Hey guys. Welcome to another instalment of Discuss with Danielle!
Today I want to talk about something that’s been playing on my mind since I became a reviewer and I wanted your input.
I love to beta read books for authors and friends, if you have written something and you need someone to look over it? I’m your girl! What can I say? I love giving my opinion and love it even more when people take my advice on board lol (just ask my friends!)
One of the main reasons I love to beta read is because I get to see a book take shape, I see the changes, I see how much work an author puts into it and it staggers me every time I read their work and see how their talent is put to such amazing use. I also love to be able to discuss how a story should progress and work out any issues I think as a reader would raise my hackles.
When an author takes your input and implements it…that’s an awesome thing. It’s a huge show of respect and trust for your opinion and something that should be honoured and respected and is very highly by me. I am so grateful to the authors over the years who have entrusted their work to me and taken my opinion on board.
Which brings me to my issue…
When I’m on Goodreads and checking out books to add to my (ever growing) TBR, on occasion I see ratings from people who mention they beta-read the book and I’m like “cool whatever” but then sometimes I go back and I see that mention of “beta read” has been replaced by a full-on review that is more often than not glowing and it.just.doesn’t sit right with me…
If you beta-read a book, you’re giving an opinion that will more than likely shape the outcome of that book so then if you later review it, don’t you have a vested interest in that book’s success? Are you more likely to praise that book because you know how much work has gone into it (and perhaps in the back of your mind thinking about your own time and effort not just the author’s)? Isn’t your opinion essentially tainted?
As a reviewer, you read the book with fresh eyes, your opinions are shaped by your reading and not by anyone else’s (on another note isn’t this why many reviewers refuse to read reviews of a book they haven’t read yet to guard against their opinion being swayed and unconsciously plagiarising?) so you can honestly assess the book’s strengths and weaknesses. If you’ve beta read the book are you impartial? Can you be?
I personally don’t think so, I will not review a book that I beta read. I know it too well. I have developed a relationship with the author, we have discussed how to make the book stronger, what to cut, how to develop the characters more. Can I honestly review that book without being swayed by my previous experience with it? I don’t think so…what do you think?
Is it okay to review something you have a personal interest in its success? Do you think it matters? Is a 5 star review from a beta reader the same as those reviews on Amazon that are clearly from friends and family “I don’t usually read this type of book…but something made me pick it up…wow, just wow. It’s AMAZING”, I’m sure you’ve seen them too.
My reason for writing this post is because I don’t think I could be impartial. I can be a beta reader or a reviewer but not both. I can promo the book in other ways, Release Day Blasts, Excerpts, Giveaways…all of which I think are personally fine but for me, in good conscience, I do not think I could post a review that was 100% honest. Could you?
Let me know what you think!