Well, okay, not really. I can’t hold a tune to save my life and attempts to have done so have resulted in my family falling down and writhing in pain. Because I’m badass like that, I sing whenever I want something really badly. *beam*
However, it is 12:33 am at the moment. Not that that means anything but I thought I’d just point out the time to you. You know, because I’m cool like that. I have 1.5 hours because I need to make chai for the first saheri of Ramadan and I thought, heyyyyy, you have time, why don’t you sharpen your pencil and blog?
Okay, look, I know we don’t use pencils to blog but let a girl dream. Anyway. Back to the issue on hand. Right. What was it?
Oh yes, Blogger Ethics. Two things.
1. It is not cool to charge moneys for writing reviews. There was a recent hullabaloo raised after an author queried a blogger site for a review and was told that if he coughed up $95.00, they would oblige him with a “nice review.” Erm. Yes. Okay, if I’m not wrong, the bloggers said they were currently deluged with review offers, review books waiting reviews and this was a way for them to place importance on which books needed to be reviewed first.
Alright then. Do I condemn them for trying to make money off it? Noo..oo, maybe not. If they are offering a service, well, just think of it as the author paying for advertisement. However, it is when you focus on the “nice” review that things get problematic. Are they promising a positive review before they have even read the book? Are they disclosing to their readers that the reviews they write have been paid for? Can you trust any review that was paid for? Doesn’t review itself suggest a certain objectivity, removal from the the work you are reviewing and the person whose work you are reviewing?
Would you trust an author who blurbed her best friend’s book and called it “awesome?” How much of the blurb is because the author loves her best friend and how much is it honest appreciation of the best friend’s book?
See, it is questions like these that turn the whole thing into a morass of grey. Personally? Do you wanna know what I really think? Of course you do. Why else would you be reading this?
Anyway, in my opinion, a review that has been paid for or a review that is written by the friends/relatives of the author is not one I’d trust. Or pay any mind to. Nowadays, when I look at reviews on Goodreads and find only 5 or 4 stars, I get suspicious and look until I find a negative review. Because the idea that not all people love the book with the same intensity? It’s not preposterous and negative reviews help me figure out whether I can deal with the novel’s flaws.
Let’s hoppity hop and pirate walk to the second point.
2. This newest drama that hit Book Blogger Land (also known as (battle) front line in some circles – the place where good sense comes to die in others) today was an angry post by an unnamed author (oh diplomacy, I’m learning you) about how he was going to release to all and sundry a Big Bad List of Big Bad Bloggers who “swindle” and “steal” and “sully.” Okay fine, not the last one but I had a good alliteration thing going on. Anyway, according to him, there have been bloggers who have approached him for free copies of his books and once they got it, no review was forthcoming. And to do his fellow authors a huge service, he is/was going to release (he may have already, I don’t know) a list of these bloggers so his fellow authors could avoid them.
Now, this dude is a self-pubbed author and he says that bloggers do not realize that we arrrrrreeee little machines full of promotional juice – we exist to provide promoting chances to self-pubbed books and for self-pubbed authors who are not lucky enough to have thousands of dollars set aside for advertising purposes.
He also targeted teen bloggers saying they steal copies of his books (one wonders how it can be called stealing when he is the one to send it to them but then one is distracted by ice cream and no longer things about said author).
I’m going to tell you a secret. No, not even a secret. I’m going to confess something here. Are you ready? Okay? Okay.
I don’t review all the books I am sent or request. Sometimes I can’t be bothered to read it because it no longer sounds exciting to me and if I have to force myself to read something that I will inevitably end up giving a negative review to…well, you can see how it works, right? I’m not the kind of person who seeks terrible books just so I have material to snark at. I like my sanity a bit too much.
The point is, I have a life. Okay fine, not an exciting life filled with sparklies and love triangles and pouffy dresses that I can’t fit in but still, it’s a life. It’s demanding (I’ll have you know, sleeping takes a lot of effort) and sometimes I just don’t get to your book. Especially if it’s unsolicited. I don’t get many books for review and I like that. I don’t want to be overwhelmed by my review pile but I know that some bloggers do get ginormous amounts of ARCs etc.
Fact is, authors, I know this may come as a shock to you, but bloggers are not contractually obliged to give you a review for your book. Yeah, they may have requested it but stuff happens. Life gets in the way. If you cannot take the risk, don’t send your novel out there. And don’t alienate your target audience with threatening blog posts. Honestly.
I am generalizing (again) but I’m seriously glad for my no self-pubbed authors reviewed on this blog. This is not to imply I don’t read them. I do. I just choose the ones I want to read. Sigh. I’m tired now. So I leave you with this sexy beast. I hope you enjoy him.