I'm torn. As a writer, I read tons and tons of books. I'm a reader too. Why can't I tell the world about the latest book I've fallen in love with?
I rave about the books I love.
I don't mention the ones I don't.
As a writer, penning a review will automatically put me in conflict. If it's a book by a friend, will I give it 5 stars no matter what? No. I recently gave a book by a friend 4 stars because - after acknowledging what a great book it was, I gave it 4 stars because I said that was more believable than a friend raving and giving it 5 stars.
Which is bonkers.
ON ONE HAND
I love books, and love sharing the love of those books with others.
after a while all my books on goodreads and Amazon show only 5-star reviews, so I look like I rave and shout about every book I read. Obviously, I don't. I read a lot of books that don't appeal to me, but I only end up reviewing the ones I love.
AM I DECEIVING EVERYONE?
Here we go round in circles again.
I don't 'slag off' books. Last year, I did give a book I was reading a less than stellar comment. My problem was that I made comments as I was reading the book, which is a dangerous thing to do. The comments started off glowing (as I fell madly in love with the book) and then tapered off into the "wait, what?" territory as the book took a strange turn and the structure, for my liking, fell apart.
Guess what happened? I got an email from someone in publishing saying how much they didn't appreciate the comments about a fellow author's book.
That made me feel like throwing up.
So then I removed every less-than-four-star review from Goodreads. I mean, I'm not a full-time reviewer, so it's not my job to review every book I read, right? So I stuck to only raving about the rave-worthy ones and didn't bother with the others.
THIS YEAR, Kate Cuthbert spoke at the RWA conference on the gold coast, recommending all authors to get off Goodreads. Why? Because we'd always be conflicted. If we only say nice things, we're not honest. If we only review the books we love, we're still not being honest.
BUT I STILL LOVE TELLING PEOPLE ABOUT BOOKS I LOVE.
So yes, I am conflicted. I'm going to have a bit of a think about this, because if every author stopped reviewing books on Amazon and Goodreads, I reckon half the reviews would disappear.
Authors hang out in writer circles and make friends with loads of other authors. It's impossible to be impartial. Personally, I like to help other authors out. If I like their book, I like to tell people about it. When they're a good friend and they've been wonderful ... sometimes their books just aren't for me. But I won't write a negative review because I want to still be their friend. Every author feels this at some point.
And I don't have time to read every book. Just because I haven't reviewed your book, doesn't mean I hate it. Honestly.
There are rumours aplenty that Amazon is going to remove author reviews. No absolute statement yet, but a few emails back and forth . . .
I'm human. When someone tells me I can't do something, it gets my back up and I want to do it. BUT, over the past year, I've come to realise that as much as I love books, I don't think I can review them any more. Not a proper review, per se. BUT, when I love a book, I still want to share the love.
I'm still working it out.
What do you think? Do you think authors should review books?
*update: Lordy lordy, massive typo in the headline. Can't even spell