An Honest Review

You don't want a truthful review.  Honestly, you want a review that glows so brightly with your praise your web browser explodes in you-shaped sparkles as soon as you open it.  Yes, you do.  I do, too.  I just don't know why we spew the outright lie of desiring truth.

The truth is, there is good and bad in every artistic work.  Some will see all positive, others all negative, but most will court the gray places in your endeavors.  The ones unashamed of the shades between your blinding white and debilitating black are your gem-like reviewers.  Those are the people who really think about what you've TRIED to accomplish, what you DID, and where you FAILED. They're immeasurable.  

But we only want to hear from people with balanced feedback BEFORE our work hits shelves or cyberspace.  Once it's there, all we want is to see our radiance, amplified and reflected, towards millions of other hallucinat-- uh, devoted... fans.

I get it, I do.  It hurts to hear something you've worked on for so long didn't turn out as clever or unique as you'd hoped.  And we need the excellent reviews to buoy us when people post incredibly unfair comments about your book (which they somehow "forgot" to read) before typing their vitriol. 

We still shouldn't clamor for honesty, however, unless we're acting out another bit of absolute fabrication.  In that case, tell your readers to be as open as they like.

Do you ask for honesty without wanting it?  Have you ever given a sincere review only to be slammed for it?


  1. I prefer honesty. When I give a review I try to put a positive spin as much as I can even if it's like a one star review. Once I got slammed for a sincere negative review--by the author! That was kind of crazy.

    Tossing It Out

    1. I try to balance the reviews I give, too.
      Did you know the author personally? Sometimes, when you say good things, people jump on you for not giving a higher score because you "clearly liked" the novel. Just because few things are all bad, doesn't mean (if you see both positives and negatives) you loved it.

    2. Yes, the author was part of a writers group I used to belong to. I thought I gave him some sound advice (in an Amazon review), but he became very defensive about it in his reply to me. I promoted his book on my blog as well as sent out tweets about it. I was trying to help him as much as I could. My review was actually very positive for the most part but he disputed my points of contention.

      Later I replied to his comment to me that he as an author should never engage disagreeing critical opinions as it makes the author look bad. He conceded that I was correct about this, but he continued to harbor bad feelings toward me.

      At first he didn't realize who I was as he knew me by my real name and didn't recognize my pseudonym. Our exchanges continued by private email and he eventually opted to break all contact with me.

      The amazing thing is that I gave him good advice, read his "book", gave a positive review with a few legitimate critical evaluations that I thought were important for him to consider, and went out of my way to help promote his work.

      If you are interested in reading my review and ensuing exchanges you can find it at Far Out: The Hidden Truth.

      Tossing It Out

    3. I didn't think you said anything horrible or unfair.
      He seemed to feel the need to address everything point for point, which wasn't the best idea on his part.

      You're right, it's best to not respond to reviews that upset you. I've had an editor or two I wanted to reply to but never have. It hurts in the long-term.