Five Possible Reasons Why I Didn’t Endorse Your Novel

This title could also be used for a few other things. Why I didn’t influence for your novel. Why I didn’t review your novel. I’m going to go from the most important reason to the least.

Writing1I think it’s helpful to give actual reasons for this. When I first started in publishing, I felt sad and perhaps a little rejected when someone didn’t review my work or fulfill a promise they made. Now that I have 1 1/2 feet in the publishing industry (I’m one of those authors still working a “real” job on the side) I have a lot more insight into why people may opt out of my request.

#1: Time. This is definitely the number one influencer on whether or not I do any of the things listed above. It’s a reality for most authors that they are working a “real” job to support their family. It is an expectation of publishers that you build a platform, build a social media presence, and market your novel. That’s a learning curve for most so our “extra time” is spent working on learning, doing and perfecting these things. Reading for fun and helping other author’s promote their work falls to the bottom of the time consumption list. In reality, if an author did take the time to do any of these things for you, they gave up something else to do it. Be grateful . . . always.

#2: I didn’t like it. Reading is art and art is subjective. I’ve read novels by people I really liked but I didn’t love their work. If I’m good friends with them, I’ll probably provide an explanation. We as writers need to learn to emotionally separate what we put on the page from a personal attack against our person. Just because I didn’t like your book doesn’t mean I don’t like you. Also, this doesn’t hold true for all the author’s work. A good friend of mine chose not to endorse the first book of my trilogy. She kindly reviewed the subsequent books and gave glowing endorsements. If I don’t say anything to you, it’s likely because I think you can’t take criticism in a healthy way and I don’t want to deal with the fall out.

#3: The book went against my platform. This is different than #2. There are some books I’ve liked, but I couldn’t support because of the platform I’ve built– which is medical accuracy in fiction. My blog, Redwood’s Medical Edge, deals with how to write medically accurate novels. If your book has something entirely medically inaccurate, even if I love the story, I can’t endorse it. It would make me look foolish. It would be like a pro-life person endorsing a pro-choice book. In this instance, it doesn’t mean I won’t review it or even influence for it but I’ll generally comment on the medical details falling short in those cases.

#4: You sent me the book without asking. This drops you to the bottom of the list pretty quickly. If I get a book in the mail and didn’t accept a request to review it, I’ll likely not get to it. Often, it’s not something I would read anyway and I’m very picky about what I read because my “fun” reading time has been drastically cut short.

#5: The first five pages didn’t engage me.  There are plenty of books I start that are good in the beginning but leave me feeling ambivalent in the end but I do end up finishing them. However, if you don’t grab me in the first five pages, I don’t have time to get through the rest. I was recently asked to review a book that was published by a smaller press and the novel was edited (because the author credits two editors in the front of the novel) but the novel was difficult to read. Meandering, no conflict, no idea where the story was headed.

If you’re a published author (indie or traditional)– what are some reasons you’ve chosen not to read, review, influence or endorse a book?

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10 thoughts on “Five Possible Reasons Why I Didn’t Endorse Your Novel

  1. Thank you for including #4, Jordyn. I’ve felt guilty for not posting a review for a couple books from an author, but I was never asked if I wanted to review them. They just arrived in the mail one day. I had all kinds of excuses why I didn’t review either book (a combination of your other points!), but the experience turned me off. Now I’m reluctant to read anything from that author or even from that publisher.

    Great points.

  2. Hi Jordyn. Great post. I’m at the point now where I’m being asked to endorse books. While very gratifying, I always do so with the understanding that I may choose to endorse the book–or not–AFTER I’ve read the work (especially if it’s a new author). I stand strong on certain criteria for my own novels. If a book contains something I wouldn’t personally include in my own books, I won’t endorse it. I recently had to tell an author that I could endorse one book (from a publisher with whom I’m familiar) but not the other (from a publisher I hadn’t heard of before), and I detailed the reasons why. I told her if she or her editor ever decided to drop a certain element (a very easy “fix”), I could endorse it. I haven’t heard back from her. That saddens me, but when I endorse a book, I’m telling my readers it’s not going to shock them or be anything that they wouldn’t read in one of my own books. Blessings, and thanks again for this very interesting post.

    • I’m with you, JoAnn. I absolutely only endorse books that I have read from cover to cover. It actually surprises me when I’m asked– “Can I just write this quote and put your name on it?” I wonder if this happens to “BIG” name authors.

  3. I have declined for all those reasons–and have communicated (or not communicated!) those declines for many of the listed reasons! Great list. I have also been known to decline endorsing or reviewing a book simply because I am bored with the setting or subgenre. That sort of decline is not at all a comment on the author or the work, however–it’s a comment on my personal reading tastes. Because CBA publishes such a glut of historical romance (especially prairie/Texas/Westward/civil war…), and those are rarely my first choices for pleasure reading (what is that, again?) 😉 I go through phases of “Please, no more historicals!” because I’m just sick to death of the setting, personally. But that’s just me. 🙂

    • Serena,

      I totally get your points on genre. I’m a suspense girl and rarely read historical as well. Or women’s contemporary. Or romance. You get the picture. ;).

  4. Great post!! I seemed to have hit the jackpot in the last month–getting 2-3 or more a week. Time is definitely the biggest factor. And like you with #3 and medical elements, I am the same with military elements. So many times, I’ve been asked to read simply because the author decided to make a hero or heroine military or prior military, yet they didn’t do their due diligence to make sure those military elements and their subsequent elements were accurate/plausible. And this might fall into #3 or what Serena mentioned, but I won’t read a book for possible endorsement that is not within my genre (suspense/thriller).

  5. Great reasons and I’ll add another–the author isn’t particularly a “nice” person to deal with in the blogging community. Maybe they don’t show up to the blog to comment back, when they said they would, or they may be snarky. Just because you write Christian fiction it doesn’t mean you behave well. Just sayin’!

    • That’s true, Carrie. I’ve had “christian” authors not follow-up and do their prize give-aways and I had to cover the cost for them to make it up to the reader of my blog.

  6. This should be mandatory reading for every debut author. This is what they don’t tell you in author school. Oh wait – we don’t have author school 🙂 Learning to say no has been vital to my sanity. I’ve received requests for everything from paranormals to hillbilly stories – SO far away from my WWII genre. And like you with your medical accuracy (bless you!) and Ronie with her military accuracy, I built my platform on historical accuracy. Three times this year, I declined to endorse/influence for WWII novels due to glaring historical inaccuracies. Not the nitpicky facts only a true WWII buff will notice (I won’t even mention those), but huge ones. In good conscience I can’t recommend these novels to my readers, and I don’t.

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