How to respond if you're dating a first-time author who asks your opinion of her bad novel?



How to respond if you're dating a first-time author who asks your opinion of her bad novel?
A while back I went on a date with an actress who seems to have a great personality, but also seems a little bit ditsy (in the most endearing way possible, meaning she's also very sweet). I just found out she authored her first book recently, which she's been working on since she was 12. She has asked me to attend her book release, and I'm in turmoil.

I read a ton, and am extremely critical of all literature, even from distinguished authors, so how am I supposed to react if the book is far below my standards? I don't want to lie to her and lead her into a dilusion, but neither do I want to crush her spirit or make her cry.



The digital book has been on amazon for about a month, but has yet to receive a single review.
What would you do?

  • Be nice
    9% (5)20% (10)14% (15)Vote
  • Be honest
    41% (24)46% (23)44% (47)Vote
  • Say nothing at all... Like, seriously, just don't say anything. At most just nod and smile.
    14% (8)8% (4)11% (12)Vote
  • Try to be nice and honest at the same time: (This isn't actually possible, so by choosing this option I'm really just saying "I don't know"/"Show Answers")
    36% (21)26% (13)31% (34)Vote
And you are? I'm a GirlI'm a Guy
Updates:
I should mention, the book is written in English, though English is not her first language... SHE IS SO NICE though!

Please help.
Guys, I read the first chapter... Its bad.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • Tread carefully lol. I'd pick out specific parts of it you kind of liked and talk about those if asked. Also, you can avoid it and re-direct to things like "That's really great you got to publish your book, congratulations" and "I'm happy for you" etc.

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Most Helpful Guy

  • I would say that you should critique specific things rather than saying it is just flat out horrible.

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    • That might work. I'll have to write that down.

What Girls Said 21

  • Say these words to her ' I think that it is truly amazing that you got your book published. I am sure you are extremely proud'. It is not a lie.

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    • Ah... I see you are quite gifted in the dance of words. I just might save that for near-future use.

  • I would say be nice. If this is someone who you really like and don't want to hurt their feelings, then you need to kind of suck up your pride and be nice about it.

    Pick out some things you did like about it. If it was really that bad, just remember that this is her first book. First books aren't always amazing.

    You can always be constructive in any criticisms that you give her. By saying something really great, then something you wish would have been changed. If she is open to any criticisms, then that would be the best way to deliver them.

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  • If you are going to ask someone for their honest opinion, then you better, in her case, expect one back. The thing is there is a difference between being crushingly honest (this dribble would never sell anywhere) and being constructive with your criticism, (I really felt like chapter three delivered on the dialogue, but needed a lot more content in the exposition of the scene). I've worked with a lot of students in my past who I sat reading their papers at home and laughing at just how absolutely horrible they were, but for them in person, I would frame it in a way that didn't indicate I had a good laugh and felt like they were the reason society was failing, but rather that they needed more work here and here, and here were at least two really positive things about their work. It's called sandwiching. You start off with good, you fill in with constructive criticism, you end with good.

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  • Well shit, tough predicament. I would probably try to be nice and be honest as well. I would say something like 'for your first book you've done really well, you should be proud you got your book published, it's an amazing achievement' and recommend some more "talented" authors or something.

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  • D. You can be honest while also... being tactful. You can recommend some books for her to read, tell her the best writers are avid readers... try to get her to see what else is out there so she can improve.

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    • Maybe... Even being tactful though, imagine what it would be like for her to have finally done something big that she's been working of for years. Her whole family and all her friends are behind her cheering her on... and I'm like: "So... I think you should consider reading more before you publish your next book."

      I'm pretty sure most every girl I've met would never want to talk to that guy again.

      Whats more is that she already has plans for a series, and if the first book is a bad beginning, the honest truth is that no matter how good the sequels are, its a bad venture. But I can't possibly say that!!!

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    • @lynnbrenna

      Command 1: Be honest
      Command 2: Tell her others might like it

      Result: Error

    • Part of me wonders of it might not be that bad. I admit I'm probably overreacting a weeee bit, but even so... I can't say anything as to who will like this book until I've read it for real.

  • Some one saw fit to publish it.. so.. someone who supposedly knows something.. thinks it is at least decent.

    Just because you don't like it.. doesn't mean it isn't good.

    I don't like Leo Di Caprio...

    But I'm not going to tell you that he's useless..

    Just because she is writing in your genre.. doesn't mean it is to your taste.

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    • I haven't read it yet.

    • well.. I'm going with your assumption that you won't like it.

      I mean.. if she started writing it at 12... it prolly won't be truly meant for someone your age.

  • You only read the first chapter. I've read many that start off bad but then get better. Also you have to remember that you will not be the only one in the audience. It might not be your taste in books but it could definitely be somebody elses. As for the English, you should help her with that because if the editor changes a lot she might be like this isn't what i said/meant, so definitely help her out there. As to what to say i would keep it short. Just tell her well i haven't read all of it but the story isn't what i usually read so it's kind of hard for me to get into.

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    • There are misspellings everywhere and broken sentences everywhere! Can you describe another book that has errors like that?

      I want to find her editor and give him a swirly for allowing this to be published without correcting anything.

    • The kind that makes you want to take out a red pen? Lol no but seriously maybe its not finished yet. Sometimes they pass around more than one editor.

  • You do realize that it's possible to be both honest and nice?

    You don't need to flat out tell her her work is shit, you know. If it's bad, tell her in a polite way. It's not that hard.

    Just whatever you do, DON'T LIE. If you lie, you'll have to carry on lying about it for as long as you're with her and that just sounds like a miserable experience.

    If she breaks up with you over constructive criticism, then thank the heavens for dodging a bullet.

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  • I wish you could look at my face while I say this because I really need you to pay attention to me...

    Lie. Your. Fucking. Ass. Off.

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  • It's already published so there's not any point in giving her negative feedbac, just try saying you don't really read anything in that genre so you aren't qualified to judge it. But that you're proud of her and respect her accomplishment in writing it.

    Even if her writing is not good, the fact that she finished writing a book demonstrates that she's hardworking and appreciates the arts.

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    • Hahah, so lie? I have actually been quite thoroughly exposed to the genre of the book... so that lie would only last until she had known me long enough to see my bookshelf, or hear me talk about fiction. If I'm going to lie, it should at least be a lie that won't seem obvious as soon as she gets to know me.

      I agree on the second part. I almost envy her for being dedicated enough to even finish a book. I've come up with ideas for books, but didn't write them because it seemed like so much work, and I was afraid it wouldn't be good enough. I really want to encourage the effort without lying about how it holds up compared to other literature.

  • Be honest in a nice way.
    I have had people dislike my books but some were just super mean and others were nice.

    So instead of saying this book is garbage, mention what parts were good and what parts you didn't agree with.

    Keep your tune nice and your face calm.

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  • hahah! OH boy! I would be so honest it hurts! hahahah! I think I am gonna get attacked ! lol

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    • Hahah. I guess thats one option. I'd really rather not make her never want to talk to me again though... unless the second date goes REALLY badly.

    • Hey I think he gonna love me more for being honest! lol I can't wait for him to attack me! hahah

  • If you aren't currently dating her, you have an easy out. Just say you can't attend, but you wish her the best. Better that than to hurt her feelings. If you must go, simply say you haven't had a chance to read it yet.

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  • If you like her and want to continue dating her... don't be brutal. You will crush her and you will paint yourself in a negative light. Don't get me wrong, it's bad to lie but sometimes we don't always need to hear the truth.

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  • B.

    As an aspiring author and photography, if I ask someone for their opinion I want an honest response.

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  • Just say that you have a bias since you're both dating. JK Rowling was rejected 12 times by major publishing companies and I bet they hate themselves everyday.

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  • Well you could tell her it's not what you normally read so you wouldn't be the best person to say how great it was.

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  • Be honest, using the proper manner to tell her.

    Is the book self-published?

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  • Be honest with her, but also be nice.

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  • Give her an honest opinion, but yes, be constructive about it.

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  • I always find something to compliment that doesn't show my like/dislike. Such as, "I loved the character XYZ" or "You describe things so well - I really get a clear picture."

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    • Yeah, I was thinking that. I'm sort of hoping that if the actual quality of the writing is less than great, there will at least be compelling characters, or concepts, or twists/turns that I'll be able to admire despite how they are expressed. However, if it is both poorly communicated, and cliche'd, then things will be rather difficult for me.

      Fortunately, I have the excuse of not having read the book yet, so I'll still have time to read and come up with my response, and I won't have to tell her anything at the book release other than that I'm excited she wrote a book.

    • Good luck - being asked to critique someone's creative work is always a tough situation!

What Guys Said 16

  • Couldn't you just say it's not what you normally read so you would be a bad judge?

    Or you could tell her you don't want to give her your biased opinion, since clearly you would praise her unfairly!

    I don't know, I'm bad at situations like that, like I can't pretend to like something. Though if the grammar is bad, either suggesting an editor or helping point out edits couldn't be a terrible idea.

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  • Say what you liked about it. Of course bear in mind that there are a lot of badly written books that have made their authors millions of dollars.

    If she asks for constructive criticism, be very sweet about it.

    All you can do.

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  • Haven't read others comments however if the subject pops up you should be honest, however you have to make sure you understood her message.

    If you don't agree with the message you two guys have some differences, might be important or not, that's up to you.

    Once you understood the message one way to give your opinion is to not say that is bad, because nobody likes to hear that, however you can suggest how she could improve some aspects.

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  • If he'a trying to get it published, and it's already finished, you wouldn't be doing him too much of a favor by being honest.

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  • Since I'm trying to write a book myself I would just offer my honest opinion and ask her that she does the same to me.

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  • Hi. I am not an author, but I read voraciously and I am critical: as you are. You can be truthful without being mean. Point out the difficulty in writing in a foreign language. That alone is an almost insurmountable barrier. Give her ideas on how to improve. Suggest a proofreader. Is it the idea that is poor or overused, or is it the structure? Structure can be improved, but a poor premise can not.

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  • I would approach it like giving her notes and telling her rules she's breaking, form that's flat, prose that needs to be spiced up and things that are lacking in the theme, motif and mood department.

    Don't approach it like the annoying cynic who just hates everything.

    Author's note: this will not be possible if you are and annoying cynic who hates everything.

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  • Fucked either way :) gl man

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  • Be honest, but use some discretion, and definitely offer suggestions for improvement! Point out that while having started it when she was 12 certainly shows dedication, it also means it was partly written when she was 12.

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  • Tell her to go to a professional because you are biased

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  • Be silent, or be honest.

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  • Say it could use some work. Because if she loves it and publishes it you have to live that lie

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  • Be honest. If she can't take constructive criticism, then she won't last long as an author.

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  • Give her some constructive criticism telling her what she could work.

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  • You CAN be honest and nice. Or at least tactful. Tell her it "needs work".

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  • If the only way to be nice without lying is to say nothing then do that.

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