#Censorship among Authors and #bookreviews

Is there censorship between fellow authors and the book reviews we give each other?  Sadly, I have to say, yes there is.

I recently had another tiff with an author over a book review I gave her.  I praised her book, in fact, I really liked it.  But, I didn’t give it the 5 stars it deserved due to numerous editing/proofreading errors, which I stated in my review.  She told me I was assassinating her and her book, and I didn’t support the Indie Community. 

Well, let’s see.  I set up my blog to do nothing BUT support the Indie Community.  I promote other author’s books over mine.  So, no, that’s just a line of BS.  What it is, is CENSORSHIP.

See, her book already had over 10 reviews, all 5 stars and most by other authors.  And that was her point, her follow authors gave her 5 stars, and they never mentioned anything about the problems I so wrongfully accused her book of.  She also said I was undermining her marketing strategy. 

Did not her friends see the same glaring problems?  And if they did, and never mentioned them to her, isn’t that worse than not knowing, and having your readers ding you for the error’s your supposed friends didn’t want to tell you about?  So, who is undermining whose marketing strategy? 

I was going to ignore this whole issue and take the high ground.  But this isn’t the first time I’ve been raked over the coals for expressing my honest opinion in my book reviews.

I’ve been told I’m supposed to take notes, and them PM the authors with the errors.  This is my stance: when I’m reading for pleasure, it’s not my JOB to take notes.  I am not the editor/proofreader.  If I have to take notes, I’m not reading your book.  Once an author pushes the PUBLISH button, anything wrong with the book is their fault, no one else’s. 

Errors happen, as I am so abundantly aware from my own books.  The Secret of Excalibur has been plagued with them, and I have once again, hired another proofreader to correct them.  That’s why the second book in the series, The Revenge of Excalibur, will be as perfect as I can get it before submitting to my publisher.  In fact, I’ve paid for another round of editing.

What makes me really sad is I know authors who have almost given up on reviewing books from other authors, as they’ve run across this same type of censorship.  Not only do they get yelled at, they have to worry about retaliation against one of their own books.  I’ve had that happen to me with a book I gave 3 stars, and the author turned around and changed her 5 star on my book to a 1 star.  How childish is that?  So they either don’t review at all, or they only give 5 star reviews, and don’t mention anything negative about the book.  How is that beneficial to the author or the readers? 

It’s not fair to the reader to see nothing but glowing reviews, then to buy the book, read it and find errors and a bad story.  All that does is lead to a really bad review, and bad mouthing of your book to their friends.  One thing I’ve learned since I started publishing, people will leave a bad review before they leave a good one.  I think it must be human nature.  So, how does that help your marketing strategy?  It makes no sense to me, at all.

No author enjoys reading the less than stellar review.  We all hope for the 5 star, but to be honest, very few books deserve them, even my own.  But, the lesser reviews have also helped me improve my writing.  So, Thank You.

But, I’m tried of all this negativity, so I’m going to compromise and change up my book reviewing procedure.  On my blog, I will post whatever the hell I want.  But, when I post to Amazon, and the other review sites, I won’t mention any problems, unless they are really bad.  Instead, I will only mention if they need minor or major polishing. 

Image result for polishing a manuscript

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll be getting some flack for this post, specially when I post it on Twitter.  Sorry, I don’t care.  I will not be censored, and it makes me sad to see that it’s expected of fellow authors to eat our words.  If you want to rant and rave, go ahead.  That’s what the comments area is for. 

Have a Happy May Day tomorrow.

About Sahara Foley

Bio: Until my husband died on Christmas 2012, I never thought about becoming a writer. In fact, the act of writing a story terrified me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved reading, just never had the knack for writing. The thought of writing dialogue scared the bejeebers out of me. See, Bob was the writer. He wrote stories for years but could never get a traditional publisher interested enough to publish even one. Now I understand why, as they were unpolished outlines. Then, after 30 years together, Bob passed away and my life was turned upside down. About a month later, I was sitting around my apartment, trying to adjust to the worst event in my life, when a little voice spoke to me. Why not publish Bob’s stories? To be truthful, ever since the advent of self-publishing, I always wanted too, that’s how much I believed in his stories. But I knew I would have to fight him for every little change I made to his outlines. Sorry, honey, but they had to be done. So, I pulled out the box of stories, dusted them off, and started on a new adventure: The World of Self-Publishing. Boy, did I have a lot to learn. I finally published several short stories early in 2014, then my horror novella, It Lives in the Basement. While I was working on them, I was slowly learning the craft of writing, and getting The Secret of Excalibur ready for publication. Excalibur was my favorite story of them all, and in the back of my mind, I knew I wanted a publisher. One day on Twitter, I ran across a tweet from Creativia Publishing, and that was another game changer for me. I signed up with them in December of 2014, and it was the best decision I’ve made. One thing I’ve discovered on my new adventure, are all the really awesome and talented Indie Authors. If you find the right community of Indie Authors, all they want to do is help each other. I found that I love promoting them and their books, so that’s how I setup my blog. For readers to meet Indie Authors. Anyway, enough about me. Here’s all my contact information: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/booksbysaharafoley Twitter: https://twitter.com/SaharaFoley Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/saharafoley/ Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SaharaFoley/posts Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sahara-Foley/e/B00J9ST32U/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
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8 Responses to #Censorship among Authors and #bookreviews

  1. Viv Sang says:

    Well done, Sahara. I am wholeheartedly in agreement with every word you say. What a pity some authors are so small-minded that they can’t accept negative criticism with good grace.

    Aren’t we supposed to learn from our mistakes? Don’t we learn far more from our errors than when we do something perfectly? Personally, for me, a 5 star review is a very rare thing. It means that the book is on a par with the very greatest writers. After all, these writers are known as the best there is. There is nothing greater than a 5 star rating and so if I give that rating it means the book is on a par with the greatest writers in history.

    Personally, I think a 4 star review for a book riddled with errors is very generous. Don’t stop being honest, Sahara, just because a few people can’t take criticism. You criticised my book, so I went back and did a lot of rewriting. I hope it’s now a better read. These authors who can’t learn from their critics won’t stay as authors for very long.

    • Sahara Foley says:

      Thank you, Viv. I’ve been fighting this same group of bullies since I started doing book reviews. After this last time, they actually kicked me out of a few FB groups I was in with them They consider me a Troll. My writing has improved a lot, and it’s mainly to reviews and reading books that are so much better than mine. Have a wonderful day. 🙂

      • Hi, Sahara. Thanks for the positive comment on my new cover. Glad you like it. I hope everyone does.
        I have trouble with receiving comments on blogger. That’s why I started my wordpress blog/website as well. Someone said you can only receive comments from people in your circles.
        Anyway, don’t give up being honest.

    • Sahara Foley says:

      I just saw your new cover for your first book of your series. AWESOME. I couldn’t seem to leave a response on your website on blogger, so I thought I’d share it here.

  2. Kelly Rosenthal says:

    No bashing from me. I know that I have struggled sometimes writing reviews when I really like authors that I follow through social media but find their books flawed. At the end of the day, I have to review the work in front of me, and I can’t in good conscience give something a five star rating just because I happen to like the author. I’m not going to ding an author for a handful of typos, but if the typos (or the plot holes, or the lack of character development) detract from my enjoyment of the story, I’m going to rate accordingly.

    • Sahara Foley says:

      And that’s how I rate too. A few minor errors will not knock a star off. But it they detract from my enjoyment, then yes. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Makes me feel better knowing I’m not alone. 🙂

  3. Absolutely, there is censorship – but it’s not just authors. There is an increasing attitude that it’s acceptable to demand that others don’t do anything that might “offend” you or make you “uncomfortable”.

    I think authors who subscribe to this attitude only lose out, as they’re missing the most valuable feedback: what readers think doesn’t work. It’s nice to be told you’re a genius; it’s useful to be told that you’ve made a fundamental error that wrecks your plot.

    When reviewing, though, if I’ve been asked for a review by the author and I think it’s three stars or less, I tend to ask the author whether they want me to publish it. My thinking is that since they asked, the review wouldn’t exist if they hadn’t. By simply not publishing, the situation goes back to the status quo – and I’ll give them private feedback if they want. On the other hand, if I’ve read and reviewed a book off my own bat, it gets reviewed however I think it deserves, because in that situation, I’m acting in a private capacity as a reader – caveat emptor, and all that.

    With respect to typos, I’ll only knock off a star if there are so many that it’s a serious problem, not just a handful. To me, the star rating is about reading pleasure, not just the mechanics of the story – if typos and bad grammar interfere with enjoyment, then it deserves the knocking off of a star.

    I tend to match books against best-in-genre: it’s a bit unfair, I think, to compare – for example – a Mills & Boone formula romance against the great classics. M&B is intended to be a quick, fun read without much in the way of intellectual challenge (nowadays – they used to publish textbooks!) – very different from, say, Jane Eyre. They were written with different purposes in mind, and should be judged by how well they fulfil their respective purposes.

    Interestingly, I think a few non-five-star reviews can be advantageous. If I see a book with only five-star reviews, I tend to think “Author’s friends and relations, treat with caution”. I don’t think it’s possible to write a book that everyone likes, so a few four- and three-star reviews (or even two- and one-star) gives credibility. It indicates that someone has read it who isn’t doing a favour to the author – and that’s good, because it means book sales have reached outside the author’s immediate circle.

    Of course, when I publish my first novel, I reserve the right to make a wax effigy of anyone who gives it less than five stars, so I can stick pins into all the tender places… 🙂

    • Sahara Foley says:

      LOL. I love your post. It nails it on the head. Most books I review, I read on my own. When I’m looking at reviews for a book I’m thinking about reading, I always read the 3 and below stars. Those give you the true picture of the book, and you can always tell when it’s a troll review. Thanks you for stopping by. 🙂

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