As I note on the left side of my blog, I review short stories and novellas. I also do some beta reading; usually for authors I’ve reviewed previous works. Sometimes I review a book because I want to. Also, I make it no secret that I don’t post reviews I’d give two out of five stars or less.
I’ve been criticized for that self-inflicted policy, understandably so, because it appears that I’m not honest. But I’m a writer first and reviewer second, and I’m not a professional editor or an English teacher. To me, when I review, I read, when I read, I learn, and when I learn, I write.
I review a number of Indie books, but not exclusively; to me, it’s my way of promoting talented new authors. And the talent I’ve seen has been much more impressive than not.
But all things are not equal to every reader. I just came across a couple of books that I chose not to post a review. Neither of them clicked with my line of thinking. Was it their writing or my thinking? Or lack of thinking? I’m not sure. Like I always state, I handle my reaction by private email to the author. Is that the best way? I’m not sure, but at least I can say I’m not bashing their book on a sales site (sensitive stuff these days).
I want to be fair, and I focus on content. So when the content of the story doesn’t grab me in a way that expands my mind, I feel guilty because I cannot give the writer what they’re seeking. I understand it because I seek the same thing: Approval.
Referring back to my article on “Finding an Audience” I think when books don’t ring my chimes, I find myself on the other end of the review. I’m not a member of the audience. To email an author saying I don’t want to post a review doesn’t make my day. But fortunately, it doesn’t happen often, and I don’t want to miss out on any more great books out there than I have to.
And a gentle reminder to authors raw with me: I usually purchase books I review, unless the author sends me an ebook. If nothing else, they got a sale.