It’s a new year but the same old issue.
I’ve been writing about reviews ad nauseum, and I’m sure you’re all as tired about this topic as I am. Believe me, I don’t want to write about reviews – I would much rather spend my time reading a really good book or admiring the hot manflesh of the Friday Guys, but sometimes a gal’s gotta do what’s right.
Authors, I know that when we write negative reviews of your books you think we’re picking on you. But we’re really not. We love to read and when you throw a good book our way, WOW, we’re in heaven. Trust me, it’s orgasmic. So we wish you would write lots more of those really fine books. But lately it seems that the muse has deserted some of you, or maybe it’s just that nothing works. Consequently, we have had to write more negative reviews because we owe it to the readers to be honest. This upsets you, which is understandable, because you probably spent a lot of time producing what you sincerely believed was a brilliant literary piece of work, but it turned out to be somewhat less than wonderful, at least in our opinion. Would you rather we praised a book to the skies that we knew in our hearts was not your best work?
A number of authors (you know who you are) have in the past requested that this site no longer review their books. Recently a few more have joined the band. So far I have been acceding to these requests, even though in some cases up to three different reviewers have independently come to similar conclusions about your writing i.e. that it’s not that great. However, in future I will no longer go along with these requests because, regardless of all the other fun posts, this is a review site and the readers who drop by are entitled to our opinions on all M/M books we read (positive and negative) to help them in their purchase decisions. Of course you want to make money from your hard work, but readers deserve to spend their hard earned money on books they can enjoy. We will, however, try to use as many euphemisms as possible when we describe why a book didn’t work for us . 😀
A few authors probably feel that sometimes we are a tad too candid, or that we could have eliminated a few quotes to back up our opinions (because opinions are always subjective) but that would not be honest, and honesty is what reviewing is all about. What constitutes a good book review? In my view it’s an analysis of the characterizations, plots, pacing, even those pesky editorial errors are noted, and the most critical elements of any book review are honesty, and whether at the end of the day we liked the book. Some of our reviews are critical, but only when we feel such criticisms are warranted.
This site reviews books to provide the readers with opinions of what worked, or didn’t. In addition to writing a review, we also rate the books which I think is sometimes the hardest part of the job. If we don’t rate your books when we provide a critical assessment of the story, how would the reader know whether we think it’s good, bad or indifferent? Reviewers may not be fiction writers (well most of us are not) but we have a pretty good idea of what comprises a good romance book, and it has nothing to do with the obligatory HEA. Most reviewers do this thankless job in our minimal spare time, in between looking after our families and/or working full time at our EDJ (evil day jobs) just like you, authors. So when we use our very scarce available time to read your book and it turns out to be not your best work or even a good effort, we are disappointed, but our reviews are never personal or contain snark.
Please do not send your books to be reviewed here if you you’re just looking for a promotional blurb to post on your website because you won’t get it, unless we think your book is deserving. If that’s what you’re looking for there are other “review sites” that perform this service – they are not hard to find since they only write positive “reviews” and profess that the book is “the best ever”, or they just regurgitate and expand the blurbs with no critical assessment of what’s between the covers. Also, please do not write your publishers if you’re offended by a less than positive review. Contrary to what you might think, even though publishers supply many of the books we review, often we buy the books we read. You do not have to read our reviews of your books if they upset you, but you might learn something if you read them with an open mind rather than being angry that we would dare to criticize your creation. No book is perfect but some are considerably less perfect than others. On the flip side, when we love a book we can’t shut up about it and pimp it to everyone who will listen.
If you’re interested in an honest assessment of your latest M/M literary endeavour we would be happy to provide our opinion if you submit it for review. We don’t believe in taking pot shots, so our reviews are politely worded and restrained. On many occasions the guest reviewers and I have had discussions on the site with authors on the pros and cons of particular book reviews, and while we might not always agree, both parties have an opportunity to make their points in a respectful manner. OTOH, recently when a negative review was posted here the author sent in her “attack dogs” to demean the reviewer by questioning her integrity, as a means of deflecting attention away from a poorly written book. That demonstrated a lack of integrity on the part of the author! This site is open to everyone who is polite in debating the issues, whatever they are, but please do not insult the guest reviewers or other commenters.
Thanks. I appreciate your cooperation.
I wish to say “thank you” to the authors who drop by the site and make our days a little lighter by poking fun at just about everything as well as blogging on occasion, and thanks also to the publishers and brave authors 😀 who send us their books to review.