The book business is entirely subjective, but, even though, as a reader, I know a writer can’t possibly please everyone, as an author, I still strive to do so. I know I'll never achieve this and it typically doesn’t bother me all that much. This past week, however, was a bit different.
I’m finishing up my current book tour, grateful for all the positive reviews, but today, I had to gird myself for a possible bad one. Now, I’m not sure what or even if this blogger will post. I’m hopeful she won’t actually, because, according to her Goodreads updates and the tweets she directed at me, she stopped reading just shy of the fifty yard line, probably throwing my book against the proverbial wall before deleting it from her TBR list.
I know exactly the point at which she stopped reading, the most pivotal scene in the entire book. Many reviewers have described my novel as a rollercoaster ride. Well, that scene is THE big drop, and a real doozy, too, the one that makes you gasp and scream
Thing is, that scene is the reason I wrote the book in the first place, asking the question: What could make a genuinely good man commit a violent crime, something unspeakable? Because, on a personal level, I really, really needed to understand.
It’s like Bud White, Russell Crowe’s character in LA Confidential. He’s this muscly, tough-guy cop who hates men that abuse women. After all, when Bud was a child, his father tied him to a radiator and forced him to watch as he beat Bud’s mother to death. But then later, Bud himself is pushed over the edge and beats his girlfriend, becoming the very thing he despises most in this world.
I needed to understand how that was possible, how a man could go against everything he stands for. And I needed to know how he manages to live with that choice.
But this reviewer, whom I asked to join my tour based on the books she's read and her past reviews, got to that pivotal scene and…that was it. She couldn’t take it. The hero had overstepped, gone over to the dark side. And, apparently, she wasn’t interested in his redemption.
I found this confusing, because, among countless other erotic novels, she read and awarded 5 stars to Consequences, a book about a man who rufies and kidnaps a woman, then forces her to submit to him, body and soul. But it’s okay because, for whatever reason, she kind of likes it and even marries him. *rolls eyes*
So why the double standard when, in my book, it doesn’t go anywhere near that far, and, what does happen, only happens once, and by mistake, too? I’ll tell you why. Because my victim didn’t like it. She wasn’t into it. That’s why.
My novel is not erotic BDSM and is not meant to appeal to those who are into that whole she-didn’t-have-a-choice-but-she-liked-it-anyway sort of thing. So I’m disillusioned, because this reviewer, who, I might add, has considerable influence, knew this was a psychological thriller with this type of undertone, and she signed on for the tour. Yet now, she won’t follow through.
I think it’s fine to hate a book, including mine. God knows, I hate many books I’ve tried to read. But I also don’t think it’s fair to review a book if you haven’t actually read it all the way through. I bought a book over the weekend that several romance bloggers were raving about, but I ended up returning it a few hours later because I felt the writing was poor, and, to be honest, it was boring. It just wasn’t for me.
But still, I would never, ever think to judge that book publicly, to rate or review it, since I hadn’t actually read much of it. I’ve had this happen to me once before on Goodreads, and worse? I just saw it happen again recently to a friend, as well. That pissed me off.
It’s not fair. And it’s not cool.
This is the author’s life and work, his or her blood, sweat, and tears, not to mention their reputation, and some reviewers are trashing it WITHOUT having even read it to the end.
I’m sorry, but…I’m not okay with that. Are you?
Post script: The blogger did not review my book, which greatly relieves me. Also, this post is my opinion solely on reviewing and rating without having actually finished the book. However, I do think it's fine to say publicly that you couldn't get through it for whatever reason. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.