The Problem With Honest Book Reviews From Book Bloggers

There´s a problem with honest book reviews from book bloggers. Did you know about that? Have you already figured out what the problem is? It´s tiny, almost miniscule microscopic, but it´s still there. I´m even positive this problem doesn´t even bother anyone, either.

Honesty. Probably one of the trickiest and most misunderstood word existing. We all want honesty but it´s often not accepted or appreciated, depending on the type of honesty that´s been given. Negative honesty is never welcomed. Positive honesty is always appreciated.

But what about the unnecessary type of honesty? Like- the mentioning of honesty in book reviews?

 

In the ever growing book industry, book bloggers / readers are confronted with writers from every bookish corner. We´ve got the indie writers, the self – published authors and the traditional published authors. And every single one of those writers, no matter the niche they occupy or the genre they write in,.. they all  need feedback ( as I´ve so cleverly mentioned in my post on 5 Reasons Why Book Reviews Are Important.) Feedback usually comes from readers. But that´s a whole other bedtime story for another night. ( and some day I will get to how opinions affect authors ) And they all want honest opinions. Okay, fair enough, right? Shouldn´t be that difficult to accomplish. In fact, this should be the easiest part of a book blogger´s job. Yet….. there´s a problem. A weird one.

 

Ever picked a review to read and noticed how those reviewers include a

“this is my honest opinion”

line? Whether that line is on the top of a review or skillfully weaved into a review… Reviewers often ( if not always ) add that line or use the words honest opinion.

Isn´t that just fabulous? Everyday, indecisive readers get to read an honest opinion on a book. If you take a few seconds to think about it… Mentioning  honesty isn´t really necessary because it should go without saying that the review on any book is honest. Why bother, otherwise, right?

But the word holds more power than one would think. Honesty. Because we get blindsided about the actual fact and meaning.

“Oh wow! We´re getting an honest opinion.”

When in reality, you´re getting one person´s point of view. It´s their honesty. No one elses. It´s not the honesty above all honesty.

It´s irrelivant to include “This is my honest opinion.” because I, myself, assume I´m getting an honest opinion anyway. That was my honest opinion right there.

But for a book blogger to include such info? Can someone see where I´m going with this? It´s confusing.

I have yet to come across a book blogger who went out of their way to lie in their reviews.

Okay – If we leave out the special people who review books they haven´t read ( yes, dear book – loving – Padawans. That´s a thing. And these people can be spotted easily ) then there´s no reason not to think a review isn´t always honest.

I agree with you all that this isn´t world shattering business but it´s still something to think about.

Dear book bloggers, why do you add that line? Is it because you want to prevent a war? Is it because maybe you feel better including the honesty disclaimer? Why do you do it, if you do it at all?

 

Maybe it´s because book bloggers have been asked by publishers or authors to include the honesty bit in reviews…. Which is fine. Doesn´t mean it makes more sense to me because ( see reasons above ) it still doesn´t make sense ( does this make sense?!).

So, there´s my answer to the problem. Including an honesty line doesn´t carry much meaning.

I would love to read your thoughts on the subject Honest Opinions In Reviews!<3

 

Thank you all for reading this blog post.

PS: In no way was I trying to be offensive to fellow book bloggers who include the honesty line in their reviews.

Much love,

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Why Book Reviews Aren´t What They Should Be

I think it’s safe to say that alot of people know what book reviews are, so no use to give a deeper explanation for that term.

But what is a review for?

Well, to keep this simple- reviews are there for indecisive people who search for a good book to read( and to help authors with sales ).Or, sometimes not help them ( depending on the reviews content). Either way- reviews are important. ( read 5 Reasons Why Book Reviews Are Important )

But, did you know reviews can also be corrupt? Oh, yes. Quite so.

There are 2 major types of reviews.

1 )reviews

2 ) do-me-a-favor-reviews / help-me-climb-the-ladder-to-success-reviews

Confusing? It shouldn’t be. An author usually has a goal, and that is to make a living off of writing and that’s perfectly fine. If it were up to me I’d wish everyone the success they want. Unfortunately, the road to that success can be a rocky one. There’s so much to do to get „out there”. Writing a book and hoping for a miracle to happen doesn’t cut it anymore.

 Writing a book and hoping for a miracle to happen doesn't cut it anymore

Authors/ writers depend on one major thing- positive feedback. The more positive feedback they get the better their chances are for more exposure. Word can spread really fast and that helps loads.

(Uugh…this is boring……* head against table * )

I like to say I’m a skilled book ninja. I have my eyes and ears all over the place, especially in the indie-author community. When blogging I keep an eye on all sorts of stuff, such as: new book releases, blog tours, author streetteams, yada yada yada, AND reviews. Yes. I read reviews, too. And due to my ninja observation skills I know who’s besties with who and who’s fan #1. If you take a closer look I’m sure you’ll notice, too. 

Can anyone remember the shitstorm Amazon caused with their taking down reviews from certain books? Yes. That was a thing and it pissed so many people off. I would know. I witnessed it, first hand. Amazon never took any of my reviews down ( Thank God ) but they did with other bloggers and fans. And guess what? Bravo! It was about time. Not that I´m pointing fingers at anyone in particular. I´m sure many deleted Amazon reviews were wrongly accused of diabolical review-washing. But the majority? Serves them right. 

I’m positive that won’t win me any plus points. But I don’t really care. When I hunt for books I’m just an ordinary reader. And when I notice someone is just doing an author a favor my blood pressure rises. How am I to trust these people who devote their lives to these authors? Their judgement is clouded in so many ways that their reviews aren’t trustworthy anymore.

Sure, I’m all for supporting my favorite authors. But stay realistic. Stay professional.

I’ve seen people befriend authors ( mainly through Facebook ) and get really REALLY tight with them ( again…that’s fine. Anything that floats their boats). And then I’ve seen those authors publish book after book after book and each book got the same LOVE as the ones before, by the same people. An author can write 12 books ( each with different stories ) in a year and still, they’d get 12 outstanding reviews from the same blogs who are oh-so-tight with them. Something is totally fishy there. There is no way a person will LOVE everything an author writes. No-ho! 

It’s impossible. There always a slower book in-between great books. A story that, in truth, deserved 3 stars because it was, in fact, slower, or a bit more softer, or just not someone´s cup of tea. Any normal thinking person would rate the slower book with 3 stars ( or less) because that’s how they actually felt about the story, no matter how much they loved the authors other books. But, nooooooo.Some bloggers / fans feel so much loyalty towards an author that they feel compelled to give the slower book 5 stars.

Why does that happen? Do readers/ bloggers think their friendship will go down the drain if they’re honest? Or does it have anything to do with stupidity? I. Don’t. Know! You tell me. But something is definitely not right there.

I’m not sure if that can be considered as healthy behavior.

Would you like to know what helps me pick a book? I skip all the 5 star reviews and jumped right to the 3 or fewer ones. I’m not saying that all high rated reviews are full of shit, but can you blame me for doubting them? Reading a 3 star review will not convince me NOT to buy a book because tastes are different. It’s as simple as that.

I know I shouldn’t waste my time breaking my little head over the review matter, because it’s really not worth it. Reviews are… subjective. I’ve wasted so much energy trying to figure out why bloggers aren’t fully honest with their thoughts regarding a book * sigh *. But you’ve got to see my point of view, here- I want to read a book and the only way not to dive blind into a story is to read reviews and see how others judged a book. And people who do authors those stupid favors ( because they want recognition or what not) aren’t helping me, or any other book nerd out there.

That’s basically why I was happy about the Amazon clean-out.

The book universe is sometimes a dark place. Bloggers doing authors favors because they’re afraid to jeopardize their friendship is not okay. 

There was a time, way back in the early blogging days, when bloggers helped authors get reviews by doing so called blog tours for their favorite writers. Blog tours are nothing other than a virtual book promotion where often free copies of a story were/are offered. The only thing wrong with those blog tours were / are… a reviewer CANNOT publish a review with less than 3 stars, depsite what their true thoughts of said book were/are. Anything to avoid a bad review. So, a reviewer either lies or they don´t review at all and risk a potential shout out from the blog tour hosts. I call that…. corrupt. And wrong.
Another observation I made:
Authors releasing new books and bluntly asking for 5 star reviews. Because a 4 star review isn´t going to make sales. * holding breath * The same authors then wonder why hardly any people leave reviews.  That screams desperate.

This is also the main reason why I believe honesty is the best policy. State your real opinions instead of doing favors. 

And for the authors who are hungry for fame….. The big shot writers often have alot of negative reviews along with the 5 stars. That´s definitely something to think about.

It´s amazing to watch authors and their devoted fans go to such extremes. But it´s less amazing when you spot the lie.

I feel cheated on. Ripped off.