This post is full of some hard truths.
When I became and author I made the decision to not leave “Did Not Finish” reviews, and will not currently leave anything less than 3 stars. Yes, reading is subjective, and not everyone will love your story, but the problem I see with DNF reviews is that a reader didn’t actually read through your whole book. Should they post about something they don’t know? That’s the question today.
As a writer, you’re going to catch a reviewer on a day that’s not–how shall I say it– good, and sometimes low stars and DNF reviews happen because a scapegoat is needed, and sometimes, you are the projection of their bad day. Other readers can spot these easily. Still, you spent months writing the book and are responsible for putting it out there, regardless of how people will react to it. You did this as a writer and you knew this day would come. It’s not like every single person will read it correctly either, don’t believe me? if you don’t know what I’m talking about yet, there is a review out there just waiting for you.
Some bloggers will give it to you straight and tell you if they post these types of reviews, but some won’t.
Sometimes it’s not straight forward. I once had a blogger tell me a book wasn’t for them and that they would post for a release day spotlight, and instead they left a DNF review. I also have great (and *cough* perfect) editorial reviews, so I guess it evens out in the long run. It was unprofessional for that reviewer to change their mind, and I think of book bloggers as professional people. Yes it’s a hobby, and yes they don’t get paid, but they spend so much time meticulously crafting a professional website, that it’s a shame to see a crack in the facade.
A DNF review to me says, “do not read this book, and though I couldn’t take the time to read it all, I decided to take time writing this review… for some reason.” I view the behavior as petty, which is the hard truth I am expressing today. It makes more sense to to spend your time writing about something you like a maybe boosting your affiliate income to keep your blog going. DNF reviews aren’t helping anyone in the long run, and if you post them, you’re wasting your time. It’s vindictive. I also think they chip away at your credibility and make you seem like a curmudgeon. If you like to save time by picking your battles, don’t be posting DNF reviews.
Not leaving a review says more than a DNF. By not mentioning the book at all, you really send your message home. No attention. No wasted words. And look at you being professional.
So what to do when you can’t finish a book? I’m thinking about 8/10 authors will tell you it’s okay to fill out a contact form or message them if you see errors, or if there is something you’re not following. I have a hard time with this myself, but am trying to be more honest, and the authors who want to improve will take your advice. If they don’t take your suggestions or hear you out, they’re not opening to growing, and then, maybe you have a very valid point.
Readers, do you post about DNF books and why?
Authors, do you like when readers politely point out errors?