I don’t write a lot of book reviews, but the ones I write are all four or five stars. Am I being paid? Are my reviews less than honest? Is there an understanding that the writer will reciprocate with a similar review of my work?
No, no, and no. As I stated, I don’t write a lot of reviews because I’m usually either working on a new book or promoting the books I’ve already written. I’ve never solicited nor been offered money for a review. My opinion of your book isn’t for sale. If I don’t like your book I simply won’t review it. I have no desire to hurt a fellow writer and, believe me, bad reviews hurt. I also don’t want to invite retaliation from the a vindictive author.
Let me be clear. The reviews I write are for indie and small press authors. These are writers who are struggling to sell their books and, with few exceptions, aren’t making a living from their work. Why would I want to hurt these people?
Many, if not most, reviewers will disagree with me. The reading public deserves a brutally honest review of an authors work even if it’s bad. The author can learn and benefit from criticism of his work. A few bad reviews add balance and enhance the credibility of reviews in general. See, I understand the flip side of my argument.
Reviews are critical to an author’s success; that’s why we beg for them. It’s also why we fear them. My heart jumps into my throat every time I click on a new review, knowing that in a matter of seconds I’ll discover whether the reader loved my book or considered it an utter piece of crap. If I write a review, the author has nothing to fear. It’s all good.