FTC Review Disclosure

Review

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Can you be honest without being rude?

Reviewers, do your thing how you want to do it. I have been seeing an increasing number of posts where the author and the reviewer are arguing over a low rating or a review. Some of them are completely ego on one side or the other. "How dare you give me a low rating/bad review." and "How dare you questions my review/rating of your book." Then there are the ones where it gets rude fast and becomes a flame war. Others join in and an internet army rises to do battle. This got me thinking about my reviews and if I have written anything that could legitimately get me into trouble. Answer: probably.

On my Facebook page I asked if you can be honest without being rude? If I say I thought a book was really bad, is it rude or honest? Some reviewers think you should worry about an honest review not being polite. Can you accomplish both? Where is the line in the sand between honest and rude? I wanted to get feedback from readers on what they thought. 
"If you are going to write you need to be open to criticism and understand your work is not going to be perfect. I think as long as you give your opinion in a professional manner it is honesty and not rudeness." - Lexi
A review is literary criticism. The definition of literary criticism is the act or art of analyzing and evaluating or judging the quality of a literary work. Reviews are important to a book, so Lexi hits the nail on the head when she says you have to be open to criticism. What does it mean to be professional? It's all in the delivery. I can say, "The spelling and grammar is poor." or I can say "This author could not spell her way out of a paper sack let alone know how to write a proper sentence." The second sentence may be how I feel so I can be honest but it is also insulting. I can save those feelings for more personal settings like when a friends asks me what I thought over a round of margaritas. Be honest but play nice.
"You have to be honest but then there is are lines between blunt, rude and tactful. I've written some reviews on amazon that people do not like at all because I was blunt and to the point. It can also depend on the mood the person who is reading the review is in. Because if you are in a pi**y mood then you are going to read things that could be tactful or honest the wrong way and it seems too rude to that individual but to others it is fine." - Marea
 I think professionalism and tactful are interchangeable. If I am being tactful, I won't be rude or insulting. I am giving my review without the, erm...colorful additions. Mood is a huge factor. I am so glad Marea mentioned it. I do not write a review if I am in a mood that might color my review.On the same token, you can't read a review in a mood. Social media and reading text instead of engaging in verbal dialogue takes away indicators that signal how the speaker feels. We have to guess. That can be a disaster.
"Not everyone has the same tastes, what one person hates, another person loves and vice versa." - Julie
I have said many times that my reviews = my opinion. Great Expectations is considered to be a classic. I 
cannot stand it. Hate. Every. Page. Picasso is a famous artist, I think my kids have done better art work. Books do not come in one size fits all. If you expect to get all positive reviews and have everyone who reads your books love it, don't show it to anyone. Then you will have succeeded. Finally, we come to my favorite comment. It encompasses all that I wanted to say in this post.
"Every reader comes to the story with a different perspective, different expectations, different taste No author has ever had 100% positive feedback. As a reviewer, you should be professional. But I don't think that means you have to sugar coat your viewpoint. If I wrote something and you said 'it just didn't do it for me', I could accept that. If you said you felt the hero was weak or the heroine was whiny, I could deal with that." - Pamela 
Reviewing is fun. I love it. For the author, it is more than fun because it has a say in their book sales. That is a serious responsibility and I should take it as such. When I write my reviews I can get all my feelings out and not let it deteriorate into a slopping mess of author annihilation. 

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