Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What does support mean?

I'm trying to throw myself into supporting the eBook community. I have an eReader now, I'm plugging into the blogs and news, etc. But now I'm up against an important question:

Can I do honest reviews of eBooks as an author?

I want to read some of the new entries in our community and give my opinion, but quite frankly the first couple of books I've tried were - well, crap. As in, if I want to stick to the 'if you can't say something good, don't say anything at all' maxim, I should just keep my mouth shut. However, that is not being honest as a reviewer. If I really want to offer reviews, I need to be truthful about the good and the bad.

However, if a lot of my reviews bash other authors it just looks like I'm being petty. Maybe I should hold off on the whole reviewing idea altogether? Can an author be a reviewer and still be taken at his word?


  1. I don think a negative review has to mean you bashed the author. If the review does not make personal attacks, and is fair and honest, then it shouldn't be too bad.

    I have received less than stellar reviews of my own work, sometimes the reviewer is out to just be mean, sometimes they are intending well, but I just took a team the wrong way. And, worst of all, when they are right. It can be hard to take valid criticism the says whyour writing stinks.

    As authors, we are not in a bad position for reviews. We should know the rules of writing, and be able to say why something is bad it good.

  2. It's true, it also falls to the author to be able to take criticism. Frankly that shouldn't even be part of my concern - I give my opinion (and reasoning) and damn the consequences. If the author is offended... tough. As Chuck Wendig put it: "Harden the fuck up, carebear."

    Still, I might wait to start reviewing until I have more of my own work out there...

  3. There should be a distinction between "review", "commentary" and "critique" (I mean literary criticism) Critique is based upon an informed opinion, and never upon personal opinion. "I like (dislike) this book." is not part of a critique, blah, blah, blah. The book reviews I read on web pages are all about personal opinion.

    Let the (buying) reader give his opinion on the page he bought it from. (pseudonyms allowed)
    Let the professional shill give his "opinion" mixed with sales info. He usually is actually projecting the opinion he wants YOU to have. (byline, pseudonyms allowed)
    Let the professional critic give us the benefit of many hours of careful study and analysis (Only real name allowed you ball-less wonders.)

    I hope you will keep your commentaries private among professionals and friends unless you want to become a professional critic.

    I think it takes about 10 years longer to learn how to HAVE, then learn to write an insightful critique. Then do critiques on the subjects for which you have a passion. It shows.

    If that doesn't satisfy your need for a reason, I'll post a favorite truism: "Opinions are like A--holes. Everyone has one, but most people have the courtesy to keep theirs covered." Courtesy is seldom seen these days except in S&S Fantasy fiction.

    1. I've never been convinced that professional critics are offering any more than their personal opinion, though. It's a more informed, polished, and professional presented opinion, yes - but remains nothing more than an opinion.

      In the end, I decided that trying to become anything like a steady 'reviewer' entails more time than I'm willing to give. I'll leave that to others, and simply share good books as I come across them (just like everyone should!).