Ask Me Anything – Saying No & Negative Reviews

This question comes from Liz @ Fictional Candy

How do you say “no” to an author, publisher, editor whose book you don’t want to read? Or even harder, after you’ve started reading and realized you aren’t going to want to continue, or can not give them a positive review?

Saying “no”:

When I first started getting requests to review books I accepted all of them and read all of them even if it was a book I would not normally choose to read.  I was thrilled just to be asked to review their book and found some wonderful new books & authors.

Unfortunately it didn’t take long before I could no longer keep up this practice because I had too many requests.

I wish I could still say yes to every request but I don’t want to waste an author’s money by having them send me a book I don’t have time to read and review.  I’ve become very selective in the books I accept.  Unless it is a book I am planning to read I usually reply that I am currently at least 6 months out on reviews and not accepting anything new at this time.  There are a lot of books I would love to read that look appealing but I can only read so many books each year.  So more often than not I have to turn down a request for a book I would like to read.

I do want authors to know that it doesn’t hurt to ask!  Currently I usually only accept books from authors and publishers I have worked with in the past but once in a while a book jumps out at me and I agree to review it.

I maintain a spreadsheet of readers who are accepting books to review. (See Post HERE).  Whether I accept a book or not I include a link to that spreadsheet so they can find other reviewers who might be a good fit for their book.

If it looks like I book my readers might enjoy I include information about having the book featured on my site by doing an interview & giveaway.

Negative Reviews
I rarely write a negative review.  If I can’t get through a book I usually stop reading so a review never gets written.  This hasn’t happened very often but when it does I just email the author and say this book wasn’t for me so I am not going to review it.

Here is a couple of examples of email I’ve sent:

Thank you for asking me to review your book.  Unfortunately I didn’t love the book so I’m going to hold off on reviewing it for now.  I’m sure there is an audience who will enjoy your book but it just wasn’t for me.  If you would still like a review posted I will go ahead write one.


Thank you for asking me to review your book. Unfortunately this book just wasn’t for me and I was unable to finish it.

You can add more details if you would like but try to be as kind as possible.  Authors put their heart and soul into their work and even though they try to have “thick skin” negative reviews hurt.

So what do you do if you have to post a review of a book you didn’t love?
Try to find something positive about it. I don’t claim to be the expert at doing this.  I’d much rather skip a review all together but there are times I’ve had to post a review because I agreed to do so for an ARC tour or Blog Tour.

Here are a few example of reviews I wrote on books I didn’t love or couldn’t finish.
My Journey

I hope that helps a little.

Please leave a comment if you have any ideas on how to say no or what you do when you have to write a review for a book you didn’t like.

Do you have a question for me? Send me an email toobusyreading(at)gmail(dot)com or fill out the form below.