To leave or not to leave an unfavorable book review.
I’ve read several blog posts of late saying that we shouldn’t leave unfavorable book reviews, especially if we’re authors ourselves. The contention is that with the very hostile conditions authors face today, we should be supporting each other, not tearing each other down.
So, my mom’s advice: if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
I’m not sure how I feel about this.
On the one hand, the current environment for authors is truly awful. Most authors are lucky for a book to payback all the costs of publishing it, and almost none make minimum wage on the hours they’ve poured into their work. There’s a lot of reasons for this, none of which are going away anytime soon.
In this environment, authors really do need to stick together. Combine that with the fact you could be having a bad day when you read the novel, maybe it just isn’t your thing, or any other reasons that could influence something as subjective as whether or not you liked a book, and I can understand the advice.
Yet, I’ve read books that are well and truly awful. They lack basic plot structure, or their plots are so full of holes Swiss cheese’ll hold more water. Flat characters, heroines too stupid to breathe, or heroes that are jerks. I read romance, so this is not really okay.
My personal “favorite” was the book where the heroine knew everything about everyone just by looking in their eyes (this was a historical romance with no magic), and she was always right.
Not really sure what the correct path is. On the one hand, I want to support fellow authors. I want them to keep writing so I can read their stories. I want them to be able to make a living at it.
But I feel like it’s disingenuous to only leave good reviews. If I only do that, then reviews cease to mean much as only those satisfied (or those paid to leave good reviews) do so.
I’m still torn on this.
How about you? Do you leave reviews for books you’ve read? It’s easy if the book’s good, but what if the book is really bad?