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thothguard51
01-08-2012, 03:18 AM
As the title suggest I have a dilemma and I am not sure how to handle.

Since getting my Kindle Fire back in November, I have ordered several books by Awer's. Some I have paid for and some I have downloaded because they are free. Most of the free one's are from self published authors, or very small start up publishers. So I have a pretty good mix...

Now, here is the problem...

I see a big disparity in the editing between authors who are published by well established houses and authors who either self published or went with a small, or new publisher.

I think anyone who has read my comments in SYW knows that I don't pull punches. I tell it like I see it, even though I will also remind the posters this is just my opinion. If I like the work, I will tell you. If I find lots of problems, I don't beat around the bush.

But with these books I have ordered on Kindle, I am at a loss on how to approach the authors of the books that I feel were lacking in professional editing. I have problems with PoV's, passive construction in the middle of an active scene, missing words, words in sentences that are obviously left over from previous versions, and I won't even touch on punctuation or formatting.

I feel I owe the authors something, especially those who put the books up from free, but I just can't bring myself to leave a comment on Amazon that is negative to those authors who are members of AW. I mean the book is already published and the damage done, so what is the point?

Generally, I have no problems leaving positive or negative comments if the book deserved them. But this feels different to me since these writers are a part of the AW community and I do not want to leave any comment that could affect their sales.

I know, I know, I should perhaps worry more about the next buyer and warn them what they are getting into. Normally, I would, but this feels different...

Now, to be fair, I want to note that in some cases, even with the problems, I found the story entertaining, but it would have been so much more if the editing had been better. Some though, I could not even finish for one reason or another.

Does anyone else, feel this way? Am I off base or am I wussing out?

Eternal
01-08-2012, 03:29 AM
I agree to be honest, and I think it correct. If this is a community you feel part of, then naturally fellow members should be shown a certain amount of respect. It is easy to be straight talking to the person whilst within the community, but I would never dream of doing it outside of it, just as i would never dream of criticising a friend in front of strangers.

I don't think your wussing out at all, and maybe there is no direct way to deal with every self publisher, but i am sure just putting things up on here, either relating to the specific books, or more general, will start raising a bit of awareness and improve the situation somewhat.

I am planning on self publishing a book next month, more for the experience than anything, but I will e-mail it to you first for you to proof read. ;-)

Drachen Jager
01-08-2012, 03:33 AM
This is why I, and frankly most of the book buying public, do not buy self-published books. It is why self-publishing will always be a niche market. My wife occasionally buys books for our kids on Amazon from small publishers based on good reviews and they've almost inevitably been unreadable trash (though to be fair, I have encountered big 6 books that were unreadable (but well edited) trash as well).

happywritermom
01-08-2012, 03:43 AM
I used to feel the need to buy people's books because I "knew" them.
No more.
Too often, I've encounter what you describe, particularly when they've been self-published or published by very small, nonestablished presses.
One author's book was out of print, so I tracked a used copy down for $1. Turns out, the copy was a signed one given to someone named in the acknowledgments. Even she couldn't stand it. It was so bad, I threw it away when I finished and I had never before (and have never since) thrown away a book.
Email them, if you must, with corrections because they can fix those problems and republish their novels.
But, otherwise, I would just chalk it up to a lesson learned.
Your time is valuable and you need to fill your head with the good stuff.
Stay away from self-published books unless you have reason to believe they are good (e.g. You've come to know the author's writing through SYW, others have given it high praise, it's somewhat high in the rankings, the preview really pulls you in, it's a traditionally established author wo decided to self-publish).

Al Stevens
01-08-2012, 03:47 AM
thothguard51, tread carefully. I know you don't pull punches, but that's when you're in an organized, sanctioned bout in an arena called SYW.

Some people don't like to be told they've uploaded a book with errors. They just don't like it, your good intentions notwithstanding.

E-books, even published ones, are easy to repair. Bruised egos are not.

If you do it, my advice is to use PM to keep it out of the semi-public eye. But expect to be received like an unwelcome guest.

ETA: BTW. it's "dilemma." :)

thothguard51
01-08-2012, 03:52 AM
To to be clear, it was not just self published I found problems with. The latest one I have a problem with is a new e-publisher, opened about a year ago. Their contracts look good and their site is geared towards readers, not writers, but the editing is lacking, IMO. And I know the AW member worked hard on this book...

I have read books from the big six that I have found problems with but most of those problems are not editing per se, but about styles that I did not care for. So I know the difference between a style issue and a poorly edited book.

Just to be clear...

thothguard51
01-08-2012, 03:56 AM
thothguard51, tread carefully. I know you don't pull punches, but that's when you're in an organized, sanctioned bout in an arena called SYW.

Some people don't like to be told they've uploaded a book with errors. They just don't like it, your good intentions notwithstanding.

E-books, even published ones, are easy to repair. Bruised egos are not.

If you do it, my advice is to use PM to keep it out of the semi-public eye. But expect to be received like an unwelcome guest.

ETA: BTW. it's "dilemma." :)

Understood... and thanks for the catch on dilemma... fixed.

Al Stevens
01-08-2012, 03:58 AM
This is why I, and frankly most of the book buying public, do not buy self-published books. I'm sure you know how to tell from an amazon listing whether a book is self-published. But do you really think the book buying public does? And how many readers buy books based on the publisher anyway?

Eternal
01-08-2012, 04:03 AM
Al Stevens: Previous to thinking about publishing my own stuff, i never considered the publisher when buying a book, I purely judged it on the synopsis and the customer reviews.

thothguard51: I thought delima was deliberate, due to the subject of the post, and there was me thinking you were a comedy genius.

thothguard51
01-08-2012, 04:08 AM
thothguard51: I thought delima was deliberate, due to the subject of the post, and there was me thinking you were a comedy genius.

Wish I could take the credit but sadly admits to not rereading before hitting the send button, like so many self published authors do...

Hangs head in shame...:cry:

bearilou
01-08-2012, 04:25 AM
But do you really think the book buying public does?

*raises hand*

I also realize that I'm not representative of the buying public.


And how many readers buy books based on the publisher anyway?

Again, realizing that I'm not representative of the buying public, I do consider book purchases carefully and one of the things I check is the publisher. I'm more apt to purchase a book from the big 6, than a small epub; I'm more apt to purchase an epub before a selfpub.

I will also say that when I buy books from epublishers, I usually do so directly from the epub site, rather than Amazon or any place like that. In that regard, I already know who the epub is and am making my purchase based on that fact. The fact that I trust the epub to have a higher quality editing job on the book I'm purchasing.

But on Amazon, I do check publisher and consider carefully if I can see that it is selfpublished, utilizing the read the first chapter free function extensively.

Um...and I said all that and didn't answer Thoth's question. I wish I had an answer but too many times I've seen well meaning reviews and comments blow up and considering this does affect some AW writers...you just never know how someone is going to respond, even if they give assurances they can 'take it'.

Stacia Kane
01-08-2012, 04:36 AM
I see a big disparity in the editing between authors who are published by well established houses and authors who either self published or went with a small, or new publisher.



As Drachen Jager said, this is pretty common.






But with these books I have ordered on Kindle, I am at a loss on how to approach the authors of the books that I feel were lacking in professional editing. I have problems with PoV's, passive construction in the middle of an active scene, missing words, words in sentences that are obviously left over from previous versions, and I won't even touch on punctuation or formatting.

I feel I owe the authors something, especially those who put the books up from free, but I just can't bring myself to leave a comment on Amazon that is negative to those authors who are members of AW. I mean the book is already published and the damage done, so what is the point?

My bold; that's you answering your own question. :)




Generally, I have no problems leaving positive or negative comments if the book deserved them. But this feels different to me since these writers are a part of the AW community and I do not want to leave any comment that could affect their sales.

I know, I know, I should perhaps worry more about the next buyer and warn them what they are getting into. Normally, I would, but this feels different...

And honestly I feel it is a bit different when it's a friend, online or otherwise. I don't think there's anything at all wrong with refraining from negative comment in order to spare a friend's feelings.





Does anyone else, feel this way? Am I off base or am I wussing out?

I can only give you my perspective on this, and of course others may differ.

There's a difference, first of all, between issues which can be fixed and those which can't. For a self-published book on Kindle etc., where it is possible to make changes, it *might* be worth contacting the author and saying "I bought TITLE and was enjoyed it, but I noticed a couple of typos/misspellings. I'd be happy to tell you what they are if you're interested."

I say *might* because frankly, if they've published a book that loaded with errors, they either don't care or lack the ability to "see" the problems you're presenting. And because they didn't ask you for feedback so it can be seen as presumptive to give it.

And to be perfectly honest, I don't see the point in "constructive criticism" of already-published work. It's published; it's out there. What do you hope to accomplish, really?

I had someone contact me regarding a formatting problem with my self-pubbed BE A SEX-WRITING STRUMPET book (which is a collection of blog posts on writing sex scenes). I couldn't see the problems they mentioned--when I looked at the file on Amazon it looked fine--and they were the only person who mentioned that particular issue. And quite frankly (and I mean no offense to the person who contacted me, I honestly don't) given that the book has sold several thousand copies at this point and no one seems bothered by a minor format issue--if it exists for everyone and wasn't just a fluke--I didn't see the point in running around the internet deleting and replacing files, making the book unavailable for several days.

Perhaps that's horribly lazy of me, but it's true.

As far as my pro-published books...there's nothing I can do to "fix" whatever problems people might have with tone, pacing, word usage, characterization, or whatever else, so I don't see the point in contacting me--or any other writer--with those. It's too late. And honestly, the published version of the book is the best I can do. Yes, I don't tend to reread my own published work because all I see are the flaws and little mistakes, but at the time, with the time I had, it was the absolute best I could do, as close to perfect as I could get, so feedback of that type just elicits a sort of, "Okay, and what would you like me to do with this?" reaction. (This is also one reason why I think writers who claim they want "constructive" reviews they "can learn from" are full of crap, too, and why I believe reviews are solely for readers and readers only.)


I don't know how well you know these particular people, and that certainly makes a difference, of course. But in general I don't see what the point is in contacting people uninvited to tell them what the problems are with their published books. It's not wussing out, it's simply being tactful.

If they ask, of course, that's an entirely different thing.

I hope that helps.

Kweei
01-08-2012, 04:53 AM
I agree with what Stacia is saying. At this point, what is done is done. If there are fixes that can be made to help the book - typos and the like - then I don't think there is a problem with telling the author that, especially if you phrase it in a way where you show you want them to succeed.

Of course, it depends mostly on the person. You could say more to a person you might have a close relationship with or someone you know can handle it. And I think it's fine to tell an author what was a strength you found.

jjdebenedictis
01-08-2012, 06:04 AM
I am at a loss on how to approach the authors of the books that I feel were lacking in professional editing. I have problems with PoV's, passive construction in the middle of an active scene, missing words, words in sentences that are obviously left over from previous versions, and I won't even touch on punctuation or formatting.When someone asks you (or all comers) for a critique, such as in SYW, then you've formally been invited to give one and I see no problem with you being both thorough and blunt.

If they haven't asked for your opinion, however, then I don't think you should presume to give them one spontaneously. Yes, they should be interested enough in self-improvement to hear your comments, but that doesn't mean they are. Ambushing them with a negative critique could shock a graceless reply out of them.

After a book is published, you can give a review, but that's for the benefit of readers, not the writer. You're quite correct that a review on Amazon is not the place to try to give the author a critique.

As others have suggested, you could email or PM the author and say, "I found some typos in your book, [X]. Since it's electronically published and you can fix issues like that, would you like me to send you a list of what I found?"

Then wait for permission to do so. If they're interested, you'll hear from them. If not, the matter should blow over with a minimum of hurt feelings.

And I'd suggest staying away from things that are not easily fixed, like plot holes. Just keep to housekeeping issues, like punctuation, spelling, and those sentences that obviously weren't supposed to be there.

thothguard51
01-08-2012, 06:29 AM
I am not too concerned about contacting the writer to see if they are interested in having me send them a list of issues I found. I feel like it is what it is since the book has been published.

I am more concerned about the few AW members who have asked me to post a review on Amazon, if possible. None demanded a review in exchange for the book, but the pressure was still applied by the asking, or so I feel. I have given those I found enjoyable good reviews followed with 3 and 4 stars. But these others, I don't want to offend a fellow AWer in public so I have yet to give a review.

This is where I have the dilemma. I am rather stingy with how many stars I give a book. Three stars to me means, average, anything below that is a sub-par book IMHO and I don't want to offend a fellow community member, or start a flame war...

Al Stevens
01-08-2012, 06:41 AM
I am the reader who contacted Stacia about formatting issues in her e-book. I observed them on my Kindle, the Kindle app on my iPad, and Kindle for PC. They were prominent, and I would not have wanted to have published that way. I did not mention it publicly, but kept it to a private PM.

I thought I was being helpful since it is easy to fix such glitches in e-books even after they have been published. I didn't think she'd want the problem to go unaddressed.

It seems from her comments above that however she is reading the book does not expose the problems or that the formatter of the book has corrected them.

Foliowing is a screen shot of a page from the e-book

ETA: given here only to point out that I am not nuts or dyslexic or anything.

Observe that paragraphs are neither indented nor separated with a blank line. Quite often the beginning of a paragraph is unclear with this format.

Observe the tokens *H/h. There is no explanation of them. I can only assume that they are some kind of meatgrinder translation of a bullet character.

ETA: Maybe this doesn't matter. I'd want to be told.

And, oh yeah, it's a very good book.

http://www.alstevens.com/covers/wndw.jpg

jjdebenedictis
01-08-2012, 06:51 AM
I am more concerned about the few AW members who have asked me to post a review on Amazon, if possible. ...

This is where I have the dilemma. I am rather stingy with how many stars I give a book. Three stars to me means, average, anything below that is a sub-par book IMHO and I don't want to offend a fellow community member, or start a flame war...My own opinion is that your review is for readers, and you owe it to readers to be completely honest. Otherwise, you're helping perpetrate a fraud (one that genuinely bilks customers out of their money.)

If you're worried the author might take it badly, then don't post the review--although honestly, I think authors who argue with reviewers are bullies. Attempting to silence critics in order to sell more units of your shoddy product is fraud.

Obviously I have strong opinions on this subject. :)

Stacia Kane
01-08-2012, 07:05 AM
I am the reader who contacted Stacia about formatting issues in her e-book. I observed them on my Kindle, the Kindle app on my iPad, and Kindle for PC. They were prominent, and I would not have wanted to have published that way. I did not mention it publicly, but kept it to a private PM.

I thought I was being helpful since it is easy to fix such glitches in e-books even after they have been published. I didn't think she'd want the problem to go unaddressed.


And I said in my post that I meant no offense to you in saying that I looked at the file, didn't see the problem, no one else had mentioned it, so I chose not to pursue the matter further. (ETA: I certainly didn't mean to imply I thought you were crazy or dyslexic or something; when I mentioned it being possibly a fluke I was thinking specifically and only about the possibility of a data transfer problem or something.)

I did not name you in my post or give any sort of clue as to your identity. I'm genuinely sorry if what I said hurt you, as I honestly didn't intend it to; I'd actually come back to the thread to edit my post and add that I appreciated that you were trying to help, because on further thought I wanted to make that clearer, but you'd already responded.




It seems from her comments above that however she is reading the book does not expose the problems or that the formatter of the book has corrected them.

Foliowing is a screen shot of a page from the e-book.

Observe that paragraphs are neither indented nor separated with a blank line. Quite often the beginning of a paragraph is unclear with this format.

Observe the tokens *H/h. There is no explanation of them. I can only assume that they are some kind of meatgrinder translation of a bullet character.



The reason those "problems" were not exposed in my reading of the file is because those are not in fact problems. Your screenshot is from a bullet-point list (with asterisks as bullets), not a series of paragraphs, so is not indented. "H/h" means "Hero/heroine," which is a common industry term, and which is explained in an earlier post/chapter.




The response I got when I asked if she wanted me to tell her about the formatting was slightly defensive and chilly, but she said she'd want to know. I got no response to the report itself.

I apologize for not responding. As it happens, the day you sent me your reply is the day before the duodenal ulcer I was not aware I had burst, causing me tremendous pain and ultimately resulting in emergency surgery, two weeks in the hospital, and several more weeks of at-home recuperation, after which I am only in the last few weeks starting to feel normal again.




And, oh yeah, it's a very good book.



Thanks, I'm glad you liked it.





I am more concerned about the few AW members who have asked me to post a review on Amazon, if possible. None demanded a review in exchange for the book, but the pressure was still applied by the asking, or so I feel.


It is still applied by asking, and they shouldn't have asked. IMO it's unethical to do so. If someone to whom you gave a book read it and liked it and decided to review, great. Asking them to do so is attempting to game Amazon's review system, and creates an uncomfortable situation, as you're experiencing firsthand.



This is where I have the dilemma. I am rather stingy with how many stars I give a book. Three stars to me means, average, anything below that is a sub-par book IMHO and I don't want to offend a fellow community member, or start a flame war...

Personally, I just wouldn't review the book, period. Better no review than one which may upset a friend, and even if they say they don't care if it's positive or not, they will (we just had a thread about this very thing a few days ago, and I believe in that situation the friendship is forever damaged).

If they press you tell them you haven't had time to read it yet, or you haven't had time to leave a review yet, or whatever. Yes, it's a little white lie, and yes, the purpose of those is to spare people's feelings. And yes, they may be upset you're not reviewing the book, but at least they're not furious and hurt because you gave it a less-than-perfect review.

This is why it's never a good idea to ask friends to review one's book. Sigh. I'm so sorry you're in this situation, thothguard, and again, I hope I've helped.

AlishaS
01-08-2012, 07:10 AM
Here's the thing...

To some people editing isn't a huge thing, and I know your laughing, but really it's not, to readers *readers* that aren't writers, as long as the story is entertaining and the writing makes sense, that's all it takes to please them...
However, I would want to know, seriously, and there lots of Authors, who even have a line in ther FAQ's telling them who to contact (whether self pubbed or not) if you find an error in their novel.
Becuase, though the OP had said, the damage has been done because the books already in print... Not really the case at all. For a self published Author, they can change the novel up on a whim, fix the mistakes and re-upload it. A small press or POD can do virtually the same thing (if the errors are significant)

I read a lot of small press and self published authors in the last few months, for the ones I knew (or thought I knew pretty well) I just said, "hey I found a small mistake, would you like me to tell you about it" some of them said, of course, they would love to know if I found any, and how better to fix the problem, to which I did (and I'm no grammar or punctuation expert, nor do I claim to be) while others didn't even bat an eyelash, and could have cared less I found mistakes in their novels.

So, I think what you have to do is consider the person involved, if you feel they are the kind of person who'd want to know (and really, why wouldn't you, in all honestly) then bring it up, using kind words and a lot of tact. If they don't seem like they'd care, don't waste a breath or words.
If they are books you've been asked to review, but don't think you can do it based on your opinions then don't. I have a strict, if I like it and have good to decent things to say, I'll write a review, if I don't like it, or don't have anything constructive to say, I don't write a review.

But yes, I agree it is always a dilema, and in my case a huge worry, my novel is coming out with a small press, and I worry too that the editing isn't going to be as good, or there will be tons of mistakes... But I guess I'll just wait and see (and work my ass off to make sure it's in the best possible shape, while my Editor does the same)

DeleyanLee
01-08-2012, 07:18 AM
Some of the worst moments of my life as has been getting into a writers' group with published authors. Over the years, several of them have been genre-award winners. I'd get to know them as people, come to like and respect them, and then I'd read their books and those works (published by major publishing houses--this was before self-publishing was even considered) were drek.

Not only was some of the editing atrocious, but the stories were nonsensical and some of them were bibles of what NOT to do in writing--yet these were published and these authors had devoted followings and long-established careers. Even more, I liked them as individuals and I so very desperately wanted to enjoy their work.

And because they were so nice as people, I couldn't tell them that I thought their work was drek. When they asked what I thought of the book they knew I had (sometimes as gifts), I complained of my gigantic TBR pile and avoided the subject. I did this often enough that they often dropped the topic, fortunately, and was able to remain on friendly terms with most of them--which was my goal.

Nowadays, I have several friends and acquaintances who self-publish and hint that they're really like reviews on their work. Because I know them, I generally know what I'm getting before I open the file. I'm not expecting wonderfulness when reading something self-published, since there's obviously some reason the piece didn't get published by someone else. So what you're describing sounds like standard fare to me.

That said, I'd avoid the topic entirely unless said author got back to me about putting up a review. Then, depending on my relationship with said author, whether or not I would privately explain why I wasn't going to do that and in how much detail. If I simply want to avoid possible conflict with someone that I like and respect, I'd defer to the eternal TBR pile unless backed into a corner, and then it's a private matter.

Hope that helps.

Al Stevens
01-08-2012, 07:37 AM
..I meant no offense to you...
I took no offense.

I did not name you in my post or give any sort of clue as to your identity.
Right. I outed myself.

I'm genuinely sorry if what I said hurt you, as I honestly didn't intend it to; It didn't.

I'd actually come back to the thread to edit my post and add that I appreciated that you were trying to help, because on further thought I wanted to make that clearer, but you'd already responded.
Yeah that happens. I got my post toned down while you were responding. :)

Your screenshot is from a bullet-point list (with asterisks as bullets), not a series of paragraphs, so is not indented.
I knew that was going to happen. The other non-bulleted paragraphs in the book are not indented either. (I'm sure you don't want another screen shot.)

"H/h" means "Hero/heroine," which is a common industry term, and which is explained in an earlier post/chapter.
Not earlier than the first usage that I could find. Perhaps it's in the blog. I found a kind of explanation today well after the first several usages. It slipped by me at first reading. Sorry.

H/h might be industry standard, but I wouldn't assume that all readers had heard of it (my caution comes from years writing computer books), and google doesn't find it. With the asterisk, it's a cryptic character sequence, and its purpose is not intuitive, in my opinion. As evidenced by my misunderstanding.

Good luck with the ulcer.

Polenth
01-08-2012, 07:38 AM
You got the book and you read it. Anything else you do is optional. You can post a review if you want to. But equally, you don't have a duty to leave a review if you don't want to.

If they do come back and ask you what you think about the book, and you decide you want to answer, you can warn them you'll answer honestly and they may not like it. Chances are most won't, because they only meant "post a review if you want" not "you MUST post a review or I'll send the goblins after you!"

robjvargas
01-08-2012, 08:20 AM
You know, if an author's going to go to market, then it's no longer personal. It's business. And it's time to act accordingly.

Those reviews aren't for the authors, though. They are for the readers. Do you think the review will be of use to readers?

gothicangel
01-08-2012, 02:07 PM
I had a similiar experience last night. I thought that I would search Amazon, to see if I could find some new novels set in Roman Scotland. I came across a self-published title. It was set in the 1st century AD, and the blurb was using words like 'Pict' and 'Cruithne', just by using such anchronisms [Pict is 4th century, Cruithne even later] I knew the historical research was very poor.

And yes, I did play with the idea of leaving a comment. In the end I didn't. If the author couldn't be bothered to pick up a few history books, why should I bother buying their book or point out basic errors?

Terie
01-08-2012, 02:41 PM
I have given an author a list of typos on exactly one occasion, and there are a number of extenuating circumstances:


A previous book had gone to print with the wrong file and contained a large number of errors (probably 40-50 for a 250,000-word tome), for which the author and publisher took a lot of flack.
The author is hugely popular and their books go to multiple printings, so errors actually can be fixed in subsequent printings.
The author is a personal friend.
The author, horrified at the incident in #1, asked for friends to supply lists of errors for both that book and subsequent ones.


Item #4 is the key one. I would never, under any circumstances, even mention errors -- much less provide a list of them -- unless the author solicited such a list.

Sevvy
01-08-2012, 05:58 PM
I agree with jjdebenedictis, in that if it's a request for critiques, then they should be given honestly. But to me, published works aren't asking for critiques like that, and the amazon feedback should be honest.

But, I think in the end you should do what makes you comfortable. Since you mentioned some people asked you for amazon reviews, have you considered contacting them in a pm and saying that you feel you have to mention the errors in the book, and see if they still want you to post a review? They might change their mind and/or ask for feedback then. Or not. It is a sticky situation though, sorry there's no easy answer.

Phaeal
01-08-2012, 06:48 PM
When people ask me for reviews, my sincere caveat is that I'm always putting down books that many other readers love (per the bestseller lists.) I can be hooked in as little as a sentence, but if the hook hasn't set after a few pages, that book's not for me.

A requested critique is another matter. Then I warn the writer that if I'm going to take the time to crit, I'm going to be tough, from the word level to the overarching theme. No, really tough. Pitbull tough. Grrrrr....RAWR!

I likes scaring people off. ;)

ChaosTitan
01-08-2012, 08:07 PM
I'm sure you know how to tell from an amazon listing whether a book is self-published. But do you really think the book buying public does? And how many readers buy books based on the publisher anyway?

Until someone manages to do a comprehensive poll of all ebook purchases made last year, then all we can do is speculate and offer our own experiences. But yes, as a reader, the publisher definitely matters to me when considering a book for purchase.

The majority of ebooks I purchase are from publishers whose products I trust, because I got burned too many times in my early days of buying ebooks. I purchased exactly two self-published ebooks last year, and only because I read several glowing reviews for them (from blog reviewers whose opinions I trust) and the content interested me.

So yes, there are readers who care who the publisher is. Just as there are readers who don't.


And to be perfectly honest, I don't see the point in "constructive criticism" of already-published work. It's published; it's out there. What do you hope to accomplish, really?

Ditto this.

Unless the author has somehow/somewhere made it clear that they are open to readers telling them about errors, then leave it (although such a thing would, quite frankly, turn me off the author altogether, because it's like asking readers to be their editing service).

When you self-publish, the author is the final word on the manuscript, and if they've chosen to upload it with the errors you found, then that's on them. And whether you know them from AW, a writer's group, or they're your favorite aunt, it isn't your job to critique them unless they directly ask you to do so.



As far as my pro-published books...there's nothing I can do to "fix" whatever problems people might have with tone, pacing, word usage, characterization, or whatever else, so I don't see the point in contacting me--or any other writer--with those. It's too late. And honestly, the published version of the book is the best I can do. Yes, I don't tend to reread my own published work because all I see are the flaws and little mistakes, but at the time, with the time I had, it was the absolute best I could do, as close to perfect as I could get, so feedback of that type just elicits a sort of, "Okay, and what would you like me to do with this?" reaction.

Ditto this, too.




I am more concerned about the few AW members who have asked me to post a review on Amazon, if possible. None demanded a review in exchange for the book, but the pressure was still applied by the asking, or so I feel. I have given those I found enjoyable good reviews followed with 3 and 4 stars. But these others, I don't want to offend a fellow AWer in public so I have yet to give a review.

This is where I have the dilemma. I am rather stingy with how many stars I give a book. Three stars to me means, average, anything below that is a sub-par book IMHO and I don't want to offend a fellow community member, or start a flame war...

It's always a sticky situation when you know the person who's asked you to read something and implied they'd like you to review it. I suppose the question comes down to: are you reviewing it for the author or the readers?

If you're doing it for the author, then don't leave a review. Let the matter drop. If you're doing it for other potential readers, then leave an honest review about your feelings on the book.

Do bad reviews sting? Yes. Do some people get upset? Yes. Should that stop you from leaving an honest review on a work? No. As we've said time and again, reviews are about the readers. And the author being an AW member shouldn't change that.

Kweei
01-08-2012, 08:37 PM
Oh. I didn't realize this was a situation where a review was implied. I'm not sure how I feel about that. It makes me uncomfortable.

wheelwriter
01-08-2012, 09:05 PM
I'd probaby not leave a review. If pressed by the author I'd let them know the book wasn't my taste/I didn't connect with the book (something worded in a way that didn't make the author feel like total crap), and I imagine they'd stop asking for a review.

If they then asked for a more in-depth critique, I'd double check if they really wanted it, since the book is already published, then proceed based on their answer. You're in a tough situation.

Rhoda Nightingale
01-08-2012, 09:48 PM
If someone actually asked you to review the book, they've put you in a no-win situation. I once did reviews for an ezine in which the book in question had been penned by a friend of the editor, and they basically asked me to make sure my reviews were positive so no one's feelings would get hurt. After a few months of that, I just couldn't stand it anymore. If I'm writing a review, I need to say what I actually think, not what someone wants to hear.

Last summer, on the other hand, an acquaintance gave me his self-published novel and asked me what I thought of it--asking just me personally, without the implication that I'd put that opinion out in public somewhere. So I told him the truth. He took it just fine. (I do make a point of trying to be balanced as well, finding positive and negative. Nothing wrong with erring on the side of kindness.)

So if I were you, Thoth, what I'd do is contact whoever is expecting a review privately and say, "Look, this is what I thought about your book. Now, do you really want me to share that with Amazon readers, or not?" Be honest and put the ball in their court.

/two cents

icerose
01-09-2012, 12:38 AM
Since you have been asked to post a review, this is how I would personally handle it and have in the past.

Write up your honest review, both the warts and the roses. Send it to the author with a note. "Here's my review of your book, I wanted to give you the chance to say yes or no to my posting this review. It's my honest opinion and I will not edit it, but this way at least you get to choose whether or not this shows up in your book's review section."