Reviews: Why I Say No + Where to Look

A review from me does my friends no good. Why you ask?

Well, I’ve done some reviewing a while back and my reputation came into question. They asked me directly if I was promoting a friend, if I really liked it or was I just trying to bring up their sales.

To be honest. I was promoting a friend and I was trying to improve their sales. So, I stopped doing reviews.

My reputation was on the line.certification-571151_1280

I found another way to help my fellow writers when and if they let me. I share all my writing discoveries with them. I’ll read their work to help them meet their goals. I’ll be as supportive as possible to help them get where they want to go.

But no, I will not review their work. I’m too biased. I love their work before I read it because I truly care about them.

And what happens when I don’t connect or worse the story isn’t for me? I can’t lie. Not for anyone. I’ll be honest. If I have any reason to dislike a story, I’d rather bring it up when the writer can or might want to do something about it.

Sharing negative opinions in public can backfire. Some might question if I’m being petty or trying to get rid of the competition. Anyone who really knows me knows this would never be true.

So who should do reviews? There are so many book bloggers on the net right now you can’t help but hit several doing an internet search. You want reputable reviews? Then look for professional readers and reviewers. Check out their review guidelines and meet them. You will get honest reviews from people that don’t have anything to gain or lose.

Writers are not the only ones looking for book bloggers.

They are the go to place for the reader looking for a new read. The connection is made. The work is done. Use this resource. Visit and comment once in a while. Since most writers do more than their share of reading, you may find more than you bargain for.

bookworm-151738_1280Here Are My Favorite Book Bloggers:

| Jennifer @ Bad Bird Reads | Ali @ My Guilty Obsession | Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer | Laura @ Laura’s Ramblin’s and Reviews | Ruty @ Reading… Dreaming | Sherry @ Sherry Fundin This and That | Terri @ Alexia’s Books and Such… | Adrianna @ She Got Books on Her mind |

We all need reviewers, please add your list of book bloggers to the comments. I encourage all of us to take notesΒ  πŸ™‚


60 responses to “Reviews: Why I Say No + Where to Look

  1. So true! I often wonder if 5 star reviews are from friends or the book is really worth reading. This is very sound advice. I can’t tell you how many writer friends ask me to write a review for them– when I haven’t even read the book! I can’t do it. Like you, I will not lie to make or keep a friend.

  2. This can definitely be a sticky situation. Thanks for sharing the links, I wasn’t familiar with these bloggers and I’ve actually been trying to meet more book bloggers lately so this is perfect timing for me.

  3. I can totally see why it would be biased and I don’t blame you. Sometimes reviewing fro friends or even authors you love can be hard, especially if the book turns out to be not so great.

  4. OMG!!! I’m honored because you included me in your list of favorite bloggers.
    I’m always honest in my reviews even if the author is “my friend” or I’ve loved all his-her previous work.
    Ruty @Reading…Dreaming

  5. If I do review a friend’s work, I mention it in the review, right away. Usually something like, “I had the privilege of reading this piece since it’s inception…” just to make sure everybody is aware of where I stand.
    But I don’t do reviews too often.

  6. MRS N, the Author

    What a great blog post! As for me, I have been reviewing books for over 20 years and I learned along the way that honesty is always the best policy. It doesn’t matter to me if it is a friend or an author I love, I review critically but respectfully.My followers value my opinion and I take that very seriously. One of my favorite authors is Dan Brown. I loved his books, that is, until I read Inferno. It was one of the worst books I have ever read. It was such a disappointment and I gave a scathing review. Two of my favorite book reviewers right now are Bea’s Book Nook and Rosie’s book reviews. Both are honest and give an accurate review. πŸ™‚ (

  7. I review books that I read, even those written by my friends. I don’t always give a 5 star review, and if I did not like the book, I make sure to say why so that others who may like that aspect will know the book is definitely for them. The content of the review – not the star rating – is what decides a reader to pick up the book or not. Of course, maybe that is just my own viewing opinion.

  8. I’m not a book blogger, but I write regular reviews (if I’m honest, it’s mostly a) to keep track of what I’m reading and b) it’s an easy way to have new content on my blog). But I’ve been thinking recently that I might want to scale back on that. I’m hoping to be published at some point, and it might appear a conflict of interest to post reviews–though I’ll probably still review books I love. Just not everything. (Although, even now if I couldn’t honestly rate a book at least 3 stars, I don’t review it. The writing world is a small one and I’d rather not say anything than hurt someone).

  9. Hi, Anna,
    I know how important book reviews are so I try and do them for the books I read. Luckily for me, I usually choose books I like the sound of and know the qualify of the writer half the time, so I’m not disappointed most times.

  10. At least your reader asked if you were being honest. I’m a Vine reviewer on Amazon and the reader told me I wasn’t–that I got the product for free so I would write good things. Good grief! What a lousy place that person was coming from.

  11. I review as an honest reviewer. If I don’t like a book I’ve read, I won’t post a review about. Yet I will point out criticisms in books that I enjoy and it doesn’t take away from the overall enjoyment of them.

  12. I can see the conflict. Honest opens are a reviewers reputation. Then there is the we are friends and I hated your book dilemma I see a lot of authors share cover reveals, do interviews, and have guest posts on their can uplift and still find balance. .

  13. If a book is from someone I know, I’ll read the book first before I decide if I want to review it publicly or not. Nothing worse in agreeing to review a book that turns out to have problems.

  14. I’m with you most of the way, but I differ on a couple fronts. For my debut novel, I queried over 300 book bloggers who focus on my genre. Do you know how many actually reviewed the book? Less than fifty. I’m SUPER grateful for each and every one, but wow. What a task! It’s so much easier getting a review from a friend or acquaintance who has or is willing to read the book–even if they are biased. In fact, I do book reviews, just for that reason. There have been a few I had to refuse, or that weren’t in my realm of interest, but overall, you reap what you sow.

  15. While I still do the occasional review for big name authors whose sales I know won’t be impacted, I do not review anyone I’ve had contact with on social media for the exact reasons you mention, Anna.

    Frankly, I don’t believe in reviewing only the books I love. If everyone did this, all reviews would be five stars and consequently would have zero value.

    I think review blogs are an excellent source for reviews. Here are a few of my favorites. Although I’m not sure what their submission policies are. I intend to find out. Becky’s Book Reviews, A Work in Progress, Kittling: Books, and Jen’s Book Thoughts.

    VR Barkowski

  16. I think it’s wonderful all you do to help other authors. You also help us bloggers Anna! And I sure do appreciate it. You’ve promoted my blog and introduced me to some wonderful authors and books. I worry sometimes about friending authors on Goodreads but too late now. I wonder if people take my reviews seriously after friending them. One thing I don’t do is friend an author until I’ve read and reviewed a book of theirs.
    I have an idea to run by you and will email you later!

  17. I won’t review a book I don’t like (I won’t even finish it), but I’m more than happy to review a book I loved. If that happens to be a friend’s book, then yay.

  18. I’m sorry to hear this has happened to you. One should be free to write what they feel like in a review, and all reviews are biased anyways because it is a subjective matter, so… what the heck??? Sorry, I really feel strongly about this. I feel like they took away your freedom of speech, and that just doesn’t feel right. I still appreciate everything else you said, it’s just… well, I’m sorry. 😦

  19. I am brutally honest with friends works. The only extra thing I do for them is not review the book on my blog if I hated it.

  20. Thank you so much for including me on your list of favorite book bloggers! I’m incredibly honored!

    Sorry that your reputation was called into question because you reviewed books by fellow authors. It never occurred to me to me to lie in a review just because I knew an author or admired their work. I usually mention in my reviews if I’m a fan, but still give my honest opinion.

    Think I’ve been lucky and have only disliked one book where I had to email the author and offer to withhold my review. He left it up to me, so I went ahead and posted what I hope was a fair review.

    Thank you again for the mention! And now I’m off to check out the other bloggers mentioned! πŸ™‚

  21. Hi Anna, I’m with one of your other commenters that I only review books I like. A writer friend sent me her book. I read it and was horrified (mostly at the lack of formatting) and there was simply no way I could review it. Most awkward!! Good job on the list of links. In return I’ll share one of mine (I write for children). This one is by 12-year-old Super Erik.

    p.s. for my next blog post (this weekend), I’m going to switch hosts. I’m going over to WordPress. Question: do I need to go back to IWSG and join again because I’ll have a new URL?

  22. Hi Anna! I’m sorry you found yourself in that situation. I’ve had some of my reviews downed by some. I will review books of both friends and authors I don’t know. I agree with jenniferbielman who commented above. If I’m really not fond of a book, I just won’t post it on my blog. Even with books I give lower ratings, I try to find something positive to say. It’s a matter of finding a balance.

    • I only want to support my fellow writers which makes me too biased to be fair. I’m glad there are people around willing to share their honest opinions. Whatever number of stars they offer. πŸ™‚

  23. I just scheduled a post about this, too! Really, it feels like too much pressure to read to review. I do it very rarely and then only for a handful of authors I could count on one hand and I know I love.

  24. That’s too bad that someone (anyone) would question your reputation because you’ve reviewed books for friends. All book reviews are ultimately biased, at the least where the reviewer’s preferences are concerned. I have reviewed books published by friends, but I believe I’m fair in my reviews. If the genre is one that I’m not really familiar with, I’ll say that up front. If the book has typos and errors that distract from reading, I’ll say that too. I do try to make my reviews concise but comprehensive enough that a reader can decide for herself whether she will want to read the book. One thing I don’t do anymore is trade reviews for ARCs. I did it in the beginning, but the pressure to follow through on the review is too great, especially since I have a full-time job and have to work after hours on my own writing. If I really want to review a book, a friend’s or a stranger’s, I’ll buy the book. In fact, even with some ARCs that I was willing to accept, I still bought the book before I published the review. As far as book review blogs, here’s a few that you might want to add: Rosie Amber at, Ionia Martin at, and Susan Toy at

  25. Great piece. I do indie reviews because I do like to support indies. I pick and choose at liberty, though, and don’t take submissions. It I can’t say nice things (which I can almost always find) I won’t say anything at all. I don’t tell people when I’m reading their books. Ionia Martin at ReadfulThings is an awesome book blogger. Rosie Amber is, too, she has a whole team.

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