“Not what you expected”

The author of a book I recently read for review contacted me, upon getting my standard “your review will go live on xx-xx-xxxx date” email, saying that I sounded unenthused and asking if I gave the book a low review simply “because it was not what I was expecting”, that I not post my review to Amazon.

I’m not sure how I feel about that. What do you all think? Would you refrain from posting a review if it was because ‘the book wasn’t what you expected’?

How do you classify ‘not what you expected’?  It seems to me like that is too broad a statement. I didn’t ‘expect’ anything from this book, other than what the synopsis said, and that it would fall under the science fiction genre. Its not like a book that’s mass market, where you’ve read tons of reviews and had your hopes built up. I’ve never read anything from this author before, have never seen a review of one of his books, so all I was expecting was exactly what the blurb promised me.

Honestly, I was a little ticked that I received the e-mail, because that reeks of “Please just don’t review my book if you didn’t like it”.  Authors have to know when they’re sending their books out for review that not every review they get is going to be of the “Oh my god! That was awesome!” variety, right?  Am I wrong in thinking that you have to be prepared to accept the good and the bad reviews? Why even send your book out for review if you’re going to follow up with a statement basically asking me not to post my review somewhere for x reason?

Am I being illogical about this? Its not that he asked me not to post it at all, but specifically not to post it to Amazon (which, given the reach my blog has, lets be honest – basically was asking me not to post it at all).


35 thoughts on ““Not what you expected”

  1. How sad for the author… As my dear mother used to say “Don’t ask questions you might not like the answers to” and “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson”.
    Personally, I think your review policy was perfectly clear before, and is even more so now, but the problem doesn’t appear to have come from your side.
    I wonder if it would help to add to the email instructions for review submissions:
    “Rate the book you are submitting out of 5.”
    or, fill in the blank: “This book is as good as __[fill in title]____”
    Their answer might help give you an idea of what people are expecting/how realistic they are prepared to be? It might help you filter?
    Just a suggestion.

  2. Honestly, if someone told me not to post my review because it was negative I would probably post the review and then say that the author said not to post my review because they didn’t want bad press. Not everyone likes every book and an author has to understand that. If they can’t take criticism early on they’ll never be able to.

      1. I’m a hothead so I applaud your ability to refrain from doing that. I would still post an honest review no matter what, you’re not going to love every book you read.

                1. It is insane. I fully acknowledge that. It can actually get a bit frustrating because if I start a book at the same time as someone else, I find myself going through at least a few days of “Why aren’t you finished yet? How much have you read? Are you close to finished yet? How have you not read it all yet?!”

  3. It is totally wrong of the author to tell you not to post a negative review. He/she wanted you to read it in order to give an honest review so why should you lie?
    I get why it’s hard though. I always feel a little bit apprehensive when it comes to reviewing books that the authors send to me, because I don’t want to disappoint them with a bad review. However, that is what we are here for.

    1. Yeah. I’ll rip into a mass-market author’s book if I hate it, but when it comes to an Indie Authors book, I’m a bit more hesitant (not to say I don’t do it, because I totally do) because it takes guts for them to submit it out to people. My best experiences, though, have come authors where I did point out that their work had issues, oddly enough. Those authors that are willing to say thank you, let me work on that.

      1. An author should be able to take constructive criticism. We aren’t here just to bash a book, we are here to give an honest opinion. We can’t love all books and if they can’t handle a bad review then maybe they should switch jobs,

  4. I won’t say anything anyone else hasn’t but it’s inappropriate to ask a reviewer not to post a review when you don’t like what they said. There’s actually a woman in my writing group that pans everything she reads and reviews. So I haven’t asked her for a review. But if you don’t have that sort of inside knowledge, you have to take what you get.

    1. Thanks for your input. I’ve altered my review policy to state now that reviews are posted at my discretion, and how kindly I’ll deal with those requests to ‘not post it’ somewhere.

  5. Absolutely inappropriate. This author asked you to review their work. That does not give them the right to request you only post your review if it was positive. I agree with your statement about expectations. I’ve reviewed books that weren’t what I expected…it’s part of the review! If the blurb promises you one thing, but the book disappointingly delivers something completely different, it has an effect on the reader’s viewpoint! That *should* be known to other readers.

  6. It’s a weird old business, the self-publishing trade. It’s super annoying that some authors ask that negative reviews not be posted, like they have this baby that can’t survive if it gets any criticism. Post where you please, I say, provided the review is constructive.

    I got an email recently from a self-published author (who I am certain I have never heard from before!) warning me that reviews were being removed from Amazon by the powers that be, and therefore I should help him out by reading his book and reviewing it on Amazon because it was his livelihood, and now more than ever, self-published books needed reviews! Would he have still wanted me to post it if it was negative or lukewarm? I wonder…

  7. All this talk has made me curious as to what book. Nonetheless, I fully back you here. I’ve encountered the same, once even when I gave the book four stars. The author didn’t want me to ruin his perfect five star rating. Some have told me that certain websites that run promotions require a specific average rating on Amazon to participate, but, overall, you can’t write a book without having someone hate it. Even Harry Potter has one star reviews on Amazon. It’s going to happen.

  8. As a reviewer and author it is highly inappropriate. Once that book is out in the world you are to accept whatever reviews it gets – good or bad, it’s the name of the game. Some people like it, some don’t. Any author worth their salt should not approach a reviewer to ask them not to post somewhere. I would be hesitant to review any more of their work if I had the same experience.

    1. Thanks for your input, and yes, the author is on my “Nope, not again” list. Primarily because I honestly just did not enjoy what I read, but this also plays a heavy factor.

  9. I disclaimer them before the send the book, I tell them where my schedule is and that I don’t hand out five stars unless I mean it. They all still send me books…I don’t know, I get the fear but any review has to help right?

    1. That’s what I would think. I mean, I know there are some people who believe that even bad publicity is better than no publicity at all.

      My disclaimer is in my review policy. Maybe I need to make it more stringent.

  10. As an author I understand the urge to ask a reviewer not to post a negative review, but it’s completely inappropriate to do so. That’s what the honest review system is all about, getting HONEST reviews. You don’t get to pick and choose, no matter how much you’d like to.

    1. Thanks. Yeah, I completely understand having the urge to ask, because no one wants to see bad talk about their work publicly posted. I’m glad to hear another author call the asking inappropriate though. Lets me know I’m not being weird.

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