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View Full Version : Criticising a book - to the author



seun
10-21-2010, 05:09 PM
I recently read a book which I thought was pretty poor due to it obviously not being proofed properly and some generally weak writing. I posted a review on Amazon and someone who I now know to be the author commented regarding the proof read issue. They were polite, as was I, and I didn't think any more of it until I clicked their name and discovered they're the author.

Just for a second, I felt bad, but then figured there was nothing to feel bad about. I read the book, didn't like it and said so. Just because the author read my thoughts doesn't change anything and nor should it.

So, would you think twice about criticising a published book when you know the author has read your review?

Chris P
10-21-2010, 05:16 PM
My reaction would be similar to yours. I'm currently doing a book review for work. I've met the author and think very highly of him, but the book has some weaknesses. This makes me think twice about how I address these weaknesses. Interacting with the author makes it more real, and it's easier to be negative when the author is faceless. Maybe I should write all of my reviews as if the author will read them.

Phaeal
10-21-2010, 05:45 PM
No. If you crit in any major venue for reviews, like Amazon, I'd say the author is more likely to read your comments than not. Has probably been lurking forever, waiting for SOMEONE, PLEASE! to review his work.

If you're polite and can back up your assertions, you've danced your side of the dance.

seun
10-21-2010, 05:51 PM
I gave it two stars. There was one for three stars and a few other reviews at four and five stars. Within five minutes of my review, two people had voted it not helpful.

Looks like I'm in the minority for not liking typos and weak writing.

Matera the Mad
10-21-2010, 05:53 PM
I figure it's the same as doing a crit in SYW. If you're honest and not bashy about it, you're being helpful.

Phaeal
10-21-2010, 05:54 PM
Meh. Who can tell with Amazon? You just get your friends to write reviews and tag the negative ones as not helpful. Myself, I discount the highest and lowest reviews and pay the most attention to the mid-range reviews that demonstrate a real knowledge of the work through details and examples.

seun
10-21-2010, 05:58 PM
In his comment, the author suggested I contact the author (:D) for a reprinted, error free copy. I thanked him but declined. Good to hear it's apparently been reprinted after being properly proofed, but the original version shouldn't have been published in the first place.

ChaosTitan
10-21-2010, 06:06 PM
Any time you post a review online, chances are the author will be able to find and read it (Google Alerts is quite useful for that). Good or bad, as long as a review seems thought out and honest, I don't usually care. Reviews are for the readers, not the author.

It's just those reviews that rant and rave on the negative, and are so poorly written that you wonder at the literacy level of the reviewer and whether or not their internet access should be removed.... ;)

Ineti
10-21-2010, 06:08 PM
No need to feel bad. Everybody's a critic. You just happened to voice your criticisms. Writers need to develop a thick skin anyway, so if an author gets bent out of shape, it's their problem.

At the same time, I've read reviews that attacked the writer and not the book itself, which isn't cool.

Susan Littlefield
10-21-2010, 06:13 PM
You did the right thing, Seun. You gave an honest opinion on the book. It's good the author read the review, as well as commented on it. I don't think it was too smooth not revealing he was the author when responding to your review. Feedback is a great tool for writers. If the reader doesn't like the book, then that cannot be changed. But, if there is poor editing with error, that is something the author has control over.

seun
10-21-2010, 06:14 PM
No need to feel bad. Everybody's a critic. You just happened to voice your criticisms. Writers need to develop a thick skin anyway, so if an author gets bent out of shape, it's their problem.


He was fine about it - or seemed to be, anyway.

heza
10-21-2010, 06:35 PM
I'm not commercially published, but I post amateur fiction in a forum where I get a lot of reviews from drive-by readers I don't know from Adam.

I agree that after-the-fact reviews are for the readers, but as an "author," I appreciate the thought-out ones, even if they are negative. I hate "This suxorz!" and "idk, I don't get--what's gong on in what is happen this is not what I know I think I missed something its not work." But I really like the "I liked parts, but..." and then the reader lays out some fundamental flaws in pacing or characterization or points out weak areas in my prose. It's embarrassing as hell, but knowing those things helps. I can't fix what's already been posted, but I can keep these things in mind for the next thing I post.

I think it's important for an author to know how their work is being received, and you shouldn't shy away from being honest. Although, I do think we should always be respectful and polite in reviewing something, whether we know the author will see it or not.

Irysangel
10-21-2010, 06:36 PM
I wouldn't worry about it. I've seen authors go after people for commenting about books on Goodreads as well, demanding to know what they did or did not like if they rated something two stars.

Some people have no sense of boundaries. That shouldn't stop you from voicing your opinion about a book. You are welcome to hate or love any product on the shelves, and IMO, the moment the author sells their manuscript to a publisher, it becomes a product. I would not think twice about telling Dr. Pepper that I think Diet Dr. Pepper is vile. Other people love it. It just isn't for me.

The only time I have been upset about a review is when someone has attributed personal baggage to what I write. Like I'm an overly hormonal housewife in need of a good rogering because I happen to write about characters who have lots of sex. :)

ishtar'sgate
10-21-2010, 08:07 PM
I guess I'm the only chicken. If I know the author and enjoyed their book I'll give them a review appropriate to the level of enjoyment. If I hated the book of an author I know then I won't write a review at all.

Kitty Pryde
10-21-2010, 08:17 PM
I always cringe a little when someone posts in the "What YA/sci-fi/whatever book are you reading?" threads here on AW that they read a book by an AWer and they thought it sucked. It seems mean to me, but maybe the authors in question are thick-skinned enough to not mind :) If I read a book by an AW author and I don't love it, I don't say so here in the forum. I value internet friends over the need to review honestly I guess.

scarletpeaches
10-21-2010, 08:20 PM
This won't surprise you to know, but I've done it before, knowing the author would read what I thought of their book.

As for someone not liking a fellow AWer's book? Say it was mine, I wouldn't care one bit. If you spend time and money reading my book, you also buy the right to an opinion on it.

I think other people have the brains to know if it's a bashy review or "I didn't like it because..."

No author has the right to object to that. You can't legislate someone else's opinion.

Mr Flibble
10-21-2010, 08:26 PM
Pfft, people are allowed not to like what I write (as long as it's for an actual reason, rather than a perceived fault that isn't there say, but then I just shrug) so I'm allowed to not like what they write.

It might not be my cup of tea, or I feel it has a weak ending or whathaveyou, but I'm not going to say OMG I loved it if I didn't, and I don't expect otehr people to do that to me either. As long as they aren't rude about it. Kinda like taking a crit tbh. If there's constructive criticism I'll take it on the chin, and I expect other writers to do the same. Outright 'It just sucks' etc...not so good. Luckily I haven't had one of those yet, though I've had one or two 'ouch' comments. But those are the ones I look at to see where I coudl improve.

So yeah, as long as it's polite and reasoned, why the heck not?

happywritermom
10-21-2010, 08:47 PM
Be constructive and you'll never have to say you're sorry.
Write the positive stuff before you write the negative. End on a positive note.
No need to make up anything, but there must have been something that attracted you to the book in the first place and kept you reading through it.
Then, go ahead and give it two stars.
Anyone who really cares will read through your review to determine why you gave it two stars.
It's funny. I was heavily criticized on another thread because I choose to have my manuscripts professionally copy edited (strictly for grammatical mistakes and spelling errors; errors in time lines, names spelled two different ways, etc.) before submitting them. That's a good example of why I believe it's important (for me) to have my manuscript in the best shape possibly even though the publisher's own editors will eventually comb through it.
I am not saying everyone should do it, but if my name is on that book, I know that I am the person readers will criticize for any errors, not the publisher or the agent or some nameless editor somewhere.

aadams73
10-21-2010, 09:00 PM
It's not something I'm comfortable with, although I certainly appreciate that others feel (and do) differently.

On a professional level, it just feels like bad business.

You never know who'll be sitting next to you on a panel or at some other function. You never know who you'll be asked to blurb or who will be asked to blurb your next book. You never know who'll become an ally, who'll wind up an agency-mate, who will share an editor or a publisher. You never know who will become a friend in this business. One of the worst books I've ever read was written by someone I know and like (no, they don't post here as far as I know).

On a personal level, I don't like to make people feel bad. If I didn't like their book, chances are it's just me and whatever baggage I've brought along for the read, and no flaw in their writing or story. Maybe it just wasn't my thing. Maybe I read it at the wrong time in my life and it failed to resonate. So I'd rather say nothing.

At the same time, if I love your book, you'll know it.

As a writer, if you don't like my book, feel free to speak up. As long as you state your opinions in a well-constructed and thoughtful way, I'll respect that. If you just say, "I hated it!" I'll place you carefully and quietly in my "moron" pile. :)

scarletpeaches
10-21-2010, 09:01 PM
I'd just love it if someone was brave enough to email me privately to say "You suck hairy goatbitz!" :D

SPMiller
10-21-2010, 09:03 PM
Every writer lives in perpetual fear that I might choose to write about their book. And if not, they should.

Don't worry. I warn everyone who solicits a crit from me.

backslashbaby
10-21-2010, 09:06 PM
The author put it out there, so it's a product, yep. People have different tastes, so it's no surprise when not everyone likes something. If there were errors, particularly.

The author shouldn't really mind, anyway. Book are for the readers, not the author :)

Amadan
10-21-2010, 09:19 PM
I gave it two stars. There was one for three stars and a few other reviews at four and five stars. Within five minutes of my review, two people had voted it not helpful.

Looks like I'm in the minority for not liking typos and weak writing.


My experience is that negative reviews get more "unhelpful" votes than positive reviews, because people who liked the book are offended that someone else didn't, whereas people who don't like the book don't go around voting "unhelpful" everyone who liked it.

As for hurting the author's fee-fees: tough. I love it when authors cry (or even better, flip out at a negative review) and make fandom_wank. Do you think James Patterson or Dan Brown cries every time someone slags their books?

Kate Thornton
10-22-2010, 01:04 AM
Be constructive and you'll never have to say you're sorry.


Quoted for truth.

I welcome constructive criticism - believe me, I know where I think the book might be weak or need help, but nothing helps as much as another writer's viewpoint. And if there are typos, etc. WE NEED TO KNOW! My proof copy was a mess - the publisher has assured me all is fixed, but without another (millionth) reading, I won't know for sure - and I can miss 'em, too. If you find booboos, they can be fixed in the next printing - if there is one!

Lots of authors read their Amazon reviews. If you are constructive - and may I add polite - then you are a help. Isn't it what you would want if you were on the other end of it?

Kate Thornton
10-22-2010, 01:07 AM
As a writer, if you don't like my book, feel free to speak up. As long as you state your opinions in a well-constructed and thoughtful way, I'll respect that. If you just say, "I hated it!" I'll place you carefully and quietly in my "moron" pile. :)

Love it - yes!

whimsical rabbit
10-22-2010, 01:51 AM
Meh. Who can tell with Amazon? You just get your friends to write reviews and tag the negative ones as not helpful. Myself, I discount the highest and lowest reviews and pay the most attention to the mid-range reviews that demonstrate a real knowledge of the work through details and examples.

See, that's the thing with amazon. People use the helpful/unhelpful button to agree or disagree. Plus, I find that ever since the site introduced the 'comments' option the whole place has turned into some sort of yahoo buzz up or youtube or something. People just insult each other for their preferences. For me if you disagree with a review, just go write your own.

Also, it really puts me off seeing the author picking up fights with his/her readers (I understand this is not what the guy you're talking about did, but I've seen it happening myself ). If you can't take bad reviews, and sure, they're not always easy to take, just don't read them (unless you actually believe in ameliorating your writing).

You know, not too long ago I read this interview of this author, who said something like the people who don't like her work either have something against her, or they have low IQs. She's a best seller author in a small country, and her writing is actually horrible.

Pathetic. Really.

scarletpeaches
10-22-2010, 08:26 AM
So far I've had two PMs and two emails telling me I suck hairy goatbitz.

GVChamp
10-22-2010, 08:54 AM
Hell, I've told politicians to their faces that their policies are terrible. I don't see how critiquing an author's work would be any more intimidating if I am going to be nice about it. That's what people do, right? They're polite and considerate and have discussion about strengths and weaknesses.

kurzon
10-22-2010, 09:15 AM
I think any author who is surprised to receive negative reviews hasn't had much exposure to people.

A review which explains why it didn't work for the reader is always a good thing - it can even be a great positive tool for the novel, such as:


"This book really didn't work for me - a fantasy book which is all about politics and assassins and people being clever at each other just isn't a fantasy book. I like more magic, more fantastic creatures, and happier endings..."

That kind of negative review would help a book find its audience...

seun
10-22-2010, 12:02 PM
See, that's the thing with amazon. People use the helpful/unhelpful button to agree or disagree.


True. They might as well as change the question to do you agree with this review seeing as that's how everybody treats it.

HelloKiddo
10-22-2010, 04:33 PM
I believe there's nothing wrong with it. The author chooses to read the reviews, and they should be aware that there will be bad ones. And there will be bad ones. If there aren't bad ones that's a problem IMO. Any book worth reading is polarizing.

What I don't approve of is criticizing an author in an inappropriate forum. Like Laurell K. Hamilton, who claimed people came to her book signings just to trash her books to her face. I think that's mean and inappropriate. Trash them all you will, but there's a time and a place for it.

scarletpeaches
10-22-2010, 04:35 PM
Not to defend trash-talkers, but LKH does kinda bring it on herself. She bitches about people on her (typo-filled) blog, goes into way too much detail about her marriage, bitches when people ask personal questions, bitches about bad reviews, bitches about whatever one could imagine bitching about...

So it's kinda difficult to believe that she could turn around and complain about trash talkers when she's far from sweetness and light herself.

scarletpeaches
10-22-2010, 04:38 PM
Ugh. Jesus. You just made me go read her blog again and I saw this gem:
Artists seem to be divided in two main categories on housework. There are those who can’t rest unless everything is spic and span. This type doesn’t produce a lot of art, because domestic duty eats them up.No, Lauren. No. I see to the housework and I've still managed to sell three books in a five-month period this year. So speak for yourself.

Why do I do this to myself? I know everything she says will annoy me. Even though she's an artist. :rolleyes:

HelloKiddo
10-22-2010, 04:44 PM
LOL. Now I'm gonna go read her blog.

scarletpeaches
10-22-2010, 04:45 PM
Brace yourself for all the intimate talk of her marriage. Also, laugh at the irony of her banning personal questions and all criticism from her site forum.

CheshireCat
10-25-2010, 03:49 AM
In his comment, the author suggested I contact the author (:D) for a reprinted, error free copy. I thanked him but declined. Good to hear it's apparently been reprinted after being properly proofed, but the original version shouldn't have been published in the first place.


Well, here I'll have to side with the author. Publishers are cutting corners like mad; with my last book, I received more complaints than in my entire career about missing pages, typos, blacked-out pages, you name it.

None of that existed in the galleys I proofed.

So if the publisher is cutting corners and the quality of the actual book suffers, please don't blame the author. What we proof is not necessarily what gets printed. As for typos, about six people read my stuff before it's printed and bound and typos still creep in -- some I literally don't notice for years. It happens. If it hasn't already, it will happen to you.

Criticize the quality of the work, by all means, if you feel compelled to critique a book you've read. Offer your opinion. But typos -- unless we're talking about the really sloppy, self-pubbed efforts -- really are seldom the fault of the author. We're so immersed in the work that we see what should be there -- which is why publishers always have a totally "fresh" reader or three proof the work prior to publication.

Or, at least, they did before the economy tanked ...

Mr Flibble
10-25-2010, 04:03 AM
I see to the housework and I've still managed to sell three books in a five-month period this year. So speak for yourself.

Shh you're f*ing my alibi!

Mind you, I have two kids (3 if you include hubby lol) and that ain't ever gonna be tidy...not with my 'meh, there's not an inch of dust yet' approach. Kitchen and bathroom clean, if not tidy. There might be some of your clean clothes here somewhere...in..that...big pile of clean clothes?

scarletpeaches
10-25-2010, 04:05 AM
Shh you're f*ing my alibi!

Mind you, I have two kids (3 if you include hubby lol) and that ain't ever gonna be tidy...not with my 'meh, there's not an inch of dust yet' approach. Kitchen and bathroom clean, if not tidy. There might be some of your clean clothes here somewhere...in..that...big pile of clean clothes?Okay, I'll cop to the fact I haven't seen my spare armchair in weeks. I see to all the chores...except ironing.

Why yes, my furniture is a makeshift laundry basket. How do you do? :D

Unimportant
10-25-2010, 04:53 AM
Be constructive and you'll never have to say you're sorry.
Write the positive stuff before you write the negative. End on a positive note.
I don't quite agree with this. First of all, there are some authors who, no matter what you write, will take offense. Second, there is a difference between a critique and a review. The former is meant to help the author. The latter is meant to help other readers.

When I write a critique, yes, I try to be constructive and let the author know what worked, as well as what didn't work, for me. But in a review, written by a reader for other readers, I do not feel I have any obligation to help the author, nor would such comments be helpful to other readers. Instead I give my impressions of the book mostly with regards to how it fits my reading tastes, how it fits with the author's other works, and how it fits in the genre.

YMMV, of course :-)

BrooklynLee
10-25-2010, 05:25 AM
With online reviews (or really any review other than the one you give a friend in person) I would always assume that the author can and will read it. If you've got really constructive and well-thought out things to say, that shouldn't change your review. Not everyone likes every book, and anyone who writes a book needs to accept that. If you're the kind of reviewer who just spews nastiness for fun and pleasure, well, I figure you've got more problems than if the author reads what you wrote. :)

DancingMaenid
10-25-2010, 05:41 AM
So if the publisher is cutting corners and the quality of the actual book suffers, please don't blame the author. What we proof is not necessarily what gets printed. As for typos, about six people read my stuff before it's printed and bound and typos still creep in -- some I literally don't notice for years. It happens. If it hasn't already, it will happen to you.

I agree. It can be very hard to know exactly who's to blame for things like this, and even if the author was the one who initially made the mistake, the fact that it was never noticed/fixed (whether by the author or by the publisher) could say a lot about the publisher or the situation that the book was produced in.

For example, I've read some tie-in novels for TV/movie franchises that had horrible, "why didn't this jump out at them?" mistakes in them, but I had to wonder if maybe the writer was put under undue pressure to finish the book in time for the desired release date.

As for the topic at hand, no, it shouldn't stop people from critiquing books, but it's always good to consider that the author could read what you write. I try not to say anything that I'd be too ashamed of the writer seeing.

Of course, sites like Amazon are impersonal and are designed to allow people to give reviews. I think it's different when you're actually interacting with an author personally. I wouldn't offer any critiques of someone's writing unless they asked for it or I was in a position (like being their editor) to give it.

defcon6000
10-25-2010, 05:50 AM
I gave it two stars. There was one for three stars and a few other reviews at four and five stars. Within five minutes of my review, two people had voted it not helpful.

Looks like I'm in the minority for not liking typos and weak writing.
I'm in the same boat. I wrote a review, which I thought was fairly constructive critique of the author's work (I gave it 2 stars) and got 8 helpful votes out of 22. :D

You cant go wrong with constructive criticism, you built an argument on why this author's work isn't so great. They can take it or leave it from there. I really don't mind saying what I think about an author's work, so long as I have my anonymity as I don't want some spoiled sport author tracking me down.

K1P1
10-25-2010, 06:19 AM
My favorite Amazon review of one of my books was the one that panned it because the Kindle edition it wasn't in color. :P

seun
10-25-2010, 03:08 PM
Criticize the quality of the work, by all means, if you feel compelled to critique a book you've read. Offer your opinion. But typos -- unless we're talking about the really sloppy, self-pubbed efforts -- really are seldom the fault of the author. We're so immersed in the work that we see what should be there

I definitely agree with seeing what we think should be there. It's only a couple of years ago I discovered the benefits of reading a book aloud to find the mistakes that don't appear when reading them on screen or on paper. As for my review and the typo issue, I didn't slate the author for them but as they affected my enjoyment of the book, I had to mention them in my review. The generally poor level of writing was a bigger issue. As I said in my review, I can see the author improving with another book but for this one, it read like a first draft.

shaldna
10-25-2010, 03:37 PM
There's a difference between critcising a book and bashing it, and so long as you remain respectful then you have nothing to feel bad about

seun
10-25-2010, 03:45 PM
There's a difference between critcising a book and bashing it, and so long as you remain respectful then you have nothing to feel bad about

Yep. I basically said the same stuff I would say here in SYW.

whimsical rabbit
10-25-2010, 03:56 PM
Okay, I'll cop to the fact I haven't seen my spare armchair in weeks. I see to all the chores...except ironing.

Why yes, my furniture is a makeshift laundry basket. How do you do? :D

My office is our spare room. My desk lives in harmony with my ironing board, a bunch of airers, and various unironed clothes decorating them all. I find this quite arty to be honest.

Plus, I never do all housework in one day. I keep the house nice and clean but work happens over different shifts during the week. Plus, I got a nice dishwasher as a wedding present (I'd say marriage makes your life easier :D), and got rid of the most annoying task ever (now I only need a robot to dust my thousands of books and bits and pieces that are spread all over the furniture).


There's a difference between critcising a book and bashing it, and so long as you remain respectful then you have nothing to feel bad about

Completely agree. :Clap:

citymouse
10-25-2010, 04:22 PM
Some people will like your work and some won't. Some will be kind and some won't. As an author, you put your work out and take your chances. My books get good reviews and mixed reviews. As far as I know, I have only one person who has a personal issue with me and he has refrained from reviewing my books, although I learned via the grapevine that he has read them all. Go figure.
There are some people who will not write a negative review and others who seem to enjoy doing so. If someone gives me a mixed review on amazon, I look up their other reviews. Most of the time I see that the reviewer has issues with nearly everything.
C
I could never be satisfied with just the approval of the critics, and, boy, I've certainly had to be satisfied without it. ~Norman Rockwell

Amarie
10-25-2010, 05:38 PM
I recently read a book which I thought was pretty poor due to it obviously not being proofed properly and some generally weak writing. I posted a review on Amazon and someone who I now know to be the author commented regarding the proof read issue. They were polite, as was I, and I didn't think any more of it until I clicked their name and discovered they're the author.

Just for a second, I felt bad, but then figured there was nothing to feel bad about. I read the book, didn't like it and said so. Just because the author read my thoughts doesn't change anything and nor should it.

So, would you think twice about criticising a published book when you know the author has read your review?


You shouldn't think twice. I assume the reviews of my book are for potential readers, and since I can't do anything to change the book at this point, I try not to let the reviews affect me. I don't love every book I read, and I assume not everyone will love mine. For my mental health, it's better just to concentrate on the next book.

jana13k
10-25-2010, 06:07 PM
I don't even read my reviews. I hear about the big ones (RT, etc.) from friends or my editor, but I don't go looking for them. Amazon, b&n, etc. reviews are absolutely useless to an author, IMHO, because you have no basis for receiving the information. Essentially, I only take writing advice from people I know who I am sure of 1. know what they're talking about and 2. their only intent is to make me better. You don't know either of those about a stranger on the Internet.

I had a "fan" email me once on my last series saying she hated it and hoped I got "fixed" so that I could write a great book again. But yet, that series has been my best seller and garnered movie interest. The reality is, unless the writing itself is poor - and let's face it, mostly only other writers notice that - then some will like your stuff and some won't. That's why there's blue cars and brown cars. Because we're all different.

I have never read the LKH blog. Might have to go see the fray. I kinda agree on the housecleaning thing, though. At least in my case. I also work full time and write 2 books per year plus proposals and freelance writing. I hired a maid a long time ago or things would have gotten dire.

Satori1977
10-25-2010, 06:22 PM
As long as you are honest and respectful in your crit, I don't see the problem. The people that bash and author and it takes on a personal note, they are going way too far.

I once had a conversation with an author on her site. I love her books, but one of them had some errors. She was writing about a profession that I actually had, so I felt the need to say something to her. I was very nice to her, and made sure to list all the wonderful things I loved as well. She wrote back to me, and it was cery gracious and appreciative. We talk every once in awhile now.

As for LKH, don't get me started on her. I loved her AB books when they first started. It was the first UF I had ever read, and got me into the genre. Don't like her books anymore, don't like her attitude (she once wrote in an article how she pretty much invented the vampire genre how it is today, and claimed SMeyer stole ideas from her), and I don't think I would like her as a person.

shaldna
10-25-2010, 06:27 PM
I hired a maid a long time ago or things would have gotten dire.


I can't afford to hire a maid. I'm marrying one instead

scarletpeaches
10-25-2010, 06:37 PM
I would seriously consider moving to a smaller flat if I didn't have so many books, so I'd have a smaller 'territory' to keep clean.

whimsical rabbit
10-25-2010, 06:51 PM
My husband's a screenwriter. His books dominate the ground floor, mine the first. Funny enough, we ordered two additional bookcases only yesterday...

To be honest, I love having books lying around all over the place. It's indicative of who we are.

citymouse
10-25-2010, 08:28 PM
My idea of cleaning a room is sweeping it with a glance. ~Anonymous ( I think)
C

Phaeal
10-25-2010, 09:04 PM
One of the best things about e-readers is you only have one object to dust, not thousands. And if you read on it enough, the dust doesn't get a chance to accumulate.

Of course, I'm still buying paper and keeping the thousands I already have. :D

SafetyDance
10-26-2010, 01:20 AM
I have absolutely no problem criticising work (did used to be a teacher, mind :P). I am a fair bit more polite to the unpublished authors, though. If I pay for a book, I expect quality -- and if I don't get it then I speak up. It's a shame you can't send a book back in the same way you can a badly cooked steak...of course writing is subjective, but there'd still be a lot less drivel on the market. I think the one bad thing about the growth of epublishing is that on the whole, the smaller publishers are setting the bar rather low. I'm surprised such drivel could ever be approved.

Jamesaritchie
10-26-2010, 08:04 PM
I recently read a book which I thought was pretty poor due to it obviously not being proofed properly and some generally weak writing. I posted a review on Amazon and someone who I now know to be the author commented regarding the proof read issue. They were polite, as was I, and I didn't think any more of it until I clicked their name and discovered they're the author.

Just for a second, I felt bad, but then figured there was nothing to feel bad about. I read the book, didn't like it and said so. Just because the author read my thoughts doesn't change anything and nor should it.

So, would you think twice about criticising a published book when you know the author has read your review?

I can't think on anything more useless than criticising a book on Amazon, or pretty much anywhere else, no matter who reads the review.

A book I love may be worth commenting on, but my time is far too valuable to waste any of it commenting on a book I don't like.

Amadan
10-26-2010, 09:14 PM
I can't think on anything more useless than criticising a book on Amazon, or pretty much anywhere else, no matter who reads the review.

A book I love may be worth commenting on, but my time is far too valuable to waste any of it commenting on a book I don't like.

Some of us (far less important personages than yourself, obviously) like to share our opinions with fellow readers, because a well-written opinion, positive or negative, may help us decide whether a book is worth checking out.

seun
10-26-2010, 09:49 PM
I can't think on anything more useless than criticising a book on Amazon, or pretty much anywhere else, no matter who reads the review.

A book I love may be worth commenting on, but my time is far too valuable to waste any of it commenting on a book I don't like.

Funny. I can't think of anything more useless than being obnoxious for the sake of it.

Cyia
10-26-2010, 11:09 PM
I can't think on anything more useless than criticising a book on Amazon, or pretty much anywhere else, no matter who reads the review.

A book I love may be worth commenting on, but my time is far too valuable to waste any of it commenting on a book I don't like.

If a bad review (the thought out and specific kind, not "this sux") keeps someone from blowing money on a sub-par novel, then it's not useless. If a book isn't up to professional standards, is unedited, has an unsatisfying conclusion (which is an opinion, but no less valid), or veers sharply from the perception of the book's plot, then why not spend a couple of minutes saying so? It's no less pointless than hanging out on a message board where people share information.