It’s been 4 months since I took the leap and asked to be included as a provider of free reviews on the Book Tweeting Service website. I have to say the experience has been wonderful. I have read some really good books and communicated with some really insightful people. My belief that there are many talented writers out there, many not recognised by publishing houses historically, has been reinforced.
As well as reviews, I have had the opportunity to write back to authors and discuss characters and plot twists, which has been a dream come true. The majority of authors are very gracious and are open to discussion and basically accepting what they asked for-feedback. A small minority of authors who have asked for reviews however seem to do so with expectations and when I haven’t conformed to those expectations have lost all pretext of humility and reacted most ungraciously. I shall not name them as self delusion is a powerful thing particularly when reinforced with denial.
It always surprises me, although it shouldn’t, that some authors cannot fathom their work is anything other than perfect. How dare a nobody like me, solicited or not, dare to suggest otherwise. To those authors I say, if books were sold on your opinion alone, you would have no reason to contact me for my reviews and expose me to your ego.
I am one of thousands of people willing to read and write reviews, but there are just as many people who think they have what it takes to write successful best sellers. I accept no renumeration for my reviews and have absolutely no idea who these authors are, I have to say I haven’t heard of any of the people who have approached me for reviews. I doubt anyone has heard of me either but I have no wish to be notorious, or maybe I do as I do write this blog hoping people will read it.
I have had to ask one particularly offensive author not to contact me again and putting it in general terms, I think the author had no idea what feedback was and how to respond to it. I have been offended before but I doubt this individual had ever had his work critiqued before. Of course, the conclusion reached was that his comments were innocuous and I lacked humility. Of course I do, after all reviewers, particularly free reviewers are preceded by their divaesque reputation. Look I’m even making up my own words! Rather than take responsibility for the huge chip on your shoulder and subsequent bad attitude, why not just make it my problem, in fact, I’m sure it’s everyone else’s fault, never yours. I cannot for a moment believe I’m honoured enough to be the only one to upset you.
I have reduced the flow of books coming in to me for reviews so that I can narrow the genre I review, hopefully giving me time to read some of the books I have chosen to buy from authors I have been reading for a while. I still have over 30 books waiting for me to read which I chose to read without the promise of reviews. Only recently my Kindle received the latest Scott Mariarni book from Amazon. I have no idea if I will be able to complete reviews for this month and get round to reading it.
I have certainly grown as a result of reading and reviewing books and I thank every author who has contacted me to read their books whether my critique was accepted or not. I know I have been enriched by the opportunity to read your work, which based on the ineffective way books are promoted, would have passed me by without a trace.
Why the Alien 3 photograph? I think this still depicts the process of reviewing. Sigourney being the author in the first instance and the alien the reviewer, but when it comes to feedback the roles are reversed somewhat and the reviewer is Sigourney.