1 star = You must allow me to tell you how ardently I detest and loathe this book.
2 stars = I didn’t hate it, but I can’t honestly recommend someone else spend their time and/or money on it.
3 stars = I sincerely enjoyed it and recommend it, but there were some issues.
4 stars = I loved it, but it wasn’t perfect.
5 stars = You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love this book!
MY POLICY ON NEGATIVE (1-2 star) REVIEWS
If I cannot give a book at least 3 stars, my first choice is to decline to post a full review on my blog, but I will share my feedback with the author/publisher privately. I do this for three reasons:
- Out of respect for the work an author has put in, regardless of my assessment of the results.
- My full reviews take a good deal of my limited blogging time, thus I will never have enough time to write all the reviews I wish to and must, therefore, be choosy about those on which I spend my time.
- I know readers have a limited amount of time to read reviews as well as books. Thus I choose to use my modest platform to share the books I believe are worth a reader’s time.
Therefore, if I have committed to reading a book for the purpose of review yet find that I cannot give it more than two stars, I will first contact the author/publisher/book tour organization and inform them that I would prefer to decline to post my review on this blog. If they then request that I go ahead with the review anyway, I will do so with tactful honesty, giving it the one or two stars I feel it warrants and clearly explaining the problems I see.
I’ve seen you interact with some of these authors on social media. I know you’ve met some of them at writers conferences. How can you be honest if you know the author?
First, I don’t personally know as many authors as it may appear that I do online. Many times what you see online is as far as our “relationship” goes. Second, even if I do know an author well enough to consider him/her my friend, I won’t lie to them or for them. I also won’t boost my rating of their book to help them get better marketing or rankings elsewhere (which is as good as lying, IMO). Telling someone their work is awesome when it isn’t doesn’t help anyone. I am the kind of person who tells a perfect stranger that they have lettuce in their teeth. If my friend has lettuce in her teeth, why wouldn’t I tell her? No one improves if they think they’re already perfect. Honest criticism delivered tactfully and with humility is the best help I can give someone I care about. Loving honesty is God’s policy and it is my policy, too.
“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” – Proberbs 12:18
“The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.” – Proverbs 15:31
“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” – Ephesians 4:25
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” – Ephesians 4:29