I review books. I also write them. I don’t have a problem with this, but some people do. So I wanted to take an opportunity to address people who have an issue with this so I can, once and for all, put my opinion out there.
I know one very outspoken author who’s made no bones about the fact that she doesn’t think writers should review each other’s work. Her most common reason for this is that we are in competition with each other for contracts, and it’s not fair for one of us to be able to affect the others’ sales ratings that could then affect our ability to get a contract.
I can see where she’s coming from, but I completely disagree with the premise that my reviews have any affect on her sales ratings. First of all, if I post a scathing review of an author’s book, it’s more likely she’ll sell books than if I give her a five-star. In fact, the one and only one-star review I gave out as a reviewer, the author personally contacted me to thank me for the feedback, and to tell me that she’d sold more books since my review came out than she had before.
My other pushback to this is that I don’t give out five-star reviews to my friends and one-star reviews to people I hate. In fact, I consciously steer away from giving reviews to people I don’t like. That way, I’m not tempted to take out my emotions on their writing. I know myself well enough to know that the way I feel about an author effects the way I read their books. I also am an adult, and fully capable of controlling what I write.
When I read a good book, I write a good review. When I read a bad book, I generally don’t write a review, or I write a non-committal review and try to pick out the best parts of the book. I don’t write bad reviews in order to put down other writers, and I don’t feel like I need to put down other writers in order to make myself feel better, or to get myself a sale or contract.
Certainly, if there’s a reviewer out there who writes bad reviews for that reason, they should be stopped. Whether they write books in addition to reviewing or not. But like everything, I think that rules are mostly about the people and not actually about the rules. So to this author, I would say: please don’t review my books, because you obviously couldn’t do it without wanting to use your status to hurt me. But don’t assume that I do the same. I just review books. My writing has nothing to do with it.
What do you think? Do you agree with me? Do you agree with her? Or are you somewhere in the middle? Have you ever seen a reviewer doing this? Intentionally? How did you respond?
Thanks so much for having me. You can find my blog at http://camrynrhys.blogspot.com and at http://dirtybirdauthors.blogspot.com. I’m on Twitter @camrynrhys and Facebook @CamrynRhys. I’m on Google+, and you can buy my book on Amazon, All Romance eBooks, and the Breathless Press website.
THE BARN DANCE: When Mindy needs a baker’s expertise, Leo offers a trade: one day in the kitchen for one night at the Barn Dance. Either way, the heat is rising. http://www.breathlesspress.org/Book/327
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