Thoughts of a Book Review Blogger ~ Annie
When I started blogging I had no real goal, ideas of grandeur, or plans for being friends with authors. Honestly, I didn’t really have any expectations or long term plans at all. I just wanted a place to voice my personal opinions of books I loved, or did not, whatever the case may be. Being able to talk to other book addicts is a complete added bonus and the joy I have gained from blogging has far surpassed anything I imagined!
At first I just posted book reviews and after awhile I realized you can do author interviews and you start engaging with authors. You might even start attending book signings and/or conventions more often. The next thing you know POW you realize you KNOW and ADORE these authors for more than just their books. You like them as people and maybe even a friendship forms.
Some book review bloggers, including myself, are part of “Street Teams”. If you are unfamiliar with this term the short of it is that you support and help spread the word about an artist (including authors). This can be a very nice thing for readers and authors alike. But, as a book review blogger could you have a conflict? Of course you could! The real question becomes, what are you going to do about it? Do you avoid posting the review? Do you look for extra reasons to nudge the review or rating a little more on the favorable side?
This is where the true conflict can present itself. What happens if you don’t like a book an author friend has written? I have been lucky and so far I have not truly disliked anything author friends have written. Yet, I will admit this fear exists and acknowledge the potential remains for this obstacle to present itself.
I know, at times, I struggle with not giving authors I love “perfect” ratings. Luckily, I have yet to come across an absolutely terrible book from any authors I like. To me, If I rate your book a 3 or 3.5 it is not a bad rating. I know some authors and bloggers would probably disagree, but I don’t think admitting flaws exist in the book make for a bad read or that I would not recommend it.
I just try to stay focused on my original goal and life mantra – BE HONEST. It helps that I am truly a terrible liar. I will say that I never bash an author no matter how much I dislike their book in a review. To me, it is just mean and distasteful. I try to follow the same rules across the board. Be respectful and say what you didn’t like – it is really that simple. This makes it a little easier as I feel my reviews remain consistent in tone.
Although I am very snarky and sarcastic in person, I tone it down for the reviews. Everyone in my real life should be extremely proud of my ability to do so and just don’t expect it to carry over to real life. 😉
The question is – do readers take reviews and opinions as 100% unbiased if you are admitting you are a general supporter of one specific author? I honestly don’t know. I know that most of the review bloggers I network with or know always seem to post honest and fair reviews, but this is only a sliver of the book review bloggers out there.
My friends in real life know that I am blunt and honest. If I am asked a question they KNOW they are going to get an honest answer. I hope that my author friends will come to expect the same from me and not hate me if one day I post a negative review of your baby. I cannot love everything and there is even some chocolate I don’t like. I mean, if I can dislike a piece of chocolate, I can certainly dislike a book others might love!
I have to admit that I wrote this post some time ago and have been holding on to it afraid of the feared “blogger suicide”. However, this subject came up in several different ways during the Authors After Dark Convention both with fellow bloggers and authors.
Many reviewers feel that only positive reviews should be given. Especially when it comes to the dreaded 1 star or DNF (did not finish) reviews. I certainly post these, although luckily it does not happen very often. I know we all have different views, but if a respectful negative review is given I think it provides great feedback and information for readers and authors.
Booked & Loaded was created as a platform based on honest reviews and I feel that this does include negative or low rated reviews.
So, I have a couple of questions for you.
#1. Readers – When you read a review from a Blogger that is a Street Team or open supporter of one specific author, do you assume the review is 100% accurate?
#2. Bloggers – Has this day of hell happened to you? Have you posted or refrained from posting a negative review because of the relationship with the author?
#3. Authors – You are welcome to comment as well! What do you expect from Street Team members that are also book reviewers and what do you think about negative reviews?