I have a vanilla friend who has self-pubbed a couple books. She has no idea about my Celeste Jones world and books and I plan to keep it that way.
Recently she asked me to read one of her books before she published it. Now, what I should have realized is that at this point in the process, she really just wanted me to proofread, but in addition to that, I also made a few comments about the content.
To be honest, I hated the book, but I kept that to myself. You know how subtle I can be.
She thanked me for my help and within a few hours had sent it off to someone else for the next step. This tells me that she probably used my proofreading/copy edit corrections but ignored by content suggestions.
I've really struggled with this for a few days and that's why I'm raising it here and seeking thoughts/advice from all of you, especially other writers.
First, I'm annoyed that she doesn't take my suggestions. I know it's her story and it's ultimately her choice about how it's written (especially since she's self-publishing), but when someone blows off all of my suggestions it makes me wonder why I bother. Frankly, it's insulting.
So, am I at fault for assuming she wanted my comments on the content?
Should I have clarified with her what she wanted me to do?
Second, this was a long book and I spent a significant amount of time on it, though I only went through it once because I've been down this route with her before and knew that most of my concerns other than comma placement or spelling would be ignored.
Should I have known that I was wasting my time by doing more than proofreading?
Third, should I have told her how I really felt about the book and why? Am I doing her a disservice by not saying, in a gentle way, "this book needs some work on these areas...."? Is it a violation of some sort of writer's code to let someone publish a book when you really think there are major problems? If she gets a horrible review and feels bad, will I feel guilty or (more likely) vindicated?
Is the ultimate problem here the fact that we are friends and met outside of writing and that just adds a layer of complication to the relationship that isn't present when I read manuscripts for people that I've met within the context of being writers?
As you can see, I'm really spinning in circles about this, but I'd love to hear what you guys think. I need help!