Friday, October 21, 2011

Help! What to do about review requests!

I've seemed to find myself in an awkward situation.

I get a bunch of review requests from authors that are more unknown and have very small publishers. I only accept the ones that I genuinely think sound good. Lately I've been trying to get through more of these review books but found that some of them are bad. Really, really bad and I don't think I can get myself to finish it.

So what to do about it? The authors asked so politely for my honest review, though who really wants to get bad reviews? Especially if the reviewer had a hard time getting through the first few chapters. Do you stop reading and pretend the request never came in the hopes the author forgot, or do  you write the bad review and feel guilty?

Anyone else been in this situation? If so, what did you do?

Right now, I feel about as guilty as Denver:


  1. Oof, I am stuck in the same situation as you. I have trouble turning down requests, though I am getting better, but the worst are the really hopeful and really nice indie authors who just send you a copy without asking first. When reading them, half the time I enjoy them and half the time I don't, and I don't have a clue what to do. If someone gives you good advice, please share!!!

  2. This right here is the reason why I hardly accept review copy requests from new authors!

    Half the time, I'm not interested in the book, period. The other half of the time...I just don't want to be stuck in a situation where the book sucks and I'll have to a) painstakingly finish the book and write a bad review b) stop reading and let the author know it's not for me.

    For some reason, these books are never good for me and just don't have the wow factor possessed by those published by big companies.

    My solution: Avoid altogether. As for you...if it's really terrible then it's best to let the author know that it's not your thing. Yes it sucks (especially when the authors are nice!) but it's better to quit ahead than to trod along and end up hating it even more. In the end, you'll have to write a very bad review and that's never fun.... Good luck! =/

  3. I treat requests from indie authors as if I am an editor. If I like the idea that the send via e-mail I write them back and tell them that I will read the first three chapters and tell them whether I am interested in reviewing their book. My time is far too valuable to be spent reading something I openly despise.

    Does that mean everything I review gets five stars? Absolutely not! I've given one and two star reviews to hugely successful books (Shiver and Twilight come to mind) and five stars to books published be comparatively tiny companies (5 stars to Kevin Craig's Summer On Fire comes to mind.)

    The way that I see it, the relationship between book bloggers and authors is a two way street. They are helping us by giving us (hopefully!) fabulous new things to read. We are helping them by giving them publicity for their product. If they are not going to be able to hold their end of the bargain then I feel no shame in saying "Sorry, but this is not for me."

    I would never flat out tell an author their book sucks. That's not my right. (And thank goodness for that, 'cause I don't want it.) But I am relatively fearless about being honest in how *I* feel about what I read, because I am always very clear, both with authors and with my readers, that I only believe my opinions should apply to myself.

    Anyway, that is my take on it. I get tons of indie requests (and to those I have accepted, thanks! I've read some stuff I've really liked.) And saying "No" or not responding if something isn't for me has certainly not kept them from coming in.

    By the way, I am also saying this as someone who is planning to publish a book in the (relatively) near future myself. Take that as you wish.

    I hope this is helpful. :) Have a great day!

  4. I find myself in a similar situation...and sometimes it is worse because I am reviewing for a PR company, so even though there is no monetary compensation (other than a free book) I find myself in a sticky situation when I hate the book, but am participating in the blog tour PROMOTING the book.

    I usually find nice things to say about the book during the blog tour but post honest reviews to all of the outlets. I figure helping to promote the book is different than recommending it to my readers. And if I hate the book, I am not going to put it out there that I love it, but I can help the author get the word out about it.

    Tough situation before...thanks for posting this!

  5. Admittedly I haven't found myself in this situation very often before, and when I have, I often take the less-than-professional approach of just not posting the review and hoping the author forgets about it. Thankfully, that hasn't happened in a long time...

    I hear that one of the best ways to handle a situation like this is to contact the author and explain, diplomatically, they you didn't like the book. Maybe say that it turned out not to be your preferred kind of reading after all, or some such thing, to soften the blow. Let the author know that you can still post the review, if they want, or else not post a review and let them lose out on some publicity. Leave the choice in their corner.

    One thing I have found helpful is if you think that somebody else might enjoy the book even though you didn't, say so and then offer to host a giveaway in lieu of a review. That way the author still gets their publicity and you get out of having to write a bad review for something. More than once I've come across books that aren't bad, per se, but just really turned out to not be my cup of tea, and usually in cases like that authors have been pretty receptive to PR substitutions.

    Or in a pinch, you can be blunt and contact the author and say that you found numerous plot holes and editing errors in the novel and that you might be willing to review a second corrected copy, but that it needs too much work for you to do it now. :p

  6. Although I don't have this problem, I'm sure there are quite a few bloggers out there who deal with this. What I've seen on other blogs is that for books they could not finish, bloggers call it a "Nonreview." After all, you can't really review a book that you can't finish, right?

    You could focus on the reasons why you started the book but why you couldn't finish it. If there was something that you did like about it, definitely point that out. Really though, I don't think you should be under any obligation to review a book that you're not enjoying. And authors have to realize not everyone is going to like their book. Good luck in making your decision.

  7. It hasn't happened with me much, I've been quite lucky with my review books, most of the ones I didn't like were bearable and I managed to finish, but I think the best thing to do if you really don't like it, is to message the author back and explain the book wasn't for you and ask them if they still want the review posted or not. Let them decide, some will want the publicity even if it is negative.

  8. Unfortunately, that's why I take a pass on most Indie authors. I hate that I've sterotyped them like that but, after too many bad experiences with bad novels, I stick with those I know I'll love (ie, reviewed by bloggers I trust) or from larger publishers. Sucks but it's true.

  9. first of all, oh my goodness Denver is wayy too cute!!

    second, I have been in the same boat you have and it is not a fun one. I made sure to put in my review policy that I cannot guarantee a review for every book that I take and that I will post my honest opinions. I used to have the hardest time saying no to review requests because the authors are just so nice! But because of a few books that I have just not enjoyed and had to force myself to finish, I have just become a lot more selective in what I say yes too. Ultimately it is better for the author to hear no up front then to get a negative review from me, (i think anyways)

    When I am writing about an author book that I didn't like, I do try and talk about some things that I did like, no matter how small and also link to some other bloggers that had positive reviews, if I can find it.

    Its a tough situation.

  10. Wow, there are a lot of good ideas from other bloggers.
    I would say contact the author and let her know that, after reading a few chapters, you discovered it wasn't something you were interested in. Offer to do a giveaway and post some links to positive reviews if you can find them, that way the author has a shot at a good review from someone else and still gets the publicity.
    Also, I really liked someone else's comment about having a policy posted on her blog saying that she reads the first few chapters before making any promises.

  11. I've had to turn down some books that I couldn't see myself reading either. If the synopsis doesn't look appealing to me, I don't accept it and tell the author/publisher why. i.e., it doesn't really fit my genre. When I do accept a book for review and can't complete, I will end up doing a review for it and state my reasons as to why I couldn't finish the book. If you accept a book and can't complete and don't want to write a bad review, you should probably e-mail the author/publisher stating that you couldn't finish the book and don't want to give a bad review. I always review books with my honest opinion, even if others don't agree. If you are getting a bunch of requests and don't have the time, you could always send an e-mail back to the author/publisher and give them a different blogger's name you trust that might have the time to complete a review. Hope that helps! :)


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