I rarely leave Amazon reviews. As a writer, I think it opens the door to bickering and unfair reviews based on envy and disrespect.
Of course, that’s just my opinion.
This is something I have been wrestling with as of late. When I read a book I didn’t like, there is a part of me that sort of wants to warn readers. Of course, just because I don’t like a book doesn’t mean everyone will hate it. An example: I never liked One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I can’t stand it. Not sure why…just don’t. But I know the majority of readers enjoyed it.
However, with self publishing, I think the field shifts somewhat. I actually appreciate it when readers leave bad reviews, so long as they are justified. I myself haven’t received a lot of reviews for my books but I have been blessed with some great ones. Maybe my tune will change a bit after I receive those scathing one and two star reviews.
However, in the last three months, I have read a lot of books by self published authors. These are authors that have huge followings and are seen as leaders in the self-publishing world. Some of these have been absolutely great (might I recommend Blake Crouch’s Abandon). However, I have also read a few that were very bad. Cut out cardboard characters, terrible dialogue, predictable plots and endings that aren’t endings at all but thrown together paragraphs that made me wonder if the author was just tired of writing.
On two of these occasions, I wanted to take to Amazon and leave reviews. Reading these two titles by these two authors that are supposed to be the self-published writers’ lighthouses, I felt there needed to be some sort of warning.
But then again…who am I to leave a negative review?
So what if this one leader in self publishing (whom I have read other books by that were fantastic, by the way) cheated us out of an ending and let at least twenty typos go by (at least five of which we pretty inexcusable)? That still doesn’t really give me the right to warn readers to avoid it it…to not read this example of a “professionally done” self published book.
Or does it?
Also, these books had TONS of 5 star reviews that never mentioned the typos. Checking out some of the users’ other ratings, they seem to dole out a lot of 5 star reviews…4 and 5 star reviews almost exclusively. And since we know that paid reviews are nothing new, it makes one wonder.
What are your thoughts? Do you keep these things to yourself or take it public…at least as public as an Amazon review can be? Are there shenanigans afoot?