How to Review a Friend's Book (and Still Be Friends)
French philosopher Blaise Pascal once wrote: “Few friendships would survive if each one knew what his friend says of him behind his back.” This is never more true than when you are reviewing a friend's book. Many of you know that my first book, Made for More, released from Moody Publishers back in April. When it did, I entered a complicated maze of friendship and work. I didn't want to leverage my relationships in order to promote my book, and yet, the people most supportive of my writing were often those closest to me. Add to this the niggling doubt that I'd just made the greatest mistake of my life by actually putting my words out for public review. In the last two months, I've worried that no one was actually telling what they really thought or worse, that my friends felt caught--obligated to encourage me but struggling with their own sense of credibility. Because how honest can we really be about things like books and babies without risking our friendships?
And yet, I need your support. I need your help. Sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble and goodreads rely on readers' reviews and give books with more and better reviews greater visibility. But since it's frowned upon to pay people to review one's book (kidding, not kidding), I have to ask you--my friends--to do it. Like I've already mentioned, this is not an easy thing for either of us. So I've devised a handy-dandy cheat sheet much like those automatic tip suggestions that mysteriously appear at the end of your bill. The following chart will help you navigate the relational complexities that come from reviewing a friend's book. Just find the number of stars you want to give it and follow the row all the way to the right. (And of course, if all else fails, you can always use a pseudonym like "BookNerd0593" or "UnicornLiterati.")
More than anything, thank you for taking this journey with me. As readers, you have encouraged me that my writing was worth the time. As friends, you have encouraged me to keeping working even when it wasn't.