Book Reviews

November 7, 2013

The fact that I have recently published my book has hammered home how important it is for me to write book reviews about books that I have checked off of my TBR pile. This post is about my experience when it comes to leaving a review, which is inspired by a book I recently finished reading.

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Generally I make an effort to find at least one thing that I like about a book. That can be anything from the reason I bought the book (usually it’s the cover) or a secondary character that I’m interested in knowing more about. Well the book I recently read left me in awe of how much I hated this particular book.

I don’t generally hate books, there are a few, but we won’t get into that now. When it comes to books I don’t like/hate, I find that the book is not meant for me or my range of interests and I will say so in my review. I will then proceed to find something beyond my personal bias to state which will allow people who may be interested in the book to decide whether they want to purchase said book or not.

This book is not one of those books. Readers on my personal Facebook page were treated to my rants about the book as I read it.

To say that I was a little peeved didn’t do my mood justice. Part of me is still a bit miffed. I’m agitated to the point that I am hesitant to post my review of the book because, well, I don’t want to be that person.

You know the one. You find them on just about every product review. Their reviews appear hateful and seem to spawn from a place that is dark and ugly. Yeah that person. That’s not who I want to be, yet this book… Suffice to say it drags that person out of her hateful pit to spew her ugliness all over my keyboard.

I am surprised my version of “that person” is pretty articulate and constructive with what she hates about said book. She even has a handy list of bullet points. Seriously, she has bullet points. Nothing says constructive and non-confrontational like bullet points of said book’s shortcomings.

Now I find myself struggling with this whole adventure because the book violently shoves me outside of my normal behavioral pattern in regards to reviews. I don’t like the idea of writing a truly negative review. In reviewing this book, I’ve gone beyond a simple “one star, I didn’t like this book” type of review to a “This book was so terribad that I’m ashamed to say I read it. I want the time that I devoted to this collection of words back. Where do I go for a refund of a free book?” kind of review.

I know that I can’t wrap myself up in the age old saying “if you have nothing nice to say…” because when it comes down to it, I wouldn’t be doing the author, nor myself any favors by seeking to avoid the issue of my review indefinitely. I have to post the review, if for no other reason than to reaffirm the simple truth that negative reviews are part of the publishing lifestyle.

And maybe that is the reason I struggle with posting the review.

I know the work that goes into writing a book, the man hours that go into prepping a book for publication, and the nervous dance that happens as you wait for your first review. And while it has yet to happen to me, I know that somewhere in the wings is someone who will not tell me how amazing my book is, who will have a dark cloud full of acid rain to drench over all my hard work. I know it to be true, because I know I can’t make everyone happy with what I do. It is because of this–with an added pep talk on my part–that I will post the review soon. Right after I erase the bullet points and make it a little less that person.

3 responses to Book Reviews

  1. 

    I’m in the position of avoiding reviewing a book written by my niece in law. My niece is avoiding reviewing the book. Her friends are avoiding reviewing the book. Why? It’s horrible. She wrote it with no beta, no editing except grammar and she picked my nephew [who is a computer main frame programmer] for editing the grammar, no feedback, no nothing. It has more plot holes than the moon has craters. Just spit it out and published it on Amazon.

    It’s horrible. What makes it worse is she is married to my nephew and can’t see why anyone wouldn’t give her a 5 star rating. So we are all avoiding it and she can’t figure out why we are not reviewing her book.

    How do you say to the woman who is married to your nephew and who he loves a lot, “It gets a 2 star because I have actually read worse and Amazon doesn’t have a negative rating so you get 2 stars instead of 1 star. You really need to rewrite that book.”

    And the bad thing is she thinks she is always right and knows what she is doing.

    • 

      Sweet Christ! I actually laughed out loud at your plot hole comment. The fact that no one will review the book in it’s published state should tell her something, especially if said people have claimed to have read the book.
      Your niece in law (among others) sound like the exact reason that so many indies get a bad rep.
      My family doesn’t read much (gasp, I know) and what they do read puts them outside of my target audience. I haven’t bothered them with reading my book, because frankly their frame of reference is limited, being that most of what they know about writing comes solely from required reading. I don’t delude myself into thinking I write anything like Chaucer, Shakespeare, or (insert canonical works here). I’m not that good. And that’s not deprecating, but the truth.
      I did not have an editor, but I think I had enough betas who were honest in the assessment of my work. One of my betas in particular is the one that I will sit and argue over the reasons I do certain things in the book. Sometimes she’s right (a lot) and other times she doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about. I lose those conversations more often than I win them so it’s helpful that I’m capable of being hard on myself. I have to be.
      Good books don’t happen to people who think they poop unicorns. They happen to people willing to look at their work and dismantle it if the need arises. Good books take time and patience; coffee and tears 🙂
      It sounds like your niece in law didn’t take her time, invest her patience, nor did she drink her coffee (or beverage of choice) and cry the allotted amount of tears.

      • 

        I like what Stephen Cannell says about writing books. It’s basically, you better pick one you like because it’s going to with you a long time. He says you don’t get to go on to another book until you finished the one you are on.

        I’m breaking his rule with NaNoWriMo because I realized I was circling and not getting anywhere. I’m hoping after the month away from it I know which way I am going.

        Oh Hades no, my family and my books? Oh Hades no. Most of them don’t read. Well, they read but they think books are a waste of time. I’m a throwback to Great Great Great [add a few more greats] Grandpa, Thomas More of Utopia fame. However he would be rather shocked at my subject matter. These kids. What are you going to do with ’em.

        I knew I was in trouble with her book when I asked a few simple questions about stuff that any good author/writer should have done or know and I got the blank stare. She claimed she had some wonderful people who were independent authors helping her and I immediately thought of the slush pile that Amazon gets because any author worth her salt would have told her what I was asking NIL. I don’t think she thought I knew what I was talking about.

        I felt like saying “Kid, I’m 55. At 13, I wrote my first Fan Fiction about Alias Smith and Jones before it was a Fan Fiction. I read my first book on writing when I a college freshman. You got to pay your dues. I’m still paying mine but now there is a genre for what I write and the way I was always headed in my writing.”

        To tell the truth, part of me really wants to shred that book to pieces and another part of me knows that the grief from it would not be worth it. I love my nephew dearly and she makes him happier than I have ever seen him in his life. Talk about a rock and a hard place.

        And if she realizes I gave my other sister’s book a 5 star review, NIL is going to explode. But Bev chews over every word. Her first rewrite is a rewrite of what should be a 3 pass not a first pass. She sends to Alpha readers then Betas and then editors. And she’s good. Really good. Classically good.