ask me to read because many were bad and I had to tell them I I didn't enjoy the book because I'm an honest person and I'm just not going to say it was a good book if it was not a good book.

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  19. and I know what you mean about self published books not being edited. I paid for an editor for my books as a writer really needs that second set of eyes to look at their works

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  20. Seems like a decent solution, actually. I think I would have a known policy that if I am going to review I will let the author know. If I don't like it, I just won't post. Good luck!

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  21. Yeah, I stopped reviewing books I don't like. I won't even finish reading the book if I don't like it (there are too many books out there I want to read to waste time on something I'm not enjoying), so it definitely doesn't feel fair to review a book I haven't finished anyway.

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  22. I can't review all the books I'm asked to review either. Sometimes I just turn them down, sometimes it takes a long time to get to. But I am always honest in my review. And if I didn't like it, I can usually talk about things others might find appealing.

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  23. Right now I'm looking for books to review for my blog. So if you know of anyone that would like a book review, send them my way.

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  24. I agree with Elizabeth, that I blog as a writer not a book reviewer. I'm also an editor, and am extremely critical and picky about the books I read. If I don't like them, I won't read past the first page. We can't be all things to all people. We can be encouraging friends to other writers online, but we may not even enjoy their books. In this case, it's best to stick to the no-review policy.

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  25. I agree with Elizabeth, that I blog as a writer not a book reviewer. I'm also an editor, and am extremely critical and picky about the books I read. If I don't like them, I won't read past the first page. We can't be all things to all people. We can be encouraging friends to other writers online, but we may not even enjoy their books. In this case, it's best to stick to the no-review policy.

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  26. I'm with you, Rachna; I won't review a book I don't like.

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  27. I never promise to read/review people's books either. I make deals to exchange reviews very rarely (if I think their book looks really good and I want to read it!) or I get freebies. And then usually, I can barely make it through the book. But hiring editors doesn't always help. 95% percent of people who've hung their shingles out as "Editors" for the self-published are even crappier than the authors. Now any idiot who's attached themselves to a tiny e-publisher as an editor thinks they're good enough to edit. When my copy edits came back from my publisher, I was horrified. She was wrong about a number of things, and I had to waste valuable time finding online resources to prove to her she was wrong. (Like she didn't want me to ever use "into" but only "in to," and she made comma errors, etc.) I think it's a shame when writers pay for editors like these. Ah, well...for every person, there are fans. I've seen badly written books sell well. Regular readers just don't know any better.

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  28. I read and review books . . . only if I'm interested in the book and review if I liked it . . . but never on my blog. It may be come off as mean, but I have a writer's blog, not a review blog, so once you make an exception it goes downhill lol. As far as books I didn't like, well, we all have opinions, our different tastes have to be taken into account, and if I can't be objective about it, I just don't review. I do self-publish, while my chick-lit/urban fantasy voice may not be for everyone, I do my best to get my work professionally edited, beta read multiple times, proofread, professional formatted, & get custom cover designs I'm proud of. Sadly, there are many people who take advantage of self-published authors and offer services they're not capable of delivering, so our bad rep continue :-/ Still, traditional or self-published I say no equally to writing reviews lol

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  29. I've turned down a few books for review. Other times I start reading a book, don't like it, and quietly put it down without making any waves by giving a one or two start did-not-finish review.

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  30. Thank you for saying this!! I always feel bad when I've read a book and don't like it but v promised a review. I usually try to find something good and share that. But I prefer not to review at all

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