Dhawal's Blog -8- My Dilemma with reviewing books.

I was looking to talk about this with one of my friends and had called up a few but I realised many were busy in their own lives ( for which I have no hard feelings and I appreciate the honesty. ) and weren't reading the reviews I had posted.

One of my friends J.T, who does read each and every review or article I post told me that my reviews are being boring and monotonous from past few weeks. At that time I had excused out myself by saying, ' I have to watch out for not giving spoilers' but later I realised what was wrong and where were the things going wrong.

Reading books was something I loved to do. Talking about the nice reads I had or things I had to discuss from my new reads is something I used to do naturally. Hence, I thought why not help authors as well as try building it as an editorial-critique business. I have been judging contests and it my reading experience made it much easier and quicker for me to read and critique upon stories, articles, plot ideas and what not. I thought why limit this wonderful thing with just friends and not spread it around. Hence from there I got the idea of reviewing and talking about books.

Writing a review is very hard when you compare it with a situation when you are talking to your friend or a person who asked you for a critique and when you are just throwing your unwanted opinions in the air. It makes a lot of difference which I realised as I completed a year as a professional reviewer.

Reviewing books comes out as a very different approach when you are doing it in open market. While here you have to keep in mind that you don't bash the book, don't make enemies with the publisher as well as the author as that will affect you getting review copies and at times some authors ask you not to rate books below a certain star limits even if it is a total crap. Yes, I mean it, crap. Now, I know some moral policing officers will say that don't break author's heart and blah blah. But the fact is that when you are bringing out your work in public you can't be someone telling people to say only good about your work and praise it.

Then comes the topic of getting review copies in exchange of providing reviews on a number of places. One person who calls himself my friend asked me if I read so many books or they are fake reviews? I just answered why don't you read the reviews I write and find out yourself? Even though you are putting a tagline that you are writing an honest review, mentally somewhere you have to take care that you don't literally drive people away from buying the book because reviews are meant to drive people to read books and not to drive them away.

I am one of those who can't resist being honest and that being one of the reasons people do read and appreciate books I used to recommend. But as I started reviewing things began to change. I had to cut out all negatives and speak only of positives, hence my reviews got boring. Spoilers were just my excuse to get out of it without feeling guilty about hiding the truth and not being totally honest.

I realised this fact when I got to read 4 books back to back while I totally loved and then a book which wasn't bad but and was okayish but I literally rewrote the post 5 times to avoid appearing bashing in that review ( My last 5 reviews). That was the moment I realised that reviewing for fun and things you like is different than reviewing as a pro reader.

I might be good as a beta reader to help before the thing gets published but I think I am not the one who can possibly take a review copy and hide the half truth from ones who actually trust my recommendations. I am in a dilemma whether I should continue to write reviews or just stop altogether.

That's when my Author friend Durriya Kapasi and say one of member from my 'council of advisors' (pun intended) told me to select the books carefully that I take up for reviewing. Honestly, I had literally bashed her book when I had caught upon the lamest plot holes in her story and we both laughed together on it. She has taken on my harshest of criticisms and I am happy that the second book was a lovely one when she improved on those plot holes. She told me, I just should choose a book which I would possibly like and there are less chances of me having to write a half truth review.

I thought on this thing for a week and now I am writing this. I don't know who will read this and who won't but I just wanted this out of my system. I think reviewing books will go on backside for now. I will review books but from My Personal Collection. I might take one or two review copies here and there if I find some good ones but I think I don't want my website to be all about reviews. I started this to focus on my writing and not talking about other's writing and trying to find faults in them.

I am ranting this out here because I feel you as a reader who is reading this is more of my friend and connects with me more than anyone else out there. You are the one who has been commenting and constantly guiding me. I will just finish with the copies I have lined up and then probably stop taking review copies altogether. I feel bad when someone is just sending me a book and I am not being able to critique on it with my fullest of knowledge.

Forward from this, I would be focusing more on writing my own books than commenting on others. I'd post reviews for the books which I will buy or I have bought and might be exception for a few good books I might encounter in future but being a pro-reviewer  ends here.

Apart from that I have added a few tags like 'recommended reads','from my personal collection','sponsored' so you can see which ones are review copies, books I recommend and books I personally own. You can click on those tags to search books with that tag. I felt like I had to come clean and I did. Less than 15% of my posts are sponsored and average I got is 30 Rs per post.So you can do the math for all this hassle. My domain name charges me more than whatever I got from reviewing. Happy now, Mr doubting my reviews. ( I wish I could take his name and tag is profiles here but he is a fellow digital marketer and I don't wanna throw dirt on him. Taking an eye for an eye gets the world blind.)

Disclaimer : I have poured my heart out about the dilemma that I was facing from a long time. Judge me all you want. But I can't feel good being a freeloader commenting on things when I had no part in its creating or consuming process. It's just me.

Do comment and share your thoughts about it! I'd love to know what do you think. Also, I'd keep updating it quite often so do follow the Website to get all the updates by clicking here.

Also, a minor headsup.... Obsessed is free to read on Kindle Unlimited! Do check it out. I'd be glad to read your reviews!
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