Even if you don't follow any of my other social media, as a regular reader of this blog, you know how much book reviews mean to me. You have often heard me asking for them, begging even, and assuring you that a review doesn't have to be dissertation length. A simple one liner means as much as an essay. The point isn't how long the review is. It's that you cared enough about the book to write it.
You're probably wondering if I write as many reviews for other authors as I beg to be written for my books. The truth is that I don't, but I have a good reason.
As an author, I know the blood, sweat and tears, the time and effort, that goes in to writing a book. I know how much an author's book means to her and how nerve wracking it is to find the courage to share that book with the world. I not only know how soul crushing a bad review can be, I can't in good conscience put down a peer by writing a bad review. If I read a book that doesn't appeal to me, I simply don't write the review.
From a reader's standpoint, I probably should. Some readers make a point to read reviews before deciding whether or not to buy a book. I don't want to warn anyone off. Doing that can cause the loss of a sale which affects an author's livelihood. One man's trash and all that.
There are some authors who read every one of their reviews and some who don't read any. Some of us lose sleep over one bad review, ignoring all of the good ones surrounding it while others just lift the proverbial finger in its direction. Many of us do one or more of these things, but some of us do one other important thing.
We read our reviews and use them as a means to improve our craft. Those honest reviews, though sometimes brutal, can be as valuable as the glowing five star reviews that proclaim we can write no wrong.
I know this, but I just can't do it. I can't write a review telling a fellow author how they got it wrong. If I was just a regular reader, I'm sure I could, but I feel a responsibility to support other authors. The good news is that I feel just as strongly about writing good reviews for my peers because they deserve to know their hard work is appreciated.
There you have it. The not so ugly truth. As long as I'm a writer, I won't write reviews that trash the books of other writers.