Why I Will Not Review Your Book

It really is nothing personal, and I do not turn down the opportunity to read a new story very often, but sometimes I do. And then the author takes it personally. Like I did not feel their story was worthy of my time, or I felt the description was so bad that I could not even stand the thought of opening it.

That is not the case. 99% of the time it is because they have written a book on a subject that I have no knowledge of, and my lack of knowledge is not going to allow me to write a fair review. I will get to that other 1% in a minute. But if you have written a book about birds of South America, or Buddhism, or aliens, you do not want me writing a review. Do I have anything against the birds of South America, or Buddhists, or aliens? Nope. None of the previously mentioned have ever done anything to me. But I do not know anything about them. So no; I do not generally read science fiction. There are some Sci-Fi stories that I have read, but the story was also steeped in other information that allowed me to get lost in it, and enjoy the story the way the author surely hoped I would.

It has nothing to do with the story, or the author, or the quality of their writing. It’s not you, it’s me

Now; about that other 1%. I have read a couple completely unbearable books in the past year, and most of you know that I really do not try to say bad things about writers, or their stories. If I can’t say anything nice, I prefer to keep my mouth shut. But once I tell you that I will not be reading and reviewing your book, you should probably just leave it be. It is the unfortunate author who feels the need to blow up my email account and say unkind things that is likely to get an honest, horrible review of their book posted for the whole-wide-web to find and read.

Those of you whom I have been in contact with, whose stories I have purchased or you sent to me, and have not seen a review yet; I have not forgotten. And I will get it done. Sometimes life just happens to get in the way of my free time. Many do not realize that I have a full-time 45+ hours-a-week job, am the single parent to 4 daughters (3 still at home), and go to college when it strikes my fancy. I also have a couple other pans in the fire that need my attention from time-to-time.

I want, and appreciate, the gentle nudges you send me to ask about your review. Please continue to do so. I love to read. It is my one escape that allows me to relax, unwind, de-stress, and forget about my 17 year old driving my car all over town, my 23 year old stressing over paying for college classes, my 13 year old video chatting with 16 year old boys 3000 miles away, and my 10 year old who has no more responsibilities than to feed her guinea pig, yet gets mad at me because I forgot to do it for her.

I am grateful for my patient and understanding authors and followers, and it really is my goal to help promote and encourage as many of you as I am able to. Your stories truly do bring me joy, happiness, and adventure, and without them, I cannot even begin to imagine how much more difficult I would be for others to have to deal with!

So please keep writing, so I can keep reading!

22 thoughts on “Why I Will Not Review Your Book

  1. ARRivera April 23, 2015 / 6:54 pm

    Blow up your email account?
    Say unkind things?
    Authors actually do that?
    Dear Lord.
    Has no one heard of requesting reviews from persons with the inclination to read the genre in which you,the author, writes?
    I thought that was day 1 stuff. Why would I, the author whose requesting a service, request said service from someone who doesn’t event like the subjects my book covers?
    You’re right to refuse them. And you’re double right if they turn into buttheads afterward.

    • Angela April 23, 2015 / 6:57 pm

      I had one especially tenacious author who would just not let it go. I had to tell them that if I heard from them one more time, I was posting their review. Most authors are more than gracious as we all want them to be, but once in a while one falls through the cracks and gets loose 🙂

  2. Michael J. Wood April 23, 2015 / 7:20 pm

    Love your sense of humor, and I empathize..reading work that is way off the mark is a tedious task, which I know well, from my professional experience as a reader in the film industry.

    Your opinions on this blog seem right-on to me. For that reason, I’d love your help with something, if you have a tiny bit of time:

    I’m in between novels right now, and am having an impossible time deciding which of three partially finished novels I should finish and release first.

    So, I’m setting up a poll for the next two weeks, giving the power totally to the audience. If you have a little bit of time today, would you read the beginnings of each of my potential novels, then vote for which novel you’d most like to see released? (You can also just look at the concepts, if you don’t have time to read the samples – that would only take a few minutes). Two are mysteries, one is YA with magical realism.

    If you’re up to it, you can read and vote here: http://michaeljwoodwriting.com.

    Thanks so much!


    • Angela April 23, 2015 / 7:32 pm

      I would love to help you out! I will take a look at them right now and I can be reached at angi.gibbs@yahoo.com if you have further information or questions. Best of luck to you!

  3. The Behrg April 23, 2015 / 9:22 pm

    This was a brilliant post. Sad that some things have to be S-P-E-L-L-E-D out for those who don’t get it with a simple “thanks, but no thanks.”

    As an author I’m so appreciative of anyone who will dedicate their time to reading my work. At the same time you have to know up front that most people won’t – we all have our lives and responsibilities and the few quiet moments we extract should be spent reading something we WANT to read not something we have to force ourselves to get through.

    Kudos to you for the patience you had with this author and a collective apology from all of us out there who do appreciate the time readers spend on our work.

    • Angela April 23, 2015 / 10:30 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and share your thoughts!

  4. Keisha Renee April 23, 2015 / 11:36 pm

    You are hilarious! I love how someone wants to ask your opinion and then hates on you for giving it all the while being completely unappreciative of the time you spent reading the mess haha. I am a new writer…working on my very first novel. Blogging the book as I have learned to call it.
    It’s people like you that I want to follow and network with because I want to grow as a writer! If you happen upon my page and read any of it…feel free to criticize! haha That’s why I’m blogging it. Testing the water and gaining some confidence!
    Keep on Keeping on! And God Bless you for raising girls!

    • Angela April 24, 2015 / 4:51 am

      Thanks for stopping by Keisha!

  5. Caryl McAdoo April 24, 2015 / 1:30 am

    You are an awesome reviewer. And it’s HARD to tell someone their work isn’t up to par – as an editor, I’m put in that position a lot. The other day in a FB group, one young author whined about not having nay reviews and no one offering to review it either – could someone tell her why? What she could do…

    SO, having the helper’s heart, I go to Amazon and open her books and start reading – no hook, passive voice, no point of view, and just poor writing, all the usual newbie mistakes…and once upon a time before being mentored by some mahvelous published authors weekly for six years. I was QUEEN Newbie and made all those mistakes and more.

    SO – I go back and PM her and ask if she really wants to hear. Yes Yes Yes she says. So I give her a long dissertation being as kind and gentile as possible tell her she needs to study her craft and that her work really shouldn’t be published yet. It wasn’t ready. And I got back tons of ya da da da – how her writing Ya da da da… Where she’s studied and ya da da da…I kept saying I was only trying to help.

    Some people can’t take critique – I count critique a wonderful blessing! Some people can’t take an ‘honest’ review either. I admit I didn’t like this ONE STAR review I got “Got it free, haven’t read it yet.” Doesn’t she know that brings an author’s average down? Anyway – – – consider yourself HUGGED! Blessings from Texas!

    • Angela April 24, 2015 / 10:26 am

      Thanks Caryl 🙂 I have started your latest novel, and will be in touch soon with the review! Warmest regards, and thanks for sharing your experience with this as well!

  6. helenwaldron April 24, 2015 / 5:48 am

    Hi Angela,
    Nice to hear such a long post from you again. 🙂
    I’m completely on your side, and I think you have expressed yourself very gently in the circumstances!
    It’s a pity how people can forget themselves online sometimes.
    BTW was “distressed” a Freudan slip? You meant “de-stressed”, I think!

    • Angela April 24, 2015 / 6:08 am

      I changed it as soon as I posted and updated it. I guess I better go check it again LOL! Thanks!

      • helenwaldron April 24, 2015 / 6:21 am

        Don’t worry, somebody recently shared one of my blog posts, got my name wrong and …the wrong name keeps coming back!

      • Angela April 24, 2015 / 6:25 am

        Technology; what can you do? 🙂

  7. jan April 24, 2015 / 1:47 pm

    I used to write reviews for just about anyone who asked but then I realized most of the writers I reviewed did not return the favor and I was raised too polite to say anything. To even ask for reviews causes me to break out in hives!

  8. Sally Ember, Ed.D. April 24, 2015 / 3:28 pm

    Hi, Angela,

    Sheesh! I don’t have one South American bird ANYWHERE in my entire Buddhist and aliens series (yet). You are SO picky!

    Best to you,


    • Angela April 24, 2015 / 4:28 pm

      I know Sally. I can be completely difficult and impossible to deal with 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  9. JeffC May 9, 2015 / 2:48 pm

    Hi Angela

    Thanks for having a read of the early parts of my new book (Dreams and Shadows), and Liking it. At the risk of being ironic given the topic of this post, would you like to review my novel?

    I note you’ve reviewed some other fantasy, so hopefully the genre would work for you? At the moment I just have it in electronic format.

    Thanks again

    • Angela May 10, 2015 / 8:01 pm

      I would like to read your novel Jeff. Contact me via my email, I believe you have it already. Thanks!

  10. conniecockrell May 16, 2015 / 11:32 am

    lol, sorry about the trolls. It’s a shame, really. Many thanks for stopping by my blog.

  11. A. J. Lee May 16, 2015 / 1:56 pm

    Thank you Angela for stopping bye. Have a great weekend AJ

  12. bhdandme May 18, 2015 / 4:39 am

    You’ve got the right idea here! Thanks for liking the blog btw…

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