Question Hello, Ms. Muster.
About a few days ago, I asked you a question regarding how to properly document the works of others and whether or not to get the author's permission when using their ideas in your work. You were very helpful and I really appreciate your time in answering my question.
I do have another, similar question, though. This is about a review I wrote regarding an e-book I read. I do plan to either make this review into a report, or at the very least post it on my website (which I plan to have up soon).
My question is, I know you mentioned that depending upon the situation, you need the author's permission when you are using their ideas in your work. But what about writing a review? You really aren't "using" their ideas. Just commenting on them and giving your opinion, and, basically, what I did in my review was that I talked alittle about what was in the book and commented on what I liked and didn't like about the book. Do I have to get the author's permission to just comment on it?
Also, is there a "proper way" to do a review/critique without completely "bashing" the book and the author? I know that at times, when you do a review, the author's integrity is at stake, and I have seen, at least with movie reviewers, how they sometimes really "trash" movies they don't like (and some of these movies are the ones I love, too!). I realize that all reviewers are doing is "giving their opinion" and one person's "likes" is another person's dislikes, but is there an "ethical" way to do a review, even if you don't like the book? Thank-you for your time.
P.S.: If you like, I could send you a sample of my first critique. Just let me know how I should send it.
Answer Dear David,
Thank you for your question. Sure, send a sample of your first critique. You can post it somewhere and send the URL or put it in one of these AllExperts windows or mail it to me email@example.com.
The worst thing about a bad review is if the reviewer is spiteful. You can hear it in their words that they have a personal problem that they're projecting on the book.
Here are my reviews from Amazon.com. You can see that some of the reviewers are just trying to discredit me. They probably didn't even read the book. You can look at Amazon, but I have copied the reviews to my site, see: http://surrealist.org/betrayalofthespirit/reviewsamazon.html
You don't need the author's permission.
The best bad review points out factual errors and prejudices without hurting anyone's feelings. Feelings should not enter into it, just the quest for truth.
I hope this helps,
I have been writing for publication since 1981, including years as a staff writer, associate editor, editorial writer, and freelance reporter. At this time, I have eight Kindle books for sale at Amazon.com.
Organizations Lakes of Tempe Authors, Tempe, Arizona
Publications Betrayal of the Spirit: My Life behind the Headlines of the Hare Krishna Movement
Dreaming Peace: Your Thoughts Can Change the World
Cult Recovery Handbook: Seven Paths to an Authentic Life
Child of the Cult
Learning to Flow with the Tao: The 64 Hexagrams of the I Ching
Positive Quotations: Wisdom from the Master Mind
Collected Writings: Five Books by Nori Muster
Noriland Art Gallery: Secrets from the Vault
Spiritual Summer and Other Short Stories
Education/Credentials UCLA Extension Writer's Program, 1988 - 1994
Master's Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, Western Oregon University, 1991
Awards and Honors Interviews: USA Today, Los Angeles Times, BBC World Services Focus on Faith, BBC Sunday Programme, Salon.com, Glamour Magazine, Portland Mercury News, W-Five TV (Toronto), Publisher's Weekly, Boston Phoenix, San Francisco Chronicle, ABC TV News - 20/20, ABC radio, Associated Press, The Age (Melbourne), Rediff.com, The New York Times, Religious News Service, Dallas Morning News, Columbia Journalism School, Whole Life Times (Los Angeles), Toronto Sun, the John Dayle Show (KFYI AM, Phoenix), the Eliot Stein Show (syndicated radio and Internet broadcast), Discovery with Josh Wagner (KKUP, 91.5 FM, Santa Clara, California), KOGO (News Radio 600, San Diego), Jupiterís Girl syndicated radio show, Lakes Log.
Book Reviews: Publisherís Weekly, Feminist Bookstore News, Yoga Journal, New York Post, Choice Magazine, Boston Herald, Nexus (Colorado), Gentle Strength Times, Coastlines (UCSB alumni), Theology Digest, Nova Religio, Rapport, India West, Rediff.com, Amazon.com.
Prescott College reunion; Gentle Strength Co-op, Tempe; Different Drummer Bookshop, Laguna Beach; L.A. Times Toastmasters; Biltmore Plaza Border's Books, Phoenix; Bodhi Tree Bookstore, Los Angeles; Health & Life Enrichment Expo, Pasadena; Sacramento Reads book festival, and others.
Publishers: ISKCON World Review, Van Dhal Publications, Gentle Strength Times, Arizona Woman, Lakes Log, ICSA Today, Cultic Studies Review, University of Illinois Press, Kindle, steamboats.com, surrealist.org, Apple Books, and others.