So here I am. I had found a quickie book review job that I knew I could read and write about in a day. A quick $10.
The requirement was to write an honest review and post them to the usual places and any networking sites that might be appropriate for the review. The end goal is really to get traffic to their book and boost sales, right?
So I read the book. A put-downable book. Anyone who knows me KNOWS that I cannot put down a book once I start it! I will take it to the bathroom with me, I eat while I read, I go without sleep until I read from cover to cover. I must get to the end. It’s just how I’m wired.
There are exceptions to this:
- When I am part of a critiquing group and we go chapter by chapter because we want to present our best work for publication.
- When I’ve got my editing hat on.
- When the book needs improvement (Note: I did not say ‘bad’ I said ‘needs improvement’).
Needless to say – I read the book: a lesbian erotic romance. I wrote a fair but honest review and began to post as directed. Not five minutes later I received a ‘cease and desist’ email saying they didn’t like my review. We went back and forth with some communication and before I knew it I was being attacked. Apparently I’m biased. I have a thing against lesbians. I don’t know what I’m talking about because their other paid reviewers gave them 4 or 5 stars.
In all sincerity the book did not warrant 4 stars. I had a hard time giving it 3! There were grammatical errors and word flow issues. There were areas that were too abrupt in their transitions. The sex was hot but it could have been hotter and there was a distinct lack of synonyms. The characters could have benefited from a back story. The author used a proverbial ten-foot stick to poke at LGBT issues like family acceptance, religion, and community but never gave us any meat on the bone. If those issues aren’t what propel and shape your characters’ behavior and action then why the hell did you mention it in the first place?
Isn’t this all stuff their editor should have addressed PRIOR to publication?
Now I don’t have a problem with paid reviews. You do what you have to in order to get your body of work noticed. But if you want HONESTY then you’re going to need thicker skin when someone doesn’t think you are brilliant. It’s going to happen! Am I brilliant all the time? Hell no – and I’ll be the first to admit it.
But here’s the point I’m trying to get at. If you want honesty and don’t like what you hear then just take it, chew on it, investigate it and either work on it or dismiss it. Don’t attack someone because you said ‘Let me have it’ then cry when you got it.
On the other hand: I’m a creative writer! I could have lied if that is what you really wanted. Your directive could easily have been: For $10 read my book. Give me 5 stars. Stroke my ego and let the world know how brilliant my book is! If it was worthy of 5 stars I would gladly endorse it. If it’s crap I will post under a pen name. Easy Peasy!
In the end I told them to keep their $10 but I am compelled to leave my review alone.
Since then they have revised their job posting to include “Do not bite the hand that feeds you.”
I’m not a mean person. I am never purposefully mean! As human nature goes, there is a huge part of me begging to be spiteful to their delicate sensibilities and post the review on my blog. I know it would probably bother them considerably – especially in light of their (over)reaction. Ultimately, I am a better person for stopping here. Karma is a fickle bitch. I just want to finish with this quote by Henri Frederic Amiel
“Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.”
:: Meredith steps off the soap box now ::