What do authors really want in a review?

I have read many articles about reviews and it seems that, while authors request honest reviews, they don’t always want honest reviews. Being a reviewer, I am confused. I review based upon the content of the story and the writing ability of the author. If the writing is horrid, I don’t think it is fair to other potential readers to give the author a high rating just because it is going to hurt the author’s potential sales. I must also look on the other side of the coin. Many buyers have extremely limited incomes. If they spend their book budget to purchase a poor book based upon my review, then I’ve done them a disservice. Honesty is a must. I have contacted authors and asked if revisions will be made prior to submitting a review. If the work is to be revised, I will based my review solely on content and note that the reviewed work was an ARC, for instance. Sometimes, though, the writing just doesn’t work and it must, in all fairness be noted. I do state my reasons for the rating. If there are authors out there who have words of wisdom for a very confused reviewer who tries to do the right thing but is feeling conflicted right now, I would be eternally grateful. Thank you.

I do want to note: I had an author state that his book was only 99 cents or $1.99 or something along those lines, implying that it wasn’t really that expensive, so purchasing it really couldn’t impact a budget. Having been without an income for more than 31 months, I can assure you that every dollar in a budget matters. Books are luxuries that are often not allowed, so purchasing a two dollar book is a pretty big deal. Trust me, I know this from experience. Therefore, when someone spends their precious book funds to buy a book based on a dishonest or skewed review, that person then becomes frustrated and angry. Who knows how long it will before s/he can purchase another book;trust me, the word of mouth and/or negative reviews posted by an angry person will do more damage than an honest and fair review posted by an impartial reviewer.

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