Braine runs a fantastic book blog, and earlier this month posted a great question:
“What is the lesser of two evils: a “DNF” (Did Not Finish) or a low rating?”
As a writer, I do prefer a “DNF” over a poor review, especially if the book is not a genre the reviewer would normally enjoy, or if the plot or tension moves differently than one prefers. A “not for me” doesn’t hurt ratings for what seems like personal tastes; and I love the critic that suggests who the book might appeal to, or passes it on to another reviewer who might be more likely to finish it.
As a reader, I appreciate the warning of a low rating on a book with bad writing or grammar, or an inconsistent plot or characters, especially on a traditionally published book that I’m expected to pay more money for.
As a reviewer, I do judge self-published books on a different set of criteria than trad-pubbed. When I go to the local handmade pizza joint in the neighborhood, I don’t complain when the crust is a little lumpy, or the sauce has a stray chunk of tomato. I’m looking for a fresh unique taste and the rustic service adds to the experience. If I’m driving “uptown” to the four star restaurant, I expect the linen tablecloth and the fancy garnish. And yes, I’ve cancelled the entree and left if the appetizer was awful.
Anybody else want to weigh in?