Confessions of a Bookaholic: On Authors and Review Copies

So recently I got my first few review copies from authors. And although I was excited, one of the first things that struck me was: What if I hate this book?

I’m not saying here that receiving a free copy influenced any of my reviews at all. In fact, I told myself to be more truthful than usual (which, guys, is saying something since I try to tell the truth as much as possible) because I owed the truth not only to my readers but also to the author.

The thing is, though, I don’t like getting review copies from authors. Don’t get me wrong, I love the books themselves, but I don’t like the idea of having a personal relationship with an author before I even start their book. If I read something and really enjoy it, I love telling authors on Twitter. I love saying things like OMG YOUR BOOK WAS SO GOOD I COULDN’T GET ENOUGH OF IT I NEED THE SEQUEL SO SO SO BAD. But if I write a bad review, I never ever tell the author that I hated their book. I never tag them when I post the review on Twitter. Because it’s mean. It’s like bullying. And I hate it.

In the end, I was 100% truthful when I wrote those reviews. I didn’t sugar coat anything, and I wasn’t any more tactful than usual. But I didn’t enjoy writing the bad and the so-so reviews and then having to send it to the author and wave it in their face and say, Hey, I didn’t like your book. This is what was wrong with it and I think you need to correct this. It stung, even to me.

This is why I don’t like getting review copies from authors. And I will continue to receive these review copies and continue to read them and post truthful reviews. But what this experience has taught me is not to form relationships with authors before reading their book. That I should reply to their email saying that yes, I will read their book, and thank you. Nothing beyond that before I start. It’s painful both for me and the author when we’ve become acquaintances and I need to tell them that I hated their story. No matter how much an author understands that not everybody will love their work once they make it public, it will still hurt.

Is this just me, or has anyone else encountered this problem?