Lately I’ve been pondering the relationship between book reviewers and authors, particularly reviewers with book blogs. It’s a strange and delicate balance. On the one hand, it can be mutually beneficial and highly productive (I don’t mind admitting that I’ve met many book bloggers this year that I’d like to call friends and that have certainly spurred me on to produce more work). Quite frankly, authors (particularly indie authors) need book bloggers like Wallace needs Gromit and there’s no getting around that. And bloggers need their books just as much to feed their passion for reading. The flip-side of that perfect union is when the relationship breaks down.
Authors are a needy bunch. We live to tell stories, to evoke emotions in others, and we crave approval for what we do more than anything. It hurts to hear someone say that they don’t like the thing that you poured your heart and soul into, the thing that you very likely spent a great many months – even years – creating. Not to mention the amount of money indie authors can spend on producing a book. I don’t mind saying that it hurts just as much to hear someone say they didn’t care either way about your book. To hear ‘nice’ is about as painful as ripping an author’s still-beating heart from their chest and eating it in front of them (melodramatic… me? Humour me, I’m a writer). Despite all this, we still don’t have the right to criticise someone else’s opinion about it. What makes one person’s view count more than another’s? A reviewer is no less passionate about literature than an author is – that passion just manifests in a different way.
So, because I’m a curious type, I thought I’d ask some of the writers and reviewers I’ve got to know over the six months I’ve been publishing what their take on the relationship was. I compiled a list of questions; some chose to answer them straight, some found that the questions took them on a journey of musings all of their own, which they very kindly wrote down for me. During the next week or so, I’ll be publishing these ramblings on my site (in no particular order, I hasten to add). Tomorrow will see the series kick off with the gorgeous Sharon Goodwin of Jera’s Jamboree. Enjoy!
This sounds like a really good idea – I bet reviewers rarely get asked their opinions of the process. I look forward to reading the results.
Thanks, we do have some really good ones coming up. 🙂
Sounds interesting, looking forward to it. I personally find it hard not to imagine the authors reaction to my review. I’m often critical on a few points and positive on other points but I imagine the author zooms in on the negative. It’s hard to balance an unbiased, honest review with also being a people pleaser but I try!
I think you absolutely have to stay true to your opinions, no matter what the author may or may not feel about it. Only by doing that will your reviews maintain their integrity, but as an author, it’s obviously hard to take that criticism. If the points raised are well made, though, as I know yours are, then it should make us better authors. We’re all happier next time round!
I look forward to reading this series of posts!
Thanks Rebecca. Me too, I just have to get them all ready first! I’ve had such a brilliant response to the call out for guests that it will probably to over a week now.
Everyone has their own opinion and likes different things – it what makes us all so interesting 🙂 When I first got a lukewarm review, I felt disappointed but thanked the reviewer and tweeted it up. The next lukewarm review I got had exactly the opposite problem to the first (one thought Kiana cried too much, the other not enough!). I decided then it’s impossible to please everyone all of the time and I’m always grateful to anyone who takes the time to read and review my writing, no matter what their final opinion is.
That’s the most sensible approach really and all we can do! It’s better to be graceful about it; I’ve seen some shocking behaviour recently from one or two authors.
Really looking forward to this feature!
Me too, it’ll be more sensible than my usual rambling!
As an author and a book blogger (of sorts) i find it incredibly hard to keep the balance when writing reviews. I love to say what’s good, but feel almost as if i’m betraying an author if i mention anything that’s, in my opinion, not as good.