Wednesday, February 4, 2015

IWSG: THE READER IN ME

Is it the first Wednesday in February already and time for Insecure Writers Support Group, hosted by Alex J Cavanaugh?  I seem to say that a lot lately. I have all these plans for writing, catching up on blogging, reading books and writing reviews. I'm unemployed, and the benefits are all this free time to dedicate to my writing career. Right?

The truth is I'm out of practice of reading consistently. Reading has been a life-long hobby, but the last few years of focusing on writing and writing activities, I've lost the ability to just lose myself in a good book. I'm always thinking about whether I should write a review, what it should say, if the author will be offended by my reader opinion.

So much of being an author is tied up in reader reviews. It makes me anxious. Anxious because I mostly read books by my author friends. What if I don't like something in the story? What if the novel or short story is my preferred reading genre but I don't like the author's writing style? Or the formatting, technical errors, PoV? Or any one of a million different reader preferences.

As a fellow author, I must rise above petty reader preferences and judge a book/story based on writing ability; but sometimes I don't want to channel my craft knowledge into a review.

And then, there is my own writing. I wonder if I will ever have an average, stranger read my novel or short story. Someone I don't know who will buy an anthology I'm published in because it was recommended on Amazon or B&N based on their like purchases. .

Not very encouraging for an IWSG co-host this month. But, the IWSG is my opportunity to catch up with all my blog friends and I am sure to be much more encouraging in my comments. Please be sure to visit the other co-hosts: Gwen Gardner, Sarah Foster, and M Pax, as well as our Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh for a complete list of participants. As always, our Captain requests you visit at least ten participants on the list that your are not familiar with, as well as your usual blogger friends. You never know who's day you might make, or what an awesome acquaintance you might meet.

And don't forget to visit the Insecure Support Group website.



Thanks for reading.

87 comments:

Elsie Amata said...

I had to take a break from reading blogger buddies books for a bit. Through no fault of anyone, I just had a craving to re-read the Gunslinger series and I was off and running before I knew it. Best of luck!

Elsie

(my site is having issues with Blogger. Hopefully it’ll be fixed soon)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I read a variety, so some blogger buddy books and some not. (And if I'm reading one and not enjoying it, I just don't finish.)
Someday a stranger will read one of your books or stories. Many strangers. Believe!
And thanks for co-hosting this month.

Donna McDine said...

Write what you enjoy and the rest will come. Don't worry about what will come of your writing. Just write. Now if I can only listen to my own advice... LOL

Melissa said...

Writing reviews becomes a real sticky thing once you're an author. I finally decided if I couldn't give it at least 4 stars, I wouldn't write a review. I want to be encouraging and supportive, but there's still a part of me that wants to be honest with the readers that come after me and read the review. I know I appreciate it when honest reviews help me avoid a poorly written book. And, truthfully, as an author, I don't want praise that isn't earned.

I agree with Elsie. If you're having trouble getting into reading, pick something you really like, even if it isn't something written by a friend. ;)

Thanks for co-hosting.
IWSG #143 until Alex culls the list again.

Pat Hatt said...

It can be tough, but just let it flow in a nice way and then it isn't so bad I think

L. Diane Wolfe said...

There is that fine line of wanting to be honest and wanting to be supportive. Writing a lot of bad reviews can come back and bite an author in the butt though.

Sarah Foster said...

I don't work, either, but I've definitely learned the hard way that lots and lots of free time does not necessarily equal getting a lot done. Sometimes when there's so much to do, it can be hard to focus. Writing reviews can be tricky, especially when it's a blogger buddy. If I don't find anything really wrong with the book, I just try to focus on what I liked, that way it doesn't seem like I'm nitpicking.

Haneen I. Adam said...

I lost my love for reading last year, it was so difficult for me to open a book and just finish it, thank God this changed and I'm reading again. I know what you mean about the review thing, I think maybe you can give some space for yourself and just read other books for pleasure for a while. see how that goes? :)

J Q Rose said...

I know what you mean. Been there, done that. I have read friends' books and if I can't give a 4 or 5 star for them, I just don't leave a review. I suppose they wonder why I don't leave a review for their book, eh? Thanks for co hosting.

Ted Cross said...

I don't get offended when friends simply remain silent about my book. I know everyone has different tastes, so of course not everyone is going to like what I write. I am worrying more about reviewing these days, though, since publishing my first book. I never worried about it before, but now I wonder if there is something wrong with an author doing regular reviews.

Crystal Collier said...

Yup. I completely understand. A few years back I realized I had fallen completely out of reading. It took a while, but I'm back in the groove and loving every chance I get to burn through a story, and there are some I don't enjoy so much, but I realize that not everyone will love everything. The same book I may be inclined to give 2 stars will receive 5 from the next reader, so I try to keep in mind that my objections are merely personal preferences and take a more objective view. There have been a couple I wouldn't review though. If I couldn't give it at least 3 stars, I'm not going to hurt the author's rating.

meganmorganauthor.com said...

Interestingly, my IWSG post today is about reviews and how scary it is to receive them as an author. But reviews, ultimately, are a good thing--love it or hate it (or just 'meh' about it), at least you're getting some feedback. The scariest thing of all is to throw your work out into the void and get no response at all.

Eliza March said...

Reading helps me write but I don't always have time for both. Just watching TV -- something creative or a documentary can kick start my imagination 😀

Mary Aalgaard said...

I write reviews for theaters. I don't think of it as a critique, rather, my job is to let the viewer/readers know what the show was about, what stands out to me, and I do sometimes bring up things that bothered me, but rarely. It's not about whether or not I liked it, it's more like I went to check it out, and now I'm reporting back to you. We all know that everything in the art world, probably whole world, is subjective. Write on! Maybe read a classic. No pressure there to write a review, and the language might just fill you up.
Thanks for co-hosting this month!
Play off the Page

Rohn Federbush said...

The time problem of reading enough without scrimping on writing time is eternal. Some writers refuse to read, less they unconsciously mimic another writer. I disagree. I think reading is so subjective each reader finds a different view through the same window the book provides. We are too unique in creation to manage copying another's gift, unless our soul is accustomed to the wrong path.

Cathrina Constantine said...

I try to read before bedtime every night, even if it's only a page or two. I understand what you're saying about reviews, especially is it's a friends book. If it's an indie author I tend to be generous. I'd never write a bad review. Only once, during a review exchange, the author's book needed much work. I could never credit the book with a decent review so I emailed the author and was honest with her. And gave her some needed info about editing. (And I'm definitely no expert) Thank you for hosting Dolorah!!

Christine Rains said...

I get anxious when reading books by my author friends too. I'm honest with my reviews, and if I don't like a story, I won't review it. Thanks for visiting today! :)

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I remember the first time a total stranger reviewed my first novel. S/he liked it and I was floored. I'm pretty sure I spent the day with my jaw hanging open. This reader didn't know me, didn't need to impress me, wasn't doing me a favour. I've had a few bad reviews, but that first one did more for me in 100 words than I could have ever imagined. It was a day that stands out. In the last few years I've cut back on giving reviews because I'm like you, it's hard to find a book I can lose myself in. I keep remembering how those reviews from friends didn't feel authentic and while I appreciated their efforts, I never really believed they meant every word.

Loni Townsend said...

I've been reading blogger books too lately. But I agree with others. Sometimes, I just want to read something with characters I'm familiar with and have grown to love (like Harry Dresden or Mercy Thompson).

If the grammar is really bad, I'll make mention of it. But for the most part, I just stick to enjoyability of the read.

Stephen Tremp said...

I'm amazed people leave one and two star reviews. That means they read a book they know they will not like early on. If I don;t like a book, I put it down. Why read it and leave a negative review? I just don;t get it.

And thanks for stopping by during the Blitz and saying hello.

Arlee Bird said...

Having someone who's never heard of you who read a review about your book or saw it in a bookstore is maybe the ultimate dream for a writer. And then if they like it and tell others how great is that?

Writing is a tricky business as well as a mystery.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out

worddreams said...

That approach to reviews is a pet peeve of mine. So often, in my writer's group, members start with 'This isn't my genre/I don't usually read this, so I may not know anything...' Reviews are to talk about writing skills which are universal.

Don't get me started.

Juneta Key said...

Thanks for co-hosting this month. I don't like to leave negative reviews either, as someone else already said. They made a good point if the review is low as 1 or 2 star I probably would never finish the book anyway. A review is not a critique and should not be used as one IMHO. They are for the reader to help decide if it might be a book they would like to read--and not everyone has the same taste.

Juneta at Writer's Gambit

Kai Strand said...

Writers know it isn't possible for everyone to like their work. Or at least they should. As long as you are respectful to the work and the author in a review, it is okay to point out what didn't work for you. Sometimes that's what gets other readers to pick it up. The hateful/personal reviews that some readers leave...well, that's a whole other story, but in short - they are rarely taken seriously by other readers. Thanks for hosting!

VR Barkowski said...

All we can do is persevere, Donna. Do so, and you will be read, of that I have no doubt.

While I wish there was a place for genuine reviews, I don't think it exists—not for writer-penned reviews, anyway. Writers are too keenly aware of the close relationship between reviews and self-promotion to be critical no matter how tactful. I still write a few reviews but only for big-selling books by big-name authors.

Have you tried audiobooks as away to break back into reading? I get the majority of mine free from the library. Once you listen to a great story, you may not be able stop yourself from picking up a book.

VR Barkowski

Chrys Fey said...

I do write reviews for the books I read, and mostly for the authors I know because we can all use reviews. I wouldn't ever leave a negative review, though, because I know they sting. If don't give a book 5 stars, and if there was something I didn't like, I mention it briefly but keep the main focus on what I liked.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I read traditionally published authors all the time, and it deepens my awareness of how to use words to convey a good story. Like Chrys, I try to write reviews for books for my fellow journeyers since folks like King and Koontz don't need my two cents! Enjoy the journey. Thanks for helping me last post. :-)

Al Diaz said...

I am always worried about the same thing, whether or not I should write a review on a certain book and if my words can hurt sombody's feelings. I always get a sort of review hangover and I hate that. I guess we should get over it and just express our opinion as respectfully as possible. We are, after all, entitled to an opinion, right? It's not like what we say is the law or anything.

Dean K Miller said...

Though I would love to have more reviews, I've never worried too much about them. Even a 1-star review can generate interest in a book/project. And it is someone's opinion, inebriated or otherwise. Good for you to take time and catch up and thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month.

Hart Johnson said...

I hear you! It is harder to step back and just enjoy... both the author friends, and because as a person practicing writing, it is hard to turn off the critic. It means I read more off genre, but that is bad. too. I need to read in my own...

Chemist Ken said...

These days, it seems I'm either reading books written by friends, or books that I think I can learn writing skills from. Reading a book just for pleasure doesn't happen nearly as often as I'd like.

Thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

If I don't read for at least a little while every day, I get cranky. Just ask my poor husband. :)

dolorah said...

Elsa: I loved the Gunslinger series. Stephen King is my favorite author.

Alex: Thank you, I hope you are right about the stranger reader.

Donna: taking my own advice is hard work.

Melissa: being honest and avoiding hurt feelings can be tricky at times.

Pat: good advice.

Diane: I agree. I don’t like writing bad reviews at all.

Sarah: I can usually find something I liked.

Haneen: There is hope for me to get back into pleasure reading.

JQ: nice to know I am not alone here.

Ted: I don’t think it is wrong for an author not to review, but it is important to be supportive of fellow authors. I think writing reviews helps me be a better writer b/c I try to incorporate those things I liked in other books into my own.

Crystal: sometimes the things I don’t like attract other readers.

Megan: I agree, no feedback at all can be scary.

Eliza: I’ve gotten story ideas from watching documentaries too.

Mary: a critique and review are totally different in my opinion. Good for you giving back to a community you enjoy.

Rohn: the author’s “style” sometimes leaks into my writing. But yes, we are all unique in our interpretation of stories.

Catharina: I try reading before bedtime too, but all my favorite shows come on after ten at night, lol.

Hi Christine

Joylene: oh, that would put me on cloud nine also.

Loni: I have several series books I’ve read over and over because I love the characters so much.

Stephen: I’ve read books I knew I would be giving a two star review for to help the author learn the craft of writing.

dolorah said...

Lee: oh yes, the ultimate dream come true.

Worddreams: I’d love to “get you started.” I love discussing writing.

Juneta: totally agree with you.

Kai: I don’t understand reviews that attack the author. As you say, the review is to help other readers pick up the book or not.

VR: your last post on this topic sparked my post today. I very much enjoyed all the discussion it generated. I have been thinking about audio books to listen to on long drives and while house cleaning. Thanks.

Chrys: if I don’t give a book 5 stars I do explain why in the review.

Roland: I agree that reading traditionally published books helps me grow as an author. I try for a mix of Stephen King and Jodi Piccoult. Perhaps a bit of Anne McCaffrey and Terry Brooks thrown in too.

Al: I like that sentiment: review hangover.

Hi Dean: your two poetry books are on my list to review. Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a time-turner.

Hart: my inner critic never sleeps. I wish she would.

Ken: a difficult balance indeed.

Madeline: I think I’m suffering from separation anxiety after giving away several large tubs of books.

Tia Bach said...

First, thanks for co-hosting. You make such a good point. I review Indie books because I want to support my industry, and because for a long while there weren't a lot of people who would. However, I've gotten away from accepting "free copies in exchange for a review" from friends. That way, if I don't feel passionate about the book, I can still support my friends through cover reveals and release day posts, but I don't feel obligated to leave a review. And it takes off the pressure of when I leave my review. It's been a great plan for me lately.

My IWSG Post

Lidy Wilks said...

Thanks for the post. It reminded me of how other authors came to me about doing reviews. Although I've thought of the possibility of doing reviews on my blog I don't know how should I begin. Do I review based on craft, continuity and typos, or reading pleasure. I was your basic book monster (the reading version of cookie monster), but not not not so much now.

Patricia Lynne said...

I'm a bad writer friend in sometimes it takes me a long time to read their books. I get afraid of not liking the book and how will I tell them that?????

Caffe Maggieato said...

It's hard to separate the two, but I think what it really comes down to is expectations. Doing reviews probably complicate things, because sometimes you just really want to enjoy the story for what it is, and not worry about it from a writer's angle.

Heather McCubbin said...

I have wondered the same thing...if someone I don't know will pick up my book, read it and comment on it. It is such a scary thought! Sometimes, I feel like I need to read more as well. A friend once told me to be a good writer, you must be an amazing reader and I believe her. The more we read, the better we will write!
Thanks for hosting this month!

Heather McCubbin said...

I think you should tell them, if you can, that you just aren't interested in that genre. I don't like sci fi or very heavy fantasy and when I was asked to do a critique for a Blog, I couldn't get through one and was honest about it. They thanked me and moved on to someone else. If it something else like horrible writing maybe talk about how you are anal in editing and grammar and it took your attention away from the storyline. Not sure if this helps or not??

DEZMOND said...

I can never lose myself in a book either, because, as a professional translator, I constantly see clauses, sentence structures, grammar, words, it's just hell.....

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I usually do reviews on books from not so well known authors compared to the more famous writers. I do look at the recommended reads on Amazon that they send me after I've purchased a book. I think a lot of readers do.

Lisa said...

I decided that if I don't like a book I don't review it. Not to say that I write a review for EVERY book I do like, but I'm more likely to do so if I like what I read. There is enough negativity in the world that I don't want to add to it. I'd rather, if the author is wanting REAL feedback on a book I didn't "enjoy," do it in private with that author. I too, read a lot of books by friends, so am mindful of this as well. It's true, that it's hard to read a book anymore without critiquing, but I know it's good if I forget to do that while I'm reading! Thanks for sharing even if you didn't feel "positive." We all have our days and that's what we're here for, to listen and commiserate. Thank you for co-hosting today!

farawayeyes said...

I feel much the same way when writing a review or a critique for someone I know. I'm pretty honest and especially with a critique that's what they want, right? But more often than not, I think I've hurt peoples feelings. I probably should say I am also kind of blunt, but often there just isn't time to beat around the bush. YIKES! This just added to my insecurities.

readfaced said...

It is so nice to know that even our IWSG co-hosts are going through the same things as the rest of us.

Thanks for hosting!

Leanne Ross

Diane Burton said...

I love to read, love to write. I understand your feelings about writing reviews. Long ago, I decided to put into practice the old saying "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." I've read friends' books and love them. I've also read their books and didn't enjoy them at all. I'm sure some of my friends don't enjoy my books either. I write what I love and hope some people enjoy them.

Thanks for hosting this month!

Nicki Elson said...

I'm with you on finding it harder to just lose myself in a book. I love reading what my writer friends write, but it definitely takes something away from the pure escapism of the excercise.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Read on!
It's integral to being a writer.
Don't worry about reviews, getting or giving.
Your brain needs to eat words!
Go read!
Heather

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Donna, reading is so crucial for a writer. Just soak in the words, get immersed in the story and forget about the reviews. I have the same problem, I keep worrying about what if my review hurts the author.

diaryofalonelywriter.com said...

Yes, it's tough to take time out to read when writing takes so much time and effort. But it is the fuel for our fire. I need to read more, too. My goal this year is 24 YA books. Thanks for co-hosting this month.

Fundy Blue said...

I read voraciously, Dolorah! And widely. I wish I had a clone just to read all the fabulous books I want to read. I find myself reading books twice now; once for the story and again for how the author writes it and deeper insight into the book. I share your thoughts about reviewing a book by a writing friend. I do think it is important to be gently honest. One of the hardest things I had to do as a third grade teacher was to evaluate a child's writing. The thoughts and emotions of my young students truly made me understand how important it is to be honest and helpful in a positive and supportive way. The thought of having a book of mine reviewed is scary; but then I'm still writing my first one. I hope your writing dreams come true!

Fundy Blue said...

And thanks for co-hosting this month, Dolorah!

Mark Koopmans said...

Aloha! I don't think you wrote a "downer" post at all, it's more honest than many posts I've read lately, so thanks for sharing :)

And the next time you should receive a less-than-expected review... remember the old adage about "not being able to please all the people all the time."

Shannon Lawrence said...

I worry about reviews, too. Unless I have a 5-star review for a friend, I tend to avoid doing one, even when they insist that a review is helpful, no matter what. Sigh.

Dixie@dcrelief said...

Hi Dolorah. Originally I came for BOTB, but find I'm back and forth to see what the day has brought you. I'm not a writer like you guys. My love is painting... but I see a few similarities.I always enjoy your reviews, author interviews, and things you share of your own life. (smile)

dolorah said...

Tia: oooh, free ARCs for a review is a trap I desperately attempt to avoid. I too prefer the book launch and cover reveal posts to support my friends.

Lidy: it took me a few times to get my own system down. The best reviews are those I write because I was totally engrossed in the story. Those I write as a “reader” who enjoyed a well written book.

Patricia: I am also a slow reader, so that limits the number of books I read, and review. It also make me wary of telling anyone what book I am reading so I feel no pressure to get through the story and write the review. I am also a slow writer. If you decide to do reviews, my advice is to start with a book or two you truly enjoy and feel no pressure to report your opinion to. It also helps to look at it like writing a book report in school.

Caffe: yeah, expectations on both the reader and author. Good points.

Heather: I agree being a good reader makes us a better author. But, you gotta read well written books, in any genre.

Dezzy: ah, that would be similar to being a book editor. It would be tough to run through translations while trying to read for pleasure.

Susan: I look at those recommendations also. I love it when I see a friend’s book on the list. I’ve seen yours there a couple times.

Lisa: that is the conscientious way to handle a book you did not enjoy. I’ve emailed my feedback when it felt more like a critique than a review.

FAE: A critique is so much different than a review. I’m blunt in a critique; not so in a review.

Leanne: well, co-hosts are still human, and writers.

Diane: “can’t please everyone” is an apt saying also.

Nicki: I lament the loss of that escapism.

Heather: Nom-nom, eating words is a great way of putting it.

Rachna: I do try to just soak up the story. Sometimes it works.

Diary: I hope you accomplish your goal of 24 books this year.

Fundy: I wish I had a clone to do my writing so I can enjoy more reading.

Aloha! Mark: words to live by. And I hope you do not change the title of your blog. Makes me think of sunny shores and beautifully bright days.

Shannon: Gotta feel good about writing the review too.

dolorah said...

Thank you Dixie :)

Angela Wooldridge said...

Hi Dolorah, thanks for hosting this month.
I agree, writing changes your experience as a reader, and yes, having been on the receiving end of critiques makes you appreciate honest, useful comments (although the best ones are when someone's really liked it!)

Carolyn Brown said...

I can really relate to you insecurity. I have been so busy writing my own new novel I have not had the time to post my reading reviews for a whole year and I have read so many books it is going to take some time to get through the list. I feel guilty, but time to complete this task is taken up in other priorities. I do promise to get to it soon. lol

Donna K. Weaver said...

I just try to enjoy the book as it is. Of course, since we've been trained to look for things that can be hard. My writing experience is good and bad. For one, I am consoled when I reach that "black moment" in the story. I know it'll be okay soon. Other times I may find a plot hole or some such and be irritated. :D

Stacy McKitrick said...

If the thought of writing reviews is what is keeping you from reading, then don't write reviews (and make sure you tell everyone). I am not a reviewer. I'm a reader. Yeah, I post something on Goodreads (and Amazon & B&N when I remember), but I only say if I liked the book (and it's usually written for my own reference). If I didn't like the book, I won't say anything or I'll say what type of reader might enjoy it. I know it's hard reading books your writer-friends have written (and why I don't do reviews). I only read their books if they truly interest me. I don't expect anyone to do differently with mine. Not all my friends read the same stuff I do. Doesn't mean I can't still be their friend, right?

Gwen Gardner said...

I know what you mean. I've gotten away from things I generally read these last few years (since I've been writing) and have been preoccupied with reading friends books for reviews and critiquing, etc. I'm starting to get back to it, though. It's all about balance, I guess.

Patsy said...

I read a lot, but I only review books I think are at least OK. I don't want to give an author a bad review, especially if they're a friend and I don't want to give a false review so that seems the best way for me to deal with the issue.

Georgina Morales said...

I read a lot, but I make sure of balancing between emerging authors and stablished ones. I used to review a lot, too, but I'm now more concentrated in my own writing. If a book is great, I'll review it. About someone buying your books, trust me, it'll happen. You just need to write the best you know how to. The best publicity you can have is a long list of publications. Just keep believing!

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

I've been avoiding the minefield of book reviews until just recently, when I finally wrote my first one. As a writer, I know how important they are, but I'm still not completely comfortable with writing them. It's so much less stressful to just read a book without worrying about the review angle.

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

P.S. Thanks for co-hosting!

Quanie Miller said...

I don't read as much as I'd like to because I'm focused on my own writing. And if I read a book and don't like it, I won't leave a review. As a matter of fact, if I don't like it, I probably won't even finish it.

Denise Covey said...

Kozoonkers!! Look at your comment numbers this month. I'm only just starting to make my way around. I couldn't live without devouring books every day. I often get my inspiration from the books I read--a sentence there, a description there--inspires me to get pen to page. Remember the advice to writers--first, read, read, read. If for no other reason, reading the right/good books takes us out of our everyday blah and little measly problems and allows a look at the bigger picture. Thus endeth the sermon from someone who read 18 books in the January holidays--some blah, some great, but all inspiring in some way.

Love and best wishes for finding your new path, Partner!

Denise :-)

dolorah said...

Angela: so nice when someone likes our work.

Carolyn: I’m only about 3 behind . . .

Donna K: sounds like you are able to put away that inner critic while you read.

Stacy: nah, not the reviews that are keeping me from reading; its my own inability to just lose myself in the book that does.

Gwen: ack, that dreaded word Balance.

Patsy: nice to see someone able to read lots and still be a writer.

Georgina: thanks for the encouragement

Lori: at least you have gotten past the first one. The rest will be easy.

Quanie: I’m getting there.

Denise: yep, read read read. It is what I’d like to focus on for a while. Thanks for popping in Partner.

Yolanda Renee said...

I go through periods where I read consistently, and then periods of drought, mostly when I'm in deep writing mode, but if I need a break the first thing I reach for is a book. I don't review as many as I should because I have a hard time saying anything negative. I do need to read more of the best sellers though, maybe I'd learn something new! LOL
Thanks for the toast!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I read a lot, mostly children's and teen's books since that's what I write. Most of them I review. If I can't give at least 3 stars I won't review a book because I know how much work the author has put into their story. Reading helps me with my writing. Seeing how authors write beautiful words encourages me to improve my writing skills. Thank you for vising my blog today.

J.L. Campbell said...

I don't think our insecurity as writers ever goes away. I'm not doing much reading either, but when I do, I can't seem to relax and enjoy. I get into editing mode and then there's the pressure of writing a review which I want to do because I know it helps.

Lexa Cain said...

For quite a while I read only my friends' ms's to critique. I had no time to read like a regular person. Then I realized I couldn't progress to the next level in my writing unless I immersed myself in reading successful writers in my genre. So I did, and I don't have to critique or review them! Win-win, I say. lol So that's my suggestion to you - limit the "friend" books and read the writers at the top of your field and absorb.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I used to be really critical on fellow author books, but I've since changed my tune. I've seen so many authors get torn to pieces by reviewers that I feel there is more than a market for that and my voice in criticizing someone's writing does nothing to add to any kind of constructive dialogue. Rather, it just goes to tearing down someone which I just don't want to do. So to compensate, I try to make my reviews entertaining and to point out all the things that I liked about a piece of literature. I rely upon my readers to gauge my enthusiasm for a piece and think that is far more reliable (in tone) than any amount of stars I could give. I hope that doesn't sound confusing, but it's my way of walking the fine line of trying to be supportive while avoiding the possibility of hurting an author's sales.

Cherie Reich said...

Oh, I know what you mean. Even though we say reviews are for the reader to make a decision about whether or not to read a book, authors look at them too. And you don't want to disappoint people you know because you didn't enjoy a book as much as you'd like. For me, that's why I don't finish books I'm not enjoying and don't write reviews for books I don't finish. In the end, we can't please everyone.

authorcgcoppola.com said...

It's difficult. You want to support others the way you want to be supported but criticism can also help. If they're floundering in an area and no one tells them, how will they know? How can they improve? Pointing out the good stuff definitely helps but saying you wanted to see more of/less of/wished XYZ had been a stronger theme, ect could display a negative thing in a better light. Maybe. Either way, I feel you on this. It's hard.

Eva E. Solar said...

Thanks so much for co-hosting this month! That was the first thing I wanted to say. :) Second, I agree with authorcgcoppola. If no one tells a writer they're floundering in a particular area, how are they supposed to get better?

I know that a lot of reviewers are brutal, downright sadistic even. Clearly they aren't writers themselves. No clue as to the blood, sweat and energy the author has put into the work they've read. That being said, I would want to know the good and the bad of what I'd written, as long as the reviewer offered something constructive.

Have a great evening. Fabulous post. Eva

Nick Wilford said...

I agree with the above points in that there's nothing wrong with pointing out what didn't work for you as long as it's couched in an encouraging way and you also celebrate the successes. If I really don't like it I don't finish it - but luckily that hasn't been the case with anyone I know yet!

Brandon Ax said...

Yes as long as it is constructive it will help, but truth does hurt sometimes.

I think it is hard to balance being an art lover and an art creator.

Toinette Thomas said...

Not to come of negative, but I stopped worrying about reviewing a long time ago. No matter what do someone will always be unhappy with my choices no matter how nice I try to be. That's probably why I only read for pleasure now. I’m not currently suffering from any delusions that I know of, so even when I receive a negative review I find a way to learn from it. If it’s a hateful review, I figure there’s something wrong with that person that makes them feel that being hateful is good thing. In any case, thanks for co-hosting.

Lorelei Bell said...

Stop worrying about reviewing. Try and enjoy the read. Maybe you worry that someone expects a review out of you? I like to read for enjoyment, and once in a while, if you're in your local bookstore (if there are any), or in the grocery store, just pick up something that looks interesting. I do, and sometimes I may find a new author I enjoy.

Medeia Sharif said...

Some books I've started and been unable to finish, so back on the Kindle queue they go. If I keep reading, that means I like it and can review it.

Complete strangers have detested or adored my books. Mixed reviews are normal.

Cate Masters said...

It's difficult to turn off the writer's brain while reading. I try to do it but if I run across an error, it sticks with me.

A Beer For The Shower said...

It really is hard to stop thinking about writing while reading. "Well, I might have done this a little differently." Or "That wording is a little odd." My wife sent me a scary story she read the other day that creeped her out and I was so distracted by the glaring spelling errors and poor writing that the story didn't even faze me. Yeah, I need to work on that too.

Tammy Theriault said...

I'm definitely not reading and reviewing (even writing) like I used to. let's ride this boat together! :D

Lynda R Young said...

I won't review a book unless I like it..in fact, I won't finish a book if I don't like it. There are too many good books out there waiting to be read!

Michelle Wallace said...

Once I started focusing on my writing, I noticed a change in my reading style. I now find it difficult to don my 'reader hat' and immerse myself in a book...
Having said that, I do believe that the nicest thing you can do for an author is write them a review. I review about 90% of the books that I read.
Thank you for co-hosting the IWSG this month!