But I like books, too!!! :*(

(Apparently this afternoon’s post did not, as it promised, have ALL the things).

I wanted to address something that came up on Twitter, regarding writing books, and writing reviews.

It came up because I was all “All you book bloggers and reviewers get ARCs but I want ARCs too! Why no author get ARC love?” and someone replied, quite logically, “Why don’t you review, then?”

Now, this is a bigger question. And it’s one that authors talk about a lot, with people falling on both sides of the review/no review spectrum. The issue is this:

Can authors review books? Or rather, can they review them *honestly* without it turning into a schmoozefest, or without fear of damaging relationships with other authors?

For me, personally, I believe the answer is no. I am a very picky reader, in that I read a LOT and like a good deal, but love very little. When I DO love a book, I will shout about it from the rooftops, and I will hand-sell it to everyone I pass (Stolen is a great example. I still shout on Twitter whenever it’s mentioned. I still push it on people in stores). But I’d say I fall in LOVE with maybe, maybe, 3 books a year. Out of anywhere from the 50-100 I read.

So, no, no matter how badly I want those advance reads, I won’t review. The only times I review a book are when I LOVE it and NEED to share. And so, the question again arises…how am I supposed to get books?? Shouldn’t it be easy? Shouldn’t there be some password, some wink, some badge??

No, I get books with bribes. COOKIE BRIBES.

So, bloggers, JUST KEEP THAT IN MIND šŸ˜‰


11 thoughts on “But I like books, too!!! :*(

  1. This answer was loosely directed at me, huh? šŸ˜› But I totally understand how it is.

    Cookie bribes for the win! šŸ˜€

    • veschwab says:

      Actually, Hafsah, I’m so, so glad you brought it up. This is something I’ve been wanting to talk about for several months now, and your comment provided the perfect springboard. I have friends who fall on both sides of this debate, but I also know that opinions shift as people become more enmeshed in the community, and realize how small a world the writing industry really is.

  2. beth says:

    Yes, a very good question! I’ve wrestled with it a lot. I blogged before the book deal, and I had honest and critical reviews on there. But I took them all down after I got the book deal–I didn’t want to think I influenced someone to NOT read a book based on a critical review. I’m all for book bloggers, and I’m in favor of them reviewing critically, but I felt icky doing it.

    But–I am part of the Bookanistas, a group that does reviews. If I love a book, I review it. If there’s one aspect of the book I particularly love, I mention that. Or, I might interview the author. But I limit what I do and how I present it for the very reason that I don’t want to be too much of an influence. I want to spread the word about good books (and friends’ books!) without being a shill.

    • veschwab says:

      It’s such a hard question, and ultimately it’s the reason I turned down the opportunity to join the Bookanistas. That said, I have mad respect for those who CAN find balance. And I do shout about every book I LOVE šŸ™‚

  3. Phoebe says:

    You probably know that I’m an aspiring and I review–in fact, “How do you feel about authors who review?” is one of my top questions for agents this query round, and it’s been a requisite for me that agents actually have a respectful convo with me about it. My feeling is that while I love many people who happen to be authors, I’m professionally involved in both writing and reviewing because I creatively value books (and reader reactions to books) more. It might make things more difficult, or occasionally awkward for me, but I value the conversation that much that I’d really, really have trouble giving it up.

    I’ve also done a lot of reading about the impact of critical reviews on sales; for well-established authors (Stephen-King established) negative reviews can stifle sales. But for debut authors and newbies, and press really is good press, and even wide-spread pannings can increase sales–it’s much more a matter of getting the word out there. That doesn’t mean that critical reviewers are exactly loved by all authors, of course, which is why I know my reviewing may come with a price. It’s just a price I’m willing to pay.

    I’ve also started reviewing more professionally–my first pro review is coming up from Strange Horizons. I know many professional reviewers who only review books who move them positively, and SH is also looking for more intrepid girl reviews. So that’s always an option.

    But I respect any author who feels differently than I do, too. It’s really a to-each-her-own kind of thing.

    Other free book options? Conferences! ALA and BEA are good free-book options for authors. Also, I’ve heard blurbing will lead to a deluge of books.

    • veschwab says:

      We already talked about this a bit on Twitter, but I have serious respect for your style of reviewing, even if I could never do it. I appreciate honest, thorough reviewing so much. It’s too rare.

  4. Daisy says:

    Cookie bribes are the best! I get why you wouldn’t want to review books as an author, it’s your colleagues who have written them. I mean, I’d feel bad talking about what I think of the skills of my fellow interns as well.
    I’d send you cookie bribes, but as I live in Holland, they can probably walk back themselves by the time they get there…

    • veschwab says:

      Ah, yes, the cookies might not keep!

      And it’s really such a hard balance to find, and everyone comes down at a different point on the spectrum.

  5. Small Review says:

    Hm, cookie bribes, huh? I can do that. šŸ™‚ I’ll have to keep that in mind for when The Archived ARCs get printed (your writing + ghosts, romance, libraries, and archiving = I am so there!!)

    • veschwab says:

      Hahaha, aw, thanks. I CANNOT WAIT to be able to share The Archived. And it is my belief that cookies make the world go round.

  6. I’m all set for a sharing summer with you of ARCs can’t promise I’ll get everything you want to read, but I’m doing pretty good – I do In My Mailbox on Sundays, it’s a great place to see what I have.


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