The Seven Deadly Sins of Reviewers
The Number Seven
September used to be the seventh month of the old Roman calendar and its name literally means seventh “month,” so this month is brought to you by 7. Write wherever the prompt inspires you, fiction or non-fiction, prose or poetry. Do try and keep things at a PG-13 level, though.
Each post should be less than 1000 words if possible. Read and comment on other participants’ posts if you possibly can–they’ll be doing the same for you! Visit the AW blog post link.
I haven’t had the time to visit the other blogs participating this month – I know, bad me. Please check out the full list of participants at the bottom of this post. I’m sure there’s some gems linked up. My fellow AW bloggers never disappoint. I plan on hitting each one before the end of the month and there’s still 12 days to go, so don’t hate me yet.
For this month, I chose to go with a twist on the Seven Deadly Sins. Here are the Seven Deadly Sins for Reviewers. There has been much discussion in the blogging community about the faults of authors in regards to the reviewer. Today, we talk about the dark side of the book reviewers.
Lust – Thou shall not sell out.
I’m talking about selling reviews. I promise to give you a review (most likely positive) in exchange for x amount of cash. This man reportedly made $28,000 a month writing fake reviews for authors. Author Michelle Gorman was told by a book review blog that a favorable review would cost her $95. If this doesn’t bother you ethically, remember that the FTC will fine you if you don’t disclose if you received monetary compensation or just free book in exchange for a review.
And just so you know – I don’t charge for reviews. I don’t take donations. I do accept free books and will list on my review where I received my copy.
Gluttony – Thou shall not collect more books than can feasibly review.
I know some bloggers don’t guarantee reviews when authors/publishers send them a free copy, but that review copy SHOULD eventually make its way to someone who will read that book. Common solutions are to pass it along to another blogger, use it in a giveaway, or donate it to the local library. Personally, I also notify the author or publisher if I decline to review and give a reason why.
There was a lot of backlash after a pair of reviewers youtubed themselves with a bedfull of ARCs received from the ALA, which is primarily meant for for librarians not book bloggers. They’ve taken the video down since and I noticed the review site itself is inactive too – last post was July 9th. I hope that those books eventually make their way into the hands of people who will read and share their opinions of the books – as the publishers intended to happen with these copies.
It’s fairly easy for people to get carried away by the lure of free books. I’ve downloaded 3-6 books a day from the Pixel of Ink daily freebie list. Some of which I probably won’t ever read past the first chapter, but there’s also a few gems that I’ve downloaded on a whim, read, and LOVED. On the other hand, I’ve stopped requesting books on Netgalley and Goodreads until I catch up with my backlog…well, mostly stopped. Consider my “stop” a “California roll”.
Greed – Thou shall not put profit over function.
Don’t get into the book review business expecting to ever see a profit. Bloggers do this for the love of books. Most of us never even break even with hosting costs/giveaways/etc (which is why I am currently using the free version of WordPress). I don’t mind visiting blogs with affiliated links to Amazon or the Book Depository, but don’t have more advertisements than a NASCAR driver. And whatever you do, don’t have pop-up ads. I won’t revisit a site that does. Pop up ads are annoying enough on a computer but when I internet browse on my smart phone a single popup advertisement forces me to close the browser and start from scratch. One word for those sites: unfollow.
Sloth – Thou shall keep commitments.
This one has two parts. Firstly, don’t post a review of a book you haven’t read. It’s not fair to the author to review something that you skimmed. This isn’t high school – can’t read the first and last chapter and expect people not to notice. I want to know the reviewer’s reaction to the entire events of the story. I want to know how the book makes you feel. I don’t want a summary. I want to know what clicked and what didn’t.
Of course, if you decide that the book is so crappy that you can’t possibly read the whole thing – say it in the review. I respect DNFs. I don’t respect fake reviews.
The second part is if you tell an author, tour host, or publisher that you will post or review by a certain date – you better do it. I know that my extreme night-time posting makes it seem like I live in Hawaii rather than the West Coast, but I still do my best to try to uphold promises. I’ve gotten a few emails lately from tour hosts that are having problems with late/missed tour dates and it’s unfortunate. Real life does get in the way sometimes (like my delay with this post caused by a kid that refused to sleep last night), but chronic laziness will only cause you to lose readers and opportunities.
Wrath – Thou shall not egg on the author.
It’s okay to post negative reviews. It’s not appropriate or professional to insult the author in your review.
If you don’t like the book – tell people what was wrong with the BOOK.
If you don’t like the author – don’t read the book.
Envy – Thou shall not mark thy neighbor’s reviews unhelpful.
I know it might be frustrating for your 4 or 5 paragraph well-thought out review have 0 out of 3 helpful votes, especially if you’re after the elusive Amazon Vine membership (or trying to keep it). It might be tempting to mark all the other reviews unhelpful just to bump up your own. Don’t. You don’t want someone doing that to you. Help out your fellow reviewer instead of trying to compete and you may be lucky enough to get a helpful vote in return.
+1 the people who have put thought into their reviews and -1 those that look like fakes.
Pride – Thou shall not exaggerate thy stats.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have 1,000 followers or 10k page views a day. I list my stats for everyone to see – and I’m honest. But because of my low stats, I can’t get some of the most coveted ARC books. Entangled Publishing requires a minimum of 1k followers and daily blogging for an entire year. Some publishing companies have requirements on monthly unique visitors. It would be difficult for these publishing companies to prove that I’m lying on my stats – but if they did, your blogging reputation is ruined. If you lie about stats, what else have you lied about?
Thank you for reading!
Participants and posts:
orion_mk3 – http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to this month’s post)
Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
bmadsen – http://hospitaloflife.wordpress.com (link to this month’s post)
writingismypassion – http://charityfaye.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
pyrosama – http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
areteus – http://lurkingmusings.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
randi.lee – http://emotionalnovel.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
wonderactivist – http://luciesmoker.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
BigWords – http://bigwords88.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
meowzbark – http://erlessard.wordpress.com/ (link to this month’s post)
SuzanneSeese – http://www.viewofsue.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)
AFord – http://writeword.blog.com/ (link to this month’s post)
Kricket – http://kricketwrites.blogspot.com/ (link to this month’s post)