Authors Behaving Badly

tantrumToday brought us another interesting installment of “Authors Behaving Badly.”  I’m not going to discuss the current meltdown of a human and a writing career, but I am going to discuss what an author can expect from us and what qualifies as a fair and honest review.  Typically, we’re approached by an author or we chose from a list given to us by publishers with whom we have an agreement wherein we receive books and give a fair and honest review.  On occasion, we purchase a book on our own and write a review on that.

What does it mean that a review is fair and honest?  Well, the obvious is that we’re fair and don’t judge beforehand and that we’re honest in our opinion.  We don’t give negative reviews to people we dislike nor do we give positive reviews to friends.  Unless the books have earned them, of course.  And that’s really the kicker.  It’s about the books.  More than once I’ve given less than stellar reviews to people I’ve hugged.  It’s uncomfortable, to say the least, but them’s the breaks and being a reviewer is about more than just getting free books.  We try to be polite in our dislike and hope authors read no ill intent when reading a negative review.  It has never been our goal to write a mean or snarky review.  It is also not our goal to tell an author what they should do with their books.  There are things I would like to see, or wish for, but the work is always that of the authors’ and the creative choices are never those of the reviewer.

notsayingawordWhat is the authors’ job after the review is published?  You’re more than welcome to share it via whatever social network you choose, or you can ignore it.  One thing you should never do, ever, is leave an angry comment.  Also, I would encourage you to not ask your friends to leave angry comments.  And let’s just leave sock puppets out of the picture altogether.  There is nothing honest about them.  If you feel your book has been unfairly savaged I would strongly encourage you to find your most trusted friend and complain to them.  If they really are your best and most trusted friend they’ll prevent you from having a public, career exploding, meltdown wherein you bully your customers because you didn’t like their opinion.  Really.  I can’t stress enough that is bad business.  It’s also bad at being a human.  So much of the m/m genre is about tolerance.  Authors must be tolerant of the opinions of their customers if they want them to be repeat customers.

Reviews are unpredictable as they are opinions and can change from person to person and day to day.  They are not a judgment of the author as a person, nor should they be.  It’s okay to be upset by a review, but bear in mind it’s just one person’s opinion.