IWSG — To Review, Or Not To Review…

Today’s the day for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) where, on the first Wednesday of every month, writers get together to share their insecurities and offer encouragement. The IWSG was created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and you can learn all about it and sign up for it here. IWSG_Badge

I will soon be sending out ARCs and requesting advance reviews for my fantasy adventure novel, Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble. I know that getting reviews is vital if I want my book to rise above the obscurity that self-publishing can bring. A solid word-of-mouth campaign is essential for an Indie book to succeed.

So it stands to reason that if I’ll be requesting reviews, I should be willing to give them in return. I’ve never written a book review because of the horror stories I’ve heard about authors who took offense at not-so-shining, albeit honest, reviews and retaliated by trashing the reviewers’ books, giving them terrible one-star reviews on all the online sites, and having their friends do the same.

The thought of going through something so devastating has persuaded me to keep my opinions to myself. However, I don’t feel that it’s fair of me to ask other writers for reviews if I’m not willing to reciprocate.

I would love to know how other writers feel about this. Do you write reviews? Do you ever worry about the bad apples out there trashing your books?

I would also like to thank the IWSG for putting together the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond – Available Now! Thank you! Can’t wait to read it!




© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2014. All rights reserved.

28 thoughts on “IWSG — To Review, Or Not To Review…

  1. I’ll review books of other writers I know, if I can give them a glowing review. If I struggled through the book, I usually don’t leave a review, because I don’t want to hurt their ratings. I have no issue rating low on books for authors I don’t care for, but I usually won’t force myself to read the book anyways, and thus not bother to take the time to review. I’m a rather lenient reader as it is though…


  2. It’s like walking through a mine field. Ever since joining the writing world, my author self has been in conflict with my old reader-reviewer self. It’s not an easy thing to navigate. My old reader-reviewer self wants to steer others away from badly written books, cause I’m glad when someone does the same for me, yet my author self wants to be supportive of other authors.

    As my author persona (a pen name), I only review other writer’s books if I can give them at least 4 stars. I don’t want to hurt their ratings and I don’t want to bring any revenge reviews on myself. As far as venues where I already had another screen name established, I’m a little more free, but I usually don’t review authors I know there.

    When it comes to getting reviews for my books, I’m finally forming a street team; but for my debut, I just let random readers leave them. Only a handful of Come Back’s 77 reviews are CPs, friends, and family. I hope I haven’t shot myself in the foot by forming a group of ARC reviewers.

    IWSG #151 until I miss two posts or Alex culls the list again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Don’t be afraid of writing a book review. Once you get the hang of it, it’s easy! I write mine while I’m reading the book instead of after, so I don’t have to recall anything afterwards. I do make sure to be kind and gentle with my words, even if I’m mentioning something I didn’t quite like. The trick is to say everything you enjoyed, lightly touch on whatever you didn’t and end it on a positive note if you enjoyed the book.


  4. I do not review every book I read, but about 50% sometimes more. I try to be honest in a positive way. If there is something I do not like I try to state why, but include things I did like, or I think had great potential if they are present. Lucky for me I have not read a book, so bad yet since I started doing reviews that I could not find some positive words. However, I will rate them according to how they affect me as a reader, not a writer. I do not really do reviews on my blog, but guest spots and interviews. I think reviews are important to the success of the Indie Author, especially just starting out, so I do try to do them, especially if I love the book.

    I am sure I will worry about reviews when the times comes. I think that is human. Congratulations on your upcoming book.


  5. I write reviews. I’m a picky reader but I’m also a writer and so I know how much hard work goes into writing a book. Because of that I share negatives privately and only put shining things in a review. Good luck with your book launch!


  6. I only review books I can give a 4 or 5. I know how much work goes into a book and out of respect for the author I just can’t give anything lower. I try real hard not to read reviews of my books because I’ll obsess over that one lousy one rather than rejoice over the good ones.


  7. I agree with you Lori. I occasionally write reviews but now that I’m getting published I’ve felt this twinge of conflict-of-interest. What you’ve said and the comments have definitely given me something to think about. Writing reviews for big-name authors feels impersonal and okay but it’s really hard, especially if you know the author personally and don’t want to offend them by being honest and/or feel like you’re pandering if you really DO love the book. Either way, it’s tricky.


  8. I’ve asked for and given many reviews. A few of the ones I asked for weren’t as stellar as I had hoped, but I took it with as much grace as I could muster (read “silence” here. I took them and kept my trap shut.) Then, when I reviewed other writers, I always committed to honest reviews, but that doesn’t mean negative. Even if I didn’t personally enjoy it, I make it clear it may be just me. I state what I didn’t enjoy, and concentrate on the positives I did like. Only once have I ever needed to contact the writer because I thought my review would be way too negative. I declined writing the review and stated why, without being confrontational or insensitive. So far it’s worked for me. Maybe it’ll work for you, too.

    Best wishes!!


    • Thank you! And thanks for sharing how you do reviews. It sounds like a great way of doing them. I agree with what you said about “silence.” I’ve heard even more horror stories about authors whose angry replies to unfavorable reviews severely hurt their careers.


  9. I do reviews for most of the books I read.
    When you’re sending yours out for review though, it’s a little different. You’ll be sending to book blogger sites, and that’s what they do – review books. You will be sending to some writers and authors, and yeah, it would be polite to review their books – when you are able. I’m not crazy about doing reviews, and sometimes I just leave a star rating on Goodreads instead. Those are also appreciated!


  10. I like to provide positive feedback in public reviews, with a focus on making sure everything I say is honest. If I have critical feedback on something I like to share it with the author privately when I can, and only when I feel it will be welcomed. Good luck with the ARCs, Lori! Can’t wait to read your stuff! 🙂


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