Whether or not fishing for reviews is a rampant problem or not, it’s something that I find terribly tacky. Reviews are a great tool for an author to get others to bite in buying their latest novel. Sometimes, in order to facilitate it, authors give free copies to people in the hopes of reviews–whether it’s a review site or close friend.
Are in lies the issue at hand–people who give favorable reviews because a) the author is a friend of theirs and they don’t want to get in a tiff, b) the author ‘demands’ a friend show loyalty be rating it high with a dash of OMG! It’s AWESOME! or c) your an author with the same publishing company and don’t want to piss them or the other authors off.
Today I shall cry foul to all three of my examples above in detail because each and every one of them grates on my nerves. It’s dishonest drivel that is putting up a false front.
Let’s start with A: They’re my friend and I don’t want to make them mad
Personally, a friend is someone that tells you the truth. Granted, it should be done with tact. In this case if you feel that your review can’t possibly be perceived is a good light, tell your friend in private that you cannot–in good conscience–review their book and tell them why in honest fashion. I had a writer friend get quite upset at me as I posted as I went on reading her book on Goodreads. Something I don’t bother doing anymore. In a tiff, I took it all down mainly because I didn’t want to hear it anymore from my friend. I valued the friendship and didn’t want it to end over something like a review. On the other hand, if she read something of mine, I wouldn’t be upset if the review wasn’t favorable. I always prefer honesty over getting my ass cleaned with a tongue, if you know what I mean.
B: You’re my friend, give me a 5 star rating
No, no, and no again. I will not give someone 5 stars because I have a personal relationship–in any way–with them. Please don’t expect it. I’m an honest rater and just as soon not put something up if I don’t like it. Please, friends, don’t take this as the reason you’ve seen that I’ve finished your book and not rated it. I don’t like to rush through my reviews.
Remember: I respect your opinion so please respect mine.
C: I should trend lightly or never get a contract or spoken to again!
This one is a little more delicate. I’ve read books from my various publishers and decided that if I don’t have high regard for a fellow author from them, I refrain from reviewing at all. One person treasure is another’s junk. Think of it as yard sales.
I like supporting authors but I’m not going to give a glowing review if it doesn’t warrant it–even if I get the book for nothing. Luckily, I haven’t come across that problem but some of my friends have. I applaud their tact in dealing with a less-than-favorable book.
Just remember this: A real friend won’t ask you to tell them that their butt doesn’t look fat in those jeans. A real friend will tell you to put on backup lights and shake that milkshake!