It is always a quandary for me when I get into a book that I don’t like. It is so easy to write a recommendation for something that I really enjoyed. How do I acknowledge a work that someone worked hard on to produce only to find it is not my cup of tea?
A new post at The Author in the Mirror discusses this situation and has given me some solid ideas. The post is entitled “Reviewing a Book I Didn’t Like | Quieting the Critique Harpies”.
A bad review shouldn’t be sniping, hyper-critical copyediting. If the book didn’t please, accept responsibility that it just doesn’t please and say so. Picking on the small editing and staging things after the book has gone to press is non-productive and terribly discouraging to authors. Tearing the book apart isn’t necessary to produce a statement that the book may have appeal to other readers and represents hard work by the author.
There are situations, I agree, when candid, critical reviews are justified — when someone is writing for us to learn and their information isn’t valid, for example.