Don’t Write a Review Based on the Sample!

I thought this was standard practice, but it looks like it needs to be said.

I was reading a review of a book on-line and one reviewer’s comments jumped out at me. In essence the comment read, “I downloaded the sample, and it’s all about the author saying such and such and blah, blah, and it’s so lame. Don’t waste your time and money on this book.”

Well, thank you, really helpful reviewer person.

First off don’t review a book based on the free sample. What would be a proper analogy? Perhaps reviewing an entire movie based on its trailer? Basing a restaurant review on the kitchen fumes which waft in the breeze outside in the parking lot?

A free sample is just that, a free sample to see if you might like the entire product. If you aren’t impressed with the sample, fine. Don’t purchase the book. That’s the intended use of a sample – matching a reader’w likes and desires with a book which may entice them.

If it doesn’t grab your attention, just move onto something else, but don’t leave a review of the entire product based on less than 10% of it. That is extremely unfair in my opinion. Samples rarely do books justice, and while the opening part of a book should try to hook readers in, sometimes stories take longer to develop and it may really start kicking well beyond the 10% mark. Sometimes in non-fiction books it takes pages of background to give the proper context. That’s just the way it is.

I wouldn’t judge a teacher by the first day of class.

I wouldn’t judge a coach by the first day of practice.

I would judge a singer by one song on one album.

I wouldn’t rate a TV show by the opening credits.

Nor would I judge a book by its cover.

Or a story by its free sample.

But maybe that’s just me.

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