An Honest Opinion of Truth

    c.277w review my bookI recently learned about Story Cartel. Story Cartel is a group of storytellers based in the Appalachians who wanted to create a deeper connection with their audience. Via its website, readers have access to storytellers’ prose (aka books), ranging from thrillers to romance, literary fiction to self-help, with each book being free for a limited time. This is done in exchange for an honest review.

    Authors get help marketing their books (with reviews placed on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and blogs), and garner feedback to help improve their writing.

    For book lovers, Story Cartel is a resource to discover great books and fresh authors; for authors, it’s a platform to build deeper relationships with readers. As long as it meets our guidelines, any author can launch their book on Story Cartel.

    An author of a book I downloaded wrote, “Positive comments on Amazon(dot)com act like an energy booster and inspire writers to come up with more material on other topics.” That’s great if your honest review is positive. However, what if you don’t feel the book warrants that?

    c.278w does this make me look fatIs honesty really the best policy? After all, when it comes to writing, isn’t it supposed to be about the “writing” not the writer? And while it’s always okay to have an opinion, it is not always necessary to express it, particularly in a public forum. As for those “little white lies,” are they acts of intentional dishonesty or kindness? At some point I image you’ve wrestled with whether speaking very diplomatically or putting a nice “spin” on something was the better route to take. If yes, how do you definite the criteria?

    c.279w truth can hurtAs for total honesty, well that’s like tanks moving roughshod over everything. Tanks tend to imperviously destroy everything in their path, leaving a wake of tears and destruction. Being cruel for cruelty’s sake is … well, cruel.

    If you subscribe to the “When you have nothing good to say, say nothing” philosophy, when asked for your “honest opinion,” do you simply remain silent allowing others to draw their own conclusions, or do you explain your reasons for remaining silent?

    c.280w truth set you freeIt is said the truth shall set you free. Still, I think judicial use of “little white lies” every-so-often to spare the pain of others is worth considering. (You might even consider channeling your inner diplomat and find something good to say.) After all, if you have a conscience how much will you actually be able to enjoy your freedom if you’ve hurt others getting there?

    What is your honest opinion about the matter? I would love to hear what you have to say.

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    Sheila Bergquist - May 29, 2014 - 12:28 am

    You have touched on yet another thing I couldn’t agree with you more on! I am very honest, but not to the point of cruelty…yes, “white lies” are needed, as far as I’m concerned. Honesty is a tricky thing, but I think we just need to be cautious with it. Great post Tana.

    Tana Bevan - May 29, 2014 - 10:27 am

    Sheila, Ethical issues are definitely tricky. In this instance the question becomes at what point does the “little white lie” morph into an outright lie? The one advantage of being of the steamroller ilk, you don’t have to think much … and others know what to expect. Still, I’m not wired to be impervious to the pain of others, so I muddle along trying to find the balance between being “true to myself” and “doing unto others as I would have them do unto me.” Definitely an “interesting” dance. As always, thank you for chiming in.

    Sydney Avey - May 29, 2014 - 2:22 pm

    Hi Tana, I sometimes feel pressure to rate a book highly when I didn’t love it, not necessarily because it was poorly done but because I’m not a fan of the genre or subject matter. I recently gave a well written book a “like” instead of a “love” because I don’t like books that marry off Jesus, but in balance there were other things I did like about it. I think we need to learn ways to be honest that aren’t hurtful. That takes effort (and prayer!). If we don’t learn how to stand up for what we think and believe we are in danger of losing the right to do so. That doesn’t mean we have to be flip or mean.

    Tana Bevan - May 29, 2014 - 4:06 pm

    Sydney, I like how you so eloquently wrote, “If we don’t learn how to stand up for what we think and believe we are in danger of losing the right to do so.” I agree. While there are times when the steam roller approach needs to be taken (as when an egregious wrong is being perpetrated on another), more often than not holding to your truth with kindness seems to yield better results. Still it’s a path I find difficult to navigate.

    As for book reviews, so much of that is subjective. Whatever the most popular book in the world, there will be those who don’t care for it. And even the most unpopular book ever written has at least one person for whom it was important, the writer. Always delighted to have you stop by.