This may sound paranoid, but I’m curious if other authors have this experience. Ever since I published my first novel, I find the thought of reviewing other people’s work intimidating. Mainly, I am afraid to post anything other than a glowing five star review for fear that the author will see it as an attack that requires retaliation.

The thing is that I am hard to please. I consider myself well-read, so the issue becomes:  the more I read, that harder it is going to be to knock my socks off.

In regards to fiction I’d score a book as such:

1 Star – Couldn’t finish it

2 Stars – Finished it, but it felt like work

3 Stars – Not bad, no annoying wording or typos, story was interesting enough

4 Stars – Three Stars + Some originality + couldn’t put it down

5 stars – Four Stars + Changed something about the way I look at the world

Now that I’ve been in the self-publishing game myself I know how devastating it can be to get a three star review, especially if the writer doesn’t have a lot of positive reviews to buffer its effects. So I find I only write a review if my conscience doesn’t have any reservations about giving the book in question a perfect score. This is troublesome, because how often does a book truly blow your mind?

Its probably a misplaced fear, but the truth is that making a spiteful enemy could have devastating effects on the business end of publishing.

Any other authors struggle with this?

One thought

  1. It’s a tricky slope to navigate. Especially if you swap books so you can swap reviews with another author, which I really try to avoid. But if you did trade reviews, what if you really don’t care for the book? Are you obligated to give it 5 stars just because you don’t want to be a creep to this other author? I dunno. It might be a lot easier to review when you have no connection whatsoever to the author. Or only review the books you enjoyed.

    I think if another author totally hated my books, I would prefer that they keep it to themselves. 🙂 But if they did post a scathing review, I would so not retaliate. I know it sucks, but bad reviews are just part of publishing, because not everyone is going to love your books. So always keep a huge supply of chocolate around. 🙂

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