A question for book bloggers, book reviewers, and authors

So yesterday there was a tweet thread from a wonderful book blogger/reviewer who received an email from an author stating this:  I screen shotted it so you could see the actual tweet thread)

This struck me wrong on so many levels that my head actually hurt. Talk about elitist. Now, I recognize the author ( to play Devil’s advocate here) is probably an indie author who has to pay for her books and wants to make money. If she gives out arcs that don’t have the ROI in terms of a “good” review or no review at all, she probably feels she is losing money.

You know what? Too bad, Madame Author.

If you don’t want to take the chance that you will get anything less than 5 stars, then you’d better write a 10 star novel. My guess? Not gonna happen.

Did you ever think the people who aren’t leaving reviews are trying to spare your feelings? That maybe your books are so horrible they feel bad for you and don’t want to leave bad reviews for fear of hurting your feelings? Or that maybe they couldn’t finish your lousy book and that’s why they didn’t leave a review??’

I get lousy reviews when I put up arcs, too. All authors do, even the ones who have publishing contracts with major houses and rake in oodles of cash every year. Every single person on the planet has an opinion and not everyone who reads your book is going to adore it. To state categorically that if you, as a book reviewer, don’t leave a high review you will be removed from further arcs is tantamount to bullying in my book, and you know what? I would never read an author’s work who stated something like that.

I use Booksprout.co and Netgalley for my arc reviews. On Netgalley, some of the reviewers can be downright mean spirited, but that’s the nature of the game. Recently, I realized that several people who requested arcs on Booksprout never left reviews and I wondered why, so for my new set of arcs I put up a statement that said, if you don’t leave a review I won’t authorize further books for you. I immediately took that statement down because I realized what I’ve said above. Maybe the people who didn’t leave reviews didn’t like the book and instead of giving a low review, they simply didn’t write one. Or maybe they haven’t gotten to the book yet since everyone reads at a different speed. Whatever the reason, I knew right away that was the wrong thing to say, so I took the statement down.

Too bad the author of the above statement didn’t think as quick as I did.

So I have a question for anyone reading this who reviews books or blogs about them: would you continue to read an author who said something as blatant as the above mentioned author did? What are your feelings about her/his statement? For authors, do you think the author had a valid point to stating what she did, and if so, why?

Inquiring minds ( okay mine! ) want to know.

Until next time ~ Peg



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31 responses to “A question for book bloggers, book reviewers, and authors

  1. As a blogger/reviewer, I would definitely take offense to having such a thing demanded of me by an author. As a reviewer, I feel I’m doing you a favor by reading your book and if I like it, writing a review. In truth, if I don’t like the book or find it to be a DNF, I won’t write a review. I don’t write reviews that might tear down a book because someone else reading it might love it. That’s not a fair thing to do.
    Now, as an author, I have given arcs a plenty without receiving a review in return. Part of me says ‘maybe they haven’t read it yet’, while the other part of me dreads to think they haven’t given a review but they hated it. Either way, I would never say to someone, ‘you can have an arc but only if you provide a review by such and such a date.’
    Although, as a reviewer, I have promised arc reviews by a certain date and will usually meet that deadline. If however, I don’t like the book enough to review it, I will write the author and tell them my reasons for not reviewing. I feel that’s only fair.
    I guess this is tough line to walk. Damned if you, damned if you don’t. However, personally, I’d rather err on the be nice side then be demanding. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peggy Jaeger

      Amy _ I agree 100% it’s always better to be nice than not. I DNF many books I receive to review because the subject matter either doesn’t appeal to me, or I can’t get behind the h/h/ or the plot. I don’t like saying negative things about other authors because karma is real and not everyone likes every book they read. That’s just reality. To an author it can be a startling one ( hee hee) that someone in the universe won’t like your words, but it’s a very real fact.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly. I totally believe there is a book for every reader and a reader for every book but the reality is that if we all liked the same things, it would be a very dull world. 🙂


  2. Peg, my first thought is what a pretentious person, but then, I kinda get what he or she means, though I think they did a dreadful job of communicating what I think the intent was. As authors we have all had people take ARC’s and say they will review – and don’t. Yep, some of them may be because they didn’t like the story, or perish the thought they might be readers who use the system to get free books with no intention of ever reviewing – how would you know? I once got a 1 star review because the reader was disappointed I write under my own name Stephen B King and he blamed Amazon for allowing it. He didn’t make any comment on how good, bad or indifferent the story was or how well it was written. As we know, it takes many, many hours to create a book – and its hard work that we authors do because it’s our passion. Sure we’d like people ti love it and review. Yes provide positive criticism, but don’t be mean and denigrate someone who put heart and soul into the project. Lord knows, we don’t do it for the money.

    For me, I’m happy to provide ARC’s and HOPE i get reviews, and if I do get some I further HOPE they are positive. But, either way, someone read my book, and that is why I write – hopefully to entertain.

    But if you offer your book to a reviewer, or blogger, you MUST accept the end result (or lack of it) because that’s the name of the game. If you can’t stand the heat….etc

    Liked by 2 people

    • Peggy Jaeger

      Stephen – – EXACTLY!!!!!! that’s exactly what I was trying to convey. The author COULD Have said what she meant in a much more blogger/reviewer friendly way instead of sounding so pretentious, but in the end, if she asks for reviews- which in essence are opinions, then she has to accept what she gets.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. mrsnnnlight

    Unfortunately, this happens more times than not. There are so many authors who ‘expect’ all five-star reviews and when they don’t get it from us, they scream bloody murder. Reading is very subjective and not everyone will love the author’s books. Look at the movie industry. for clarity. There are movie critics who love Tom Hanks’ new release while others hate it.

    If any author gave me an email containing the statement you screen-shot, I would NEVER read their books again.

    I wish authors were more professional. The relationship between authors and reviewers need to balanced and equal. If an author doesn’t like a certain review by a book blogger, reader or reviewer, then they need to ask themselves why. Is the subject matter, plot, characterization? Is it the author? Or is it just not a good match?

    At the end of the day, it’s about taking the good with the bad.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Jennifer Zander Wilck

    I completely agree. While I’ll never go back to a reader, reviewer, etc who pirates my book, they are free to leave any and all reviews–or not. It’s a privilege for me to have them read my book. What they choose to do with it is completely up to them, and I’m grateful for anything.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Nope. Wouldn’t get near that author.

    When I give review workshops, I talk about the value of the one-star review in particular. It’s actually not the worst rating you can get, and I talk about why, and what should be viewed as the worst.

    When I read book reviews, I only read the one- and sometimes two-star reviews. I don’t bother with the good reviews; they are generally not constructive and don’t reveal a book’s flaws, and I’ve picked up too many horrible books over the years. Give me the thoughtful but negative reviews anytime!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Peggy Jaeger

    Susan- that’s actually a pretty good way to get an accurate portrayal of the book from every aspect.


  7. Sandra Dailey

    Peggy, I’m in agreement with you and the others who’ve posted comments. There isn’t a lot I can add. However, I want to say I appreciate your post. It needs to be said.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. D.V. Stone

    Thanks for you’re post. I’ve reviewed quitr a few books but had some bad ones. I’d rather not say anything than leave a poor review.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. On most points, I do agree with you. You’ve made me pause a bit. I’ve been having trouble getting reviews, and I’d hate to think that I’m such a bad writer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peggy Jaeger

      Ilona I would bet a million dollars it’s NOT because you are a bad writer! hee hee.There are so many books out there on the market right now, it’s difficult for everyone to find readers willing to read and review. The market is glutted.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ilona, what Peggy said. As much as we would love everyone to read our books, there are just so many available that it’s unrealistic to think everyone will. Believe in yourself and keep writing. I know the majority of people who have read mine have loved them and clamor for more. That’s the best compliment and encouragement I can get even if I don’t sell many or get many reviews. One of the best compliments I could ever have received was from a reader who said she wasn’t much of a reader at all but she will read anything I write. That’s success. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This probably won’t make me very popular to say, but to a certain extent, I can understand the first part of that (taking a copy but not reviewing). There are so many unscrupulous people out there who game the system just to get free books. How do you protect yourself from that? I’d rather get a low-star review (or even one that simply says, “I couldn’t finish this”). I’m okay with one star reviews. Do we want them? Of course not. But they’re the reality. Reading is subjective. I’ve loved books a lot of people hated (50 Shades is one example) and hated books millions loved.

    The rest is honestly just rude. If someone’s taking the time to review my book, I happily take whatever their view is. Like someone else mentioned, I read the 1 and 2 star reviews (and almost never the 4 and 5’s) of books I’m thinking of buying. It tells me if there’s going to be something in it I know I personally won’t like (again, it’s all subjective). So by all means, even if they hated my book or it just wasn’t for them, leave a review saying so. As for the time frame part of that…you just never know what people are dealing with in their lives. I tell reviewers to take all the time they need (and have received reviews almost 2 years later).

    So yeah, I probably would steer clear of an author like that. Sadly, though, I’ve seen posts like that more than a few times.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You have a very good point, Joanne. Actually, I would like to see more of what someone has to say in the negative about my books. I recently got a review of the first four books of my series. She said she enjoyed them but didn’t particularly like my heroes, whereas she loved my heroines. I appreciated the review more than the ones where people said nothing in particular about the MCs at all. It’s how we learn. In one of the books, I didn’t particularly like my hero either but the world is made up of all sorts. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Ha! I can’t begin to tell you how many books I’ve given out as ARC’s etc in hopes (and praying) for a decent review and then not getting anything. Yet I would never ban or strike a reviewer for giving me their honest opinion or forgetting to leave a review, which has happened.

    Recently this summer, a reviewer who received an ARC did not connect with the story and my characters. She could not leave a review. I was actually delighted that she reached out to me explaining her reasons why. Does she want to continue reading my stories? Yes! I value these types of bloggers/reviewers.

    As an author, I can’t be so rigid with my rules. Even with my street team, I bend them. Good post, Peg!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Peggy Jaeger

      Mary, thank you. I think if all authors/readers/reviewers just took a breath sometimes before saying or writing something without understanding how it looks to others, things would be better and feelings wouldn’t be hurt as much as they are. I love my reviews – even the poor ones because it means someone actually read my words!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. StoreyBookReviews

    There are so many authors and books out there and everyone wants reviewers to read/review the book. I am sure I am guilty of taking a book without leaving a review. However, I like to think that I have gotten better about that especially when an author contacts me since I will give them a date when I will post the review. I am getting better about what I will agree to read/review or not.

    That said if an author sent me that in an email when asking to read their book I would graciously decline because I don’t need that kind of pressure. I don’t get paid for this (outside of receiving the book), so I tend to put up with less malarky.

    If I do read a book and it just isn’t grabbing me or there are issues, I will let the author know that either I can’t post a review or it isn’t going to be pretty (no 5 stars). I think all reviews should be out there because no all books are for everyone and constructive thoughts can only help the author if there were problems with the book.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I definitely wouldn’t. I am an author, but these days I mostly read others, and must confess that in although I accept books for review with the intention of reading them all, I often overstretch myself and can’t get to read everything I agree to. I hope I will, but at the moment I suspect I’ll have to live a very long life to manage to read everything I have accumulated, and that goes for books I’ve got from authors or through NetGalley, as well as for books I’ve bought.
    The rules in place for reviews of free copies, at least on Amazon, state clearly that a free copy is not give “in exchange” for a review and it’s the reviewers decision to review or not. I always add the comment that although I got an ARC, I “freely” chose to review. If I really hate a book I don’t write a review, but I try to warn authors about my timescale and tell them to send me a reminder if they haven’t heard from me, and send me a reminder. If I find something the matter with a book that I think is easy to sort out I will tell the author but won’t mention it on the review.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. joannacathrynlee

    “a wonderful book blogger/reviewer” – *blushes* You’re so sweet!

    This is a great blog post – you hit the nail right on the head for me and how I felt when I got the email.

    I can understand an author expecting a review of the book they’ve given for free. I can even understand asking for said review to be posted by a certain time (barring any unusual circumstances for the reviewer). But I just can’t understand why you would demand a review of your book be a positive one. Why doesn’t the author just write the reviews herself in that case?

    And I agree with the other commenters about the value of 1 star reviews – and the fact that even Nora Roberts, Stephen King, Willie Shakespeare (insert name of other ridiculously successful author here) will have some people who really don’t like their writing and will give them 1 star reviews.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Peggy Jaeger

      Yup. That was my point. I’ve gotten a slew of 5 star reviews in a row for a book and then a crashing 1 star stating that I’d written the wrong story for the book! Did I remember the 5 stars? Nope. The 1 star stuck with me. But after reading why the reviewer gave it one star, her words made sense and I just needed to pull an Elsa and let it go. Opinions are opinions and that’s what reviews basically are: someone’s opinion.


  15. jackbyrnewriter

    Hi Peggy, I agree, and thanks for the heads up in terms of what to expect. I am not at the stage of ARC’s yet still trying to find an agent, but if I self publish then i will definatly take your advice. A question though- would you have an unpublished novel reviewed? with the intention of either finding an agent, or self publishing at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Peggy Jaeger

    Jackbyrnewriter: First,thanks for commenting and YAY you’re a writer!!! love that. Now, you don’t need reviews for unpublished books buy have you considered BETA READERS of CRITIQUE partners? These are people – sometimes friends who also writer or read heavily in your genre – who will read your manuscript from an unbiased stance and offer comments, things that are unclear to the reader, or mistakes. BETA READERS and CRITIQUE partners are a wonderful way to hone your skills as a writer and make sure the words you are sending out in the universe of readers are clear, concise and understandable.
    Hope that helps! PS DON”T PAY FOR REVIEWS!!!!!!


  17. jackbyrnewriter

    Thanks Peggy, I have no intention of paying for reviews- and hope u dont mind if i get back to you when I publish.

    Liked by 1 person

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