DNF Titles & Reviews/Ratings
Something occurred this past week that prompted me to update my review guidelines. I am not going to posts any names, although I would love to give the author big kudos for being so relatable! I found myself unable to complete a review copy. Now, I have only failed to complete 2 other books in my life. I have this odd compulsive trait that makes it impossible not to see something through (actually not always a bad quality).
But here I was. I had made 3 generous attempts and failed. I believe it was a combination of several factors, but all aside I was not able to finish. I knew that if I pushed myself through, I would be miserable. The end review would be harsh, and no one was winning. So therein lied my next dilemma..
Like the rest of the book community, I pride myself in honest reviews. No matter how difficult, the truth is the truth. But I do not (this is a personal choice) believe in writing a review about a title I did not complete. I could most certainly mention the book and that it was a DNF. But I had also made a commitment to the author who sent me the book. What to do..what to do?
In the end, I realized that maybe I should update my policies to reflect that I do not review titles I do not finish. So I did. I feel confident in this decision. Then I decided it was time to reach out to the author. I sent an email trying to politely explain the situation and express that I understood I had promised a review in exchange for a copy. So I left it in the author’s hands. A). I can force myself to finish and proceed with an honest review or B). I could email some feedback directly to the author and we could accept it for what it was. I was not prepared for what followed.
I received a very nice email in return. The author explained that he learned long ago that life was too short and there are too many books. He stated that he normally gives a book 50 pages. He then suggested that I try the same and just move on if I still did not connect. He thanked me for trying! I am not sure what I expected, but this was not it. Ok.. fast forward to the middle of my week.
I think we have all read posts regarding when to DNF, etc. I saw several comments on various forums stating that you do not have to complete a title to review it. This left me scratching my head. Now please keep in mind that the following is my own opinion and in no way meant to be judgemental. As mentioned above, I cannot review titles I have not complete. Why? For several reasons:
- How do you know when you have read enough of a title to provide honest feedback and thorough review?
- For me, an ending can change everything. So if I haven’t seen it through, I just do not know.
- I feel dishonest writing a full review (not talking about a post on why it was a DNF) if I have not read a book in its entirety.
I understand a write-up providing feedback and why you are unable to complete a title, but I have seen anywhere from 2 to 4 stars on DNF’s. I think I might be missing something. A single star is the most I would ever be able to provide. This is acknowledgement of an attempt. So let’s talk about it.
- Do you have a set amount of pages you will try to read (or a percentage) before you will DNF a title? I always aim to push past 20%.
- Do you rate and provide full reviews for titles you do not complete? I would love to know your thoughts as bloggers on this.
- Do you send feedback on DNF titles?
- How do you handle a review copy that you DNF?
Again, just picking brains as I am still fairly new to reviewing as a blogger. I have discovered over the last few months that there are many situations that can arise now when reviewing that I had never actually anticipated. I want to know how everyone else in the community is handling this situation or those similar. I am always looking to discuss so that I can possibly improve going forward. Sometimes a new perspective is all it requires.