One of the benefits of being an author is knowing lots of other authors, many of which will offer free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review. You have a direct line to the author. It’s completely different than buying a book directly from the bookstore. In my opinion, receiving an ARC comes with a lot more responsibilities as a reader.
Let me explain. You just received an ARC or free copy for review. You’ve read the book, but there are… issues. What do you do?
Here’s what I do.
I agonize over what to say to the author. I weigh and measure what I should take into consideration and what not to. Is the book already published and available for purchase? Am I reading the final version, or is this a draft? The author may still have a last proofread and final edits to do.
It’s never easy to tell someone you have found flaws in something they’ve worked so hard on. You don’t want to hurt their feelings, but at the same time, it’s important to communicate the information to the writer. If you don’t tell them, how are they going to know?
Here are my tips to giving a critique on an ARC or free review copy.
1. Be honest. This is the most important and sometimes the hardest thing to do.
2. Send your feedback privately. There’s no need to post all the issues you found in a public review. If you received an ARC, you have direct contact with the author. Send a private message or email.
3. Be humble. Tell the author what you liked and what you would like to see more of. A pill is a lot easier to swallow with a little honey.
4. Be respectful. Explain to the author your comments are not meant to not to hurt, but to help them. It’s up to them to decide what to do with them.
5. Don’t be a Yes Man. It does no one any good to inflate their ego by telling them their book was amazing if there were issues that you should have mentioned. Their book may be a two star in its current state, but with a few revisions could be a five star.
In the long run, most authors will appreciate your honest feedback. Some may not.
In the end, wouldn’t you want to know? I would rather have the honest feedback and decide what to do with it than read it in a review. What about you? Would you keep the information to yourself or tell the author?
For more on this subject read my blog post Supporting Authors- The Ugly Truth.
You can find me and all my links online at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com Thanks for reading.