Just as sports figures have player friends, actors have actor friends, it goes without saying, writers have writer friends. But, I said it anyway. I think that makes me a bad writer!! Well, that’s my topic, so even if it was bad writing, it was an excellent segue.
All writers are faced with the same problem when it comes to reviewing a friend’s work. What to do, what to do…if you don’t like it, or it’s just not good? Even if you think the book is okay…that’s just a three star rating on Amazon. Can you really give a three star and expect to remain friends? I think not.
Therefore, how much faith can we put in all those ratings? I think it’s safe to say a large portion, especially first reviews will be from friends or family. In my case, mostly friends. I couldn’t pay my family to read or review my work, except for two members and they only did because they’re in my will and was afraid I’d cut them out!
On the flip side of the coin, I never believe four or five star reviews given to my books if they come from friends or family. I automatically consider they’ve done it just to be nice. I love those reviews from complete strangers, because I know they don’t care if they hurt my feelings or not.
Also, the recommended review I got from Mid-West reviews was nice to receive. They have no personal relationship with me and no reason to lie about liking my book.
In the past few years, I’ve read books, that had I been honest, would have only given a two star rating. The writing was redundant. The story had massive plot holes. Way too much passive voice. More telling than showing and although, the writing may have been technically correct, the story was boring.
The thing that bothers me most about having to lie in a review, is that I really feel honesty would be helpful. Maybe not in a public review, but a private email telling them because of friendship, I gave them a four star on web-sites, but because I hoped to help them improve future novels, I really felt the book deserved less, and then list the reasons.
But, who am I kidding? Even that, said in private, would more than likely strain a relationship. It’s like asking someone if your butt looks big in a pair of jeans. Do you really want them to say…yeah, it does. Not likely.
Sometimes, I think it would be best to make a policy NOT to read friend’s novels. That way, the pressure is off. Then, I could read it without them knowing and if I loved it, leave a review. If I didn’t…no harm…no foul.
Once this blog is out, all my friends are going to be asking themselves…I wonder if she’s talking about me? Well, I’ll never tell, so don’t bother to ask. I value friendship above five stars, that’s why I lie in the first place.
What about you? Does it bother you to lie, or do you feel that’s your responsibility as a friend to be supportive?