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I remember my first bad review. It was a two star, and the reader 'just couldn't get into it'. I was surprised at my reaction....It didn't hurt. In fact, it was a bit of a relief as I came to the realization that I couldn't please everyone. Not everyone would understand or like my work, and it took the pressure off a bit.
Of course this meant giving up the dream of uniting the planet in peace and love, like the 'Wild Stallions' of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.
Bummer as it was, this is reality. You can't please everyone.
Now, since I know that, why is it so hard to GIVE a bad review?
This is my third time with this dilemma, but the difference is...I didn't finish the last two books. They just couldn't hold my interest. To be fair, both were YA (Young Adult) and I've come to the conclusion that besides 'Hunger Games', I simply don't care about that particular genre. No finish, no review. It wouldn't be fair.
So I won a collection of short stories from an indie author. I'm almost finished the book, and I am faced with an uncomfortable situation.
This writer gifted me with a FREE copy of his latest work, and politely asked me for a review, which we all do. Here's the problem:
I hated it, and since it's short stories, I kept reading, hoping for something I could immerse myself in and enjoy.
I found ONE creepy, awesome ghost story. All the other shorts are negative, devoid of pleasantness or happy endings. The characters have constant, circular arguments that only add as filler. They all have the same accent. Some of the stories have no point at all. There's a lot of typos. (But who doesn't do the occasional typo? This blog and my Facebook pages are LITTERED with them, because I type with two fingers.)
I don't want to point out their shortcomings in public. If it wasn't for relentless, brutally honest critique partners, I wouldn't be any better. (Again, thank you Suzanne, Jan and Dawn.)
My publisher tells me to never give a review for an indie author unless you can give it at least THREE stars. Which is well and good, but it looks like I love everything and everyone like some kind of throwback flowerchild. I'm scared I won't look 'legit'.
Does anyone have any advice? How do you give a crap review when you are an author yourself?