Reviewing The Situation: Authors Reviewing Authors

Is it ethical for authors to review other authors?

Writers know it. Readers know it. Traditional publishers know it. Good reviews sell books.

Possible reader’s point of view: Can authors be objective reviewing other authors? Aren’t they just giving good reviews to get one back and push up their ratings on Amazon and Goodreads?

Possible author’s point of view: I may be an author but I am also a reader too, and being both makes me more aware of how to analyse what I am reading and the efforts behind the writing. What is wrong with supporting my fellow authors as long as I am giving a fair review that encourages the writer by pointing out the good things and suggesting where possible changes might enhance the book? Authors need to be open to helpful criticism but they don’t have to be pulled to bits entirely. If a book is really bad I would tell the author about the problems I have found and not publish a review.

If I do make some really negative comments about a fellow author do I take the risk of being ostracised?

My point of view about reviews in general and Nancy Kuykendall

Taken from a joint blog for Christian Authors Community & Services

‘It’s also important that authors write reviews. There are several reasons. One is it’s a great writing exercise. I [Nancy] enjoy writing reviews for other authors, and I want to do my best to be clear and concise, as well as helpful. I make an effort to construct my sentences well, so that in not too many words I can express my opinion and leave something valuable for the author about the writing and the book. I want to make sure I comment on what I liked and enjoyed in a book. Every author needs positive feedback as well as helpful criticism. Another good reason for authors to leave reviews including next to their name that they’re an author, is to give extra credence to their remarks. Both the author being reviewed, and other readers, might put more stock in a review coming from another published author. Not to mention that the authors writing the reviews receive recognition when concluding the review with name and title of one of their published books—they just might pick up new readers.’

‘As a reader of another author’s work, you need to give a balanced, honest opinion of their work. It is good to be kind, but it is not helpful to avoid expressing some concerns about things you think need remedying. It is best to use the ‘sandwich’ method whereby you say something positive, say what might need improving in the ‘filling’ (and give an example of how to improve it if you can), and finish with something positive. There is no need to be downright cruel, but you are helping the author when you focus their attention on something that really stands out as needing to be fixed.

I (Eileen) always try to give as many stars as possible on an Amazon or Goodreads review. If I give a three-star review, there are a number of things I feel need fixing. If I feel a book is so bad that I can only give it a one-star, I contact the author personally to tell them my concerns about the book or just don’t give a review.’

More interesting views can be found on this blog post by Jim C. Hines

4 thoughts on “Reviewing The Situation: Authors Reviewing Authors”

  1. It’s worth remembering that it is not kust we indies who review each others’ books. The authors of ‘Big Five’ published books get reviewed in the literary journals and ‘posh’ newspapers by their peers, too.

  2. Authors can review books, as long as they do it honestly. I always review books that I can honestly recommend. For others, I’ll support the book on social media but stop short of reviewing it.

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