What Honesty Costs

Sometimes, telling the truth hurts.

Last week, I reviewed a book that I wanted to love but just didn’t. I belong to an online book club and last month, we all signed up to receive a free ARC (Advance Readers Copy) from the author. The picture of the book cover was beautiful and the synopsis sounded like it would be a fun, interesting read.  I couldn’t wait to get it.

When it came in a hand-addressed envelope with a couple of notes and a beautiful business card, I was impressed. This is how I should package my book when I deliver online orders, I thought. I envisioned posting a glowing review that the author would love and post a link to one her personal website.

And then I started to read the book and… I didn’t love it. But I was conflicted; did I want to criticize a book online?

I was torn. As a new author myself, was I shooting myself in the foot by saying anything negative about another writer’s book? How honest do you have to be on the Internet?

I really struggled with this. In the end, I gave an honest review. I didn’t love the book and I said so. But I also listed the things I did like as well as the improvements I think the book could benefit from.

Most of the people who have read my own fiction writing have given me positive feedback. But I also know that everybody won’t absolutely love everything I’ve written. And at the end of the day, I want to keep getting better. I want to keep improving. And that will only happen if I acknowledge there is indeed room to improve.

At the end of the day, the person we really need to be most honest with is ourselves. We have to be comfortable with what we say – that it does indeed represent us. Sometimes telling the truth hurts. But dishonesty costs more.

Mufti Ismail Menk said it best: Tell a lie once and all your truths become questionable.

When was the last time telling the truth was hard for you? 

3 Comments Add yours

  1. I go through the same conflict when I review books I ended up not liking. I try to offer at least a few things I did like about the book so I don’t come off as too mean and if I can think of ways to fix the parts I didn’t like I’ll add that as too.
    It is hard to be so critical of something you know is someone’s hard work but, I think in the end it pays off. Honesty, I feel, can help an author write better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Run Wright says:

      Thanks so much for your comment and support. I agree that feedback can help with the next project but it’s also up to the author to be open enough to recognize constructive criticism for what it is. I’ve seen some really creative people “bomb” on one project and excel on their next. And as long as we don’t give up producing, there is always potential to improve.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Marc A. says:

    I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings or let people down…..and also I don’t like to get in trouble. Usually when I fail to tell the truth, it’s for one of those 3 reasons. I’m learning more and more especially as of late that depriving people of a genuine response by not being genuine myself benefits no one. This is MOST important with yourself. Give them the truth and let it be. You can’t control the outcome, you never could. Easier said than done, but then again, what isn’t?

    Oh, and Hi Karen! I miss tweeting with you….I’m on a long hiatus while I work through some things but I hope to be back soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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