Why honesty REALLY IS the best policy!
Why honesty REALLY IS the best policy!
Integrity is one of the greatest assets anyone can have. When we grow up we are taught to be honest, though admittedly, I don’t think any of us have an entirely clear conscience when it comes to the odd white lie. It’s okay to tell your in-laws you LOVE that jumper they got you for Christmas, even though it is blatantly several sizes too small… as long as it’s done only as necessary and to hide your resentment over thinking they are telling you to lose weight.
That being said, there are many times when we really ought to be honest, even if we are concerned the truth may upset someone if expressed the wrong way. The important thing to remember is, you can be truthful without being unkind.
I’ve been blogging regularly now for about six months. In terms of the other bloggers out there, I am still a newbie, but what I have learned already is that reviewing and interacting with authors is just the type of “industry” in which honesty is really important.
Word of mouth is a huge influence when deciding to try anything, from restaurants to visit or products to buy. The same goes for books. If I am interested in a book and found it had only a handful of five star reviews, in terms of credibility, I’m more likely to think the author recruited every family member available like it just to help them out. There is nothing wrong with this; in fact, it is perfectly understandable. We all need a helping hand and a support network behind us.
Another way in which authors can get reviews for their books is by giving out free copies in exchange. My main argument today is that if reviewers gave the book five star ratings after receiving a free copy because it’s the polite thing to do, they are not doing justice to anyone.
Giving an excellent review for this reason is neither helpful to the author nor to fellow readers. As a reader, I would feel cheated if I read a book that had tremendous yet unjustified reviews, or claimed it was something it isn’t and I was disappointed as a consequence. A book cannot live up to expectation that way. That isn’t fair to a reader. Equally, it isn’t helpful for writers either. Constructive feedback is the best thing you can give as a part of a book review.
A number of famous publications today, from authors such as Stephen King, Agatha Christie and George Orwell all received rejections before finally being published. Some of the criticism offered with these rejections is useful, and a lot of it isn’t. J K Rowling shared rejection letters she received last year under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith (1), which I’m sure you will agree is mass produced and isn’t helpful. As reviewers, we have the opportunity to add the personal touch.
Everybody has different opinions and preferences in writing, therefore it would be physically impossible to write a book to please everyone. In my humble opinion, the best thing readers, writers and bloggers alike can do is talk freely and honestly about their books. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and that should be respected. Let our differences of opinion encourage open discussion. We can only broaden our horizons when our perspectives are challenged. That goes for us all.
I have been fortunate to be able to aid a number of upcoming authors. The world of media and publishing is huge, and unless you are a household name like J. K Rowling, it is difficult to get yourself out there. Being able to help somebody new is hugely rewarding, so if you can spare the time, help out a budding author. I can guarantee you will get far more from it than just picking up another popular book. Do not be afraid to share your honest opinion of that book. If you love it… great! Tell us why. If you don’t… that is also okay, so long as you justify your opinion. Maybe even offer some suggestions as to what you wanted to see instead. A good review is clear, informative and prompts discussion.
A good review isn’t necessarily a five star review.