Historical and Contemporary Romance Author

I Love You, but I Didn’t Love Your Book

I have to say, one of the hardest things for me about having many friends who are also writers is that there are writers who I dearly love on a personal level, but whose books, for whatever reason, just don’t work for me. I actually live in a kind of perpetual dread of the release of my dearest writer friends’ books, because I want to love them, but sometimes, I don’t, and then I feel stuck. Can I tell you, my dear friend, that I didn’t like your book and STILL be your friend? Should I lie and say I loved it? Hedge? Or just say nothing at all?

Now, I have to say that if one of my friends (writer or not) told me she didn’t care for one (or even all) of my books, I would not hate her. I would not cut her off and refuse to speak to her ever again. I would still consider her a friend and be happy that she felt she could be honest with me, because I value honesty above empty flattery. And I actually believe, in my heart of hearts, that most of my writer friends feel the same way.

Still, it’s tricky, and one of the reasons I don’t review books and rarely ever really enthuse about a book online. I will do it in certain cases (Jeannie Lin’s Butterfly Swords is a recent example of a book I’m raving about, but although I’ve met Jeannie and consider her a friends, I didn’t know her before I heard about the book, so I feel a little more sanguine going ape over it), but by and large, I don’t talk a lot about the books I’ve read–whether I liked them or not–because I don’t want anyone to feel criticized by omission.

It’s a sort of crazy world I live in, then. Am I a lunatic? Too worried about the fragile feelings of others? Or just being prudent?1 I honestly can’t decide.

1I strongly suspect that posting this is not prudent, but I’m doing it anyway :).


  • Jody W. August 19, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    You do realize every friend who reads your blog right now is assuming you hate their books, right? *laugh*

  • Jackie Barbosa August 19, 2010 at 3:50 pm


    I KNOW! That’s why I said I wasn’t sure posting it was prudent. LOL.

  • Ericka Scott August 19, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Ahhhh! You hate my books! — Oh, you weren’t talking about me and mine? Whew…or were you? LOL.

    If you hate my books, that’s okay by me. I’d rather a friend be honest than not. But that’s me…

  • Sarah Barimen August 19, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    By this point, I’ve run into just enough people who didn’t like my writing, or at least didn’t like it well enough to comment, that I’m pretty much inured to it. I know some people will never like my writing. Some will. My mom does, and no it’s not just because she’s my mom – she’s a very fun audience! But a dear lady friend was absolutely tepid about it, and clearly only reading because I had asked her to. She apologized for not reading. But…the last thing I’d want to do is to keep urging her to read something she dislikes, in the name of friendship, for that way resentment lies.

    If you hate my writing? There are a million other authors in the world. I’m not going to take it personally. And if you love it? I’ll try not to overwhelm you with geeking about it! 😀

  • Jackie Barbosa August 19, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    LOL, Ericka and Sarah–I think it’s safe to say that since I’ve critted or beta read for you, I don’t hate your writing. If I did, I would have TOLD you at the time I was critting or beta reading. I wouldn’t wait until it was published to hate it ;).

  • JOYE August 22, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    My advice would be to ask your friend if she wants you to critique one of her books and say you would give her a fair evaluation. After all, what are friends for?


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