Occasionally, I’ll receive an email from an aspiring author asking me to read his/her manuscript and give honest feedback. Normally, I respectfully decline. Not because I don’t want to help the other writer—but because I’m a wimp.
If the writer sincerely wants honest feedback—which means the bad with the good—then I’m not the one to ask. Why? Because as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, I’m a wimp. I simply don’t have the heart to tell another writer his/her work sucks if I think it sucks.
When reading a book by an author friend, I never tell him/her I’m reading the book. After I finish it, I will let the author know if I loved it. But if I hated it? He/she will never know I read it.
There have been a few times I’ve read an author friend’s work and noticed an issue that might be a problem down the road, and I will privately message them, expressing my opinion. Yet generally, that’s when I feel good about the work overall. Telling them in private gives them the opportunity to ignore me, or consider my suggestions. Typically, I have only done this when the author expressed he/she would welcome suggestions.
These days when I do leave a book review, I normally leave them on books I sincerely enjoyed.
Does this mean I think readers who give harsh truths to an author is wrong? Absolutely not, providing the reviewer is sincere in his/her opinion and is not one of those people who gets a perverse thrill telling a writer his/her work sucks.
(Image: Sneak peek at window in The Ghost and the Mystery Writer, Book 9, book cover.)