15 April 2011

Friday Ramblings: DO YOU FAKE IT? Reviews and Reviewing

Earlier this week, Fiction Vixen had an awesome blog post about faking it. I saw the title of the blog post and clicked on the link. Of course, I knew the post wasn’t going to be out you know what. But I assumed it was going to be about faking reviews I think because that’s been on my mind a lot recently. However, her post was really about faking incidents in your life so that you have more time to read. Although I identified with her post, the hubster has long since realized that nothing is going to stop me from reading a book unless one of the kids are bleeding. If he complains I tend to just tune him out and keep doing what I’m doing. If I think he’s right, I’ll finish the scene I’m working on and stop and if I think he’s wrong, I’ll finish the book. LOL. My kidlets have also learned to wait until mommy finishes the scene she’s reading until I get up and get whatever they want (the only exception is death and bloody mayham). Sometimes they do tend to get impatient. For example, the other day I was reading and Chunk wanted me to get him another freeze pop (I had already got him one). I told him that he’d have to wait a moment. When I looked back up from my book, Chunk had dragged one of my bar stools to the refrigerator so that he could climb atop it and reach the freezer. Instead of being mad or shamed of my parenting skills, I was proud that the Chunk was so resourceful. Yes, I am totally a mother of the year candidate.

However, my post is not about that. My question today is have you ever faked a review or toned down your opinion of a book because you wanted to be nice and not hurt anyone’s feelings?

I’m asking because I recently reviewed a novel by an author who follows me on Twitter. My review was lukewarm (and by the way, I was not the only one who had a lukewarm review to this book). On Twitter I get messages when people unfollow me. Shortly after my review, this author unfollowed me. I’d be a fool if I assumed that this was just a coincidence. LOL. I wasn’t hurt by the author unfollowing me. I was actually amused. Of course, I couldn’t help but wonder if I said something not so nice (besides that I didn’t understand the characters and their motivations of course). I try not to be mean, after all, authors spend months on their work and here I am saying, I didn’t like it. Who do I think I am saying I didn’t like what took them months to create.

Well . . .. I am a book blogger/reviewer.

Also, I have this little problem with bluntness and speaking my mind, especially on a blog entitled, Lynette’s Two Cents. I don’t think I’m ever mean. I hope I am not. You can state your honest opinion without being mean. I will admit that when I review for other sights, I sometimes tone down my awesomeness and extra comments (e.g., I won’t say that the characters drove me crazy, but I will say I didn’t understand the motivation behind their actions because yada, yada, yada), but they are still my honest opinions and I always try to back up why I felt the way I did.

I know a lot of bloggers tend to do plot reviews and then just give a rating. Personally, those type of reviews don’t help me with my book buying decisions. I’m on a book budget. When I decide to spend money on a book, I want to know what you liked and didn’t like about it. And even if you didn’t like something that doesn’t mean that I won’t. I’ve bought books with bad reviews and loved them, I bought books with great reviews and hated them. It’s all perspective. Perspective to me is important and my perspective could be totally different than yours, but I’m never going to fake or tone my opinion to please anyone else. And if I don’t like something, I’m not going to avoid reviewing a book. The only time I really avoid reviewing a book is if I’m blah about it. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t like it and I couldn’t pinpoint what I didn’t like it.

I’m curious. Have you ever faked it? Why? If you haven’t, why not?

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9 people posted their 2 cents:

Jeffe Kennedy said...

I think we all have to do this. Especially as a writer reviewing other writers, some who might be good friends, this is a difficult line to walk. It's the "look for something nice to say" syndrome. But I agree - I find it quite disconcerting to read a review that sounds quite glowing and positive, to find 3 of 5 stars at the end and no indication of why. Doesn't help me as a reader at all.

Blodeuedd said...

There have been times when I have tried to be a little bit nices, so yes I have faked it. Cos I just feel if I didn't do it I would go all snarky

Karen said...

I have toned down some reviews - very few though and I still say what I liked or disliked but probably in a less snarky way than I have in other reviews.
I'm like you - "great book" in a review just doesn't cut it for me when I'm trying to decide what book to read. I want to know exactly what you liked or disliked and I will decide if I still want to read the book.

Lynette said...

Yes, that drives me crazy. You give someone 3 stars and don't tell what you didn't like! Why! I am weary of accepting review requests from people that I know or am too social with online, because I am afraid that I won't like their work. Their have been some online friends where I've had their books but haven't gotten the courage to read them because I'm afraid I won't like them. That's my way of avoiding the issue. LOL!

I do that as well, and sometimes I think I get really close to the snarky. Or if I'm snarky, I try to do it in a fun way and only to the biggie NYT Times books that I know my little opinion of not liking the book isn't going to matter because everyone is going to buy it anyway like to big authors such as J.R. Ward or Karen Marie Moning. LOL!

I think that's what authors don't get. Because even if they get a bad review, if the review is well written and well articulated, if that review intrigues me I would still get the book to see if my opinion clashed or was in line with theirs!

MamaKitty said...

I've totally faked it before. Several times. I actually faked it pretty early on in my reviewing career, but I still tried to focus on the positive. I might've been a little too snarky though, because the author no longer acknowledges my existence at all. It's now difficult for me to write anything remotely close to negative if I talk to the author on Twitter.

JenM said...

I have to admit, I used to be pretty judgemental about bloggers who never stated an honest opinion about the books they read (you can always tell because they "love, love, love" every book they read. I'm sorry but unless they have no taste at all, that's just not possible).

However, now I'm more sympathetic to that pressure. I win a fair amount of books and I want to give them a good review to help the author, but sometimes, I just can't because the book wasn't very good. I've settled on just not writing reviews at all if I don't really like them and I've stopped being judgemental of bloggers who never say anything bad about any book they read.

Yvonne said...

Yep, I've faked a few reviews. When I first started blogging, I was a little blunt too, but when I started getting review requests and joined a couple of review sites a lot of them got sugar coated because I was nervous about the authors checking out my reviews. I had it in my mind that if an author or publicist took time to notice me, I owed them a nice review. Eventually that mistake made me start seeing blogging as a job instead of a fun hobby. So now I'm revamping my review style and say what I really want to say whether it's favorable or not.

Kristie (J) said...

Good question. I like to think I've faked a review. That's one of the reasons I VERY rarely accept books for review. I don't want that sense of obligation I would have if I accepted them.
And I agree -just giving an outline and grade is cheating. I try and say what I like or don't like and why- without giving too much away.

Sarah said...

I wouldn't call it faking it but I have definitely toned down some of my opinions about books if I think I'm tending towards the more hurtful range. Or I'll wait a few days to write it in the hopes I have a clearer picture of what worked/didn't work for me so I can then go full out with my opinion.

Also... how do you find out if someone has unfollowed you?

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