by Laurie Alice Eakes
Let’s start off with an explanation of “influencing”. This is the practice of putting your name and address on a list to receive a copy of the book either directly from the publisher or from the author. The idea is that you will read said book, write reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, CBD, etc., or talk about it with your friends, and “influence” others to buy-or-not-buy that book.
A free book. Yes, you’ll take that opportunity to maybe try out a new author without any financial risk. Seems like a good deal all around.
You receive the book, love it, and post glowing reviews all over the Internet. Not a problem. You’re happy. The author is happy. It’s all good. You sign up to be an influencer for someone else.
And you dislike the novel.
You tell all your friends not to waste their money. You tell strangers through Amazon, Goodreads, CBD, etc. not to buy the book. After all, you have a right to say what you like.
But is your right the right thing to do?
This is the influencing dilemma we all face when we take on the responsibility of reading someone’s book for review-what is the right way to handle not liking that book? Some of the choices are:
A: If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.
B: Write the author with your concerns and don’t make them public.
C: Treat your review like a critique and sandwich the criticism in-between good things you found.
D: Write your perfectly honest and uncomplimentary opinion.
However you choose to review a book for which you’ve agreed to be an influencer, keep two things in mind: An editor, probably an entire committee, liked this book well enough to buy it, and this is the author’s hard work, her brain-child, and that harsh review might hurt her in more ways than sales.
Award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes wanted to be a writer since knowing what one was. Her first book won the National Readers Choice Award in 2007, and her third book was a Carol Award finalist in 2010. Having her first book with Baker/Revell, Lady in the Mist, picked up by Crossings Book Club, and six of her books have been chosen for large print editions by Thorndike Press. She has been a public speaker for as long as she can remember; thus, only suffers enough stage fright to keep her sharp. In 2002, while in graduate school for writing fiction, she began to teach fiction in person and online. She lives in Virginia with her husband, two dogs, and probably too many cats.