Do I tell lies? Yes. Ask me if that dress you’re wearing makes you look fat or if I think you have the voice of an opera star and I will always be encouraging. I’m the same when friends ask me to review their books on Amazon.
Sometimes I tell the truth. Sometimes I don’t. That’s why I write under a pseudonym. Heavens, everyone knows Amazon reviews are written by well-meaning friends, don’t they?
Recently I was asked to write a review for an acquaintance, whose novel was… well, in the words of Hamlet’s ghost “O, horrible, horrible, most horrible.” Nonetheless, the author had volunteered to review my second novel, Gothic Spring, so I felt obligated.
To be honest, her book was flawed in a couple of ways. It had two plots which never converged despite an embarrassing attempt to smash them together at the end. Worse, her characters had the depth of paper dolls. And these poor, ill formed creatures she dragged through her plot for the purpose of getting to the end of her book rather than allowing the plot to emerge from the motivations of her characters. Here’s one example. In the early part of the novel, the heroine, who is an architect, discovers that a good friend has been brutally murdered. What’s more the man convicted of the crime is her former lover. But, when the two meet in prison, the woman never asks the man why he committed the crime, and he never bothers to deny it. What they talk about is green architecture. Come on!
Despite the book’s glaring flaws, I wrote a decent review of the good parts I could find and thought no more about it. Weeks later, Amazon sent me an e-mail. A customer had reported buying the book on the strength of my comments. Was I happy? Of course not. I felt guilty. Still, putting good news above bad, I sent the author Amazon’s note. At least she’d be happy about a sale. But was she? No. She complained the compliment was about my review and not for her book.
It’s true, I reflected, after reading her reply: no good deed goes unpunished.
So, rather than feel guilty, I’ve decided to come clean. Here are the rules that govern my reviews. When I write under my pseudo name on Amazon, the opinions I express may or may not be totally honest. Those I write under my real name are. Not all of the books I review in my blog are worthy of a Pulitzer Prize. They’ve been given space because I found them worthy of my time. There now, I’ve confessed: let the buyer beware.
(Courtesy of http://www.kcmblog.com