Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Authors' Reaction to Book Reviews and DNF

“In my reviews, I feel it's good to make it clear that I'm not proposing objective truth, but subjective reactions..."  Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert was a great American film critic who, along with the equally great Gene Siskel, awarded “Two Thumbs Up” to deserving films. Ebert was considered the most influential and powerful film pundit in America.

Though I don’t review films, I follow Ebert’s “relative, not absolute" approach when reviewing indie books. But sometimes, authors react as if reviews are absolute truths.

The way I see it, a review is really an exercise in reaction and counter-reaction:

When a book gets a glowing 5-star review...

When a book gets a 4-star review...

When a book gets a 3-star review...

 When a book gets a 2-star review...


 When a book gets a 1-star review

 And the ultimate reaction when a book is marked 'DID NOT FINISH' (or DNF)

I’m no authority  in indie book reviews (not by any stretch of the imagination), but  I feel that I need to make a stand on DNF. 

Some reviewers consider "Did Not Finish" as a review in itself. I DON'T. 

I believe that marking a book as DNF is OK. But marking a book as DNF and posting scathing remarks in Amazon, Goodreads, and blogs is a disservice to the readers.

It's just...

To me, preliminary reactions and impressions on the first 10 pages of the book do not qualify as a review. 

I'd like to hear what authors and reviewers have to say about reactions to book reviews and DNF. Post your comments! 


  1. Replies
    1. PS, thanks for the comment. I wrote this because of your post on bad reviews.

    2. I kind of figured that. lol Great job!

  2. Speaking as an author, it's really hard to read a bad review and not take it personally. I've not come across DNF before; you're right, DNF in itself is not a review, but even without an accompanying scathing review, us authors can get awful upset if we think somebody doesn't love our baby enough to find out what happened in the end. Or is that just me?

    Speaking as a reader, it seems perfectly reasonable to be honest about a book; I want to say, "just because I didn't like your book doesn't make it a bad book, especially if other readers actually loved it."

    1. Thanks for your comments, Wendy.
      I can only imagine how upsetting it is for authors. I think some people find enjoyment in posting disparaging remarks about books they didn't finish.

      I agree with you. It's perfectly okay to have a difference in opinion. Case in point: 'The Fault in Our Stars' I didn't like it one bit. But thousands love it.

  3. Unless a reader has read further than the 75% marker, I don't see how any review of a book can be accurate. Characters grow and story lines intensify over the course of a novel. While I have no problem with a DNF in itself (hey, we all like different stuff), I do have a hard time with a scathing review accompanying a DNF. To me it is somewhat petty and hurtful. However, people must like a good bit of drama because those are the reviews that garner the most likes on book lovers' sites.

  4. Haha, I love the pics. Great visuals! I agree, DNF can't be reviewed. The reviewer doesn't know how it ended. I have a granddaughter who has been known to throw a book across the room because one of her favourite characters was killed. She really gets into her books, lol.

  5. I'll put it this way - what would people think if Roger Ebert watched ten minutes of a movie, walked out, and then gave it a lousy review? Even he couldn't get away with that kind of crap.

    I think it's acceptable to mark a book DNF if you really couldn't stand it, but you have to read enough of it to justify leaving a review if you're going to go into any detail as to why it sucked.