Ok. Deep breath. So I have this friend who is obsessed with writing, much like yours truly. Anyway, she has been trying for years to get a novel that she has written published. Needless to say, she hasn't had much luck. She had sent it to literally hundreds of companies and all of them didn't want to publish it. After a handful of rejections, I told her that maybe she needed to go back and revise her story because there could possibly be something in the plot that she missed that everyone isn't liking. She didn't take my advice. Because she wanted to get her novel published so badly, she PAYED a company down in Mexico a little more than $5K to publish it for her. And that was only to get a limited amount of copies published (I'm not sure of the exact amount, but the way she was talking, it's very tiny.) Anyway, she is trying to get her novel circulating, so she has now given copies to all of her friends, including yours truly. She was very possessive of her novel while she was writing it, and as a result, I hadn't read even a little bit of it, so I was excited to get my hands on it. Here is the conclusion I have come to: her book is awful. Seriously, to put it nicely, it sucks. The plot has a lot of dead ends and her characters are extremely under developed, not to mention her dialogue is something I would expect from a corny soap opera. So here is my question: How do I tell my friend her book is bad? When she gave me a copy of it, it was under the condition that I tell her my "honest to goodness" opinion of it. Should I lie and be nice? Or should I give her the critique that she wants and should have got before she even thought of sending it to a publishing company?