I receive a lot of review books, but I have never once told lies about the book just because I got a free copy of it. However, some authors seem to feel that if they send you a copy of their book for free, you should give it a positive review.
Do you think reviewers are obligated to put up a good review of a book, even if they don’t like it? Have we come to a point where reviewers *need* to put up disclaimers to (hopefully) save themselves from being harassed by unhappy authors who get negative reviews?
I think we all know where this question is coming from. No, I do not think that we are obligated to put up a good review of a book. I think every time the author sends their book out for reviews, they are taking a chance that the reviewers won’t like it; they are not paying for free positive marketing. I’ve heard that even negative marketing helps – now all those blog readers know your book exists and even if you don’t like it, one of them might like the premise for it – but none of this impacts what I say in my reviews. I say what I think.
I don’t have a disclaimer on my blog and I’m not afraid to give a negative review. I will be polite, however; I will describe what I did not like and I will describe what I did like. I recently read a book which I was dying to love, both author and publicist were incredibly nice and helpful, but I found something in it that I did not like. It would have been easy to leave that out of my review since I loved the rest of the book, but I didn’t, because it is my goal here to be honest and to help other people find great books to read. If my problem doesn’t bother them, that’s great, they should go read the book, but if it does, now they know it exists.
I’ve never been harassed by an author. I’ve been fortunate in that even when I do not like something, the author has never lashed out at me. And I get a fair number of review copies. I will continue to review books. I will not trash any of them; I will give each of them a fair shot. If I don’t like it, I’ll say so, but I’ll try to find the positive. If there is no positive, I don’t know what I’ll do, but I’d email the author before I wrote anything in this public space if I found the book to be absolute trash. I have read trash, but luckily none of it was sent to me for review!
What are your thoughts?