- I don’t usually mention in a review that I got a book free from an author. I also don’t usually mention when I’ve picked up a book for free at The Book Thing or when I checked it out of the library or when I got it as a gift from a well-meaning friend or when I won it through the Early Reviewers program on LibraryThing or when I found it by chance via BookCrossing. The point is most of the books I read were free to me so I don’t feel any need to specify in the review how the book made its way into my hands. An author seeking a review has to pitch the book to me first and if it sounds like something I’d enjoy then I accept, but if not, then not. All the books I read are because I want to, not because I feel obligated. Getting it directly from an author only means that I’ll read it sooner, not that I’ll have different thoughts about it.
- The book and its author are separate in my mind. I don’t care if the author is a jerk or an angel; the work stands on its own. I don’t assume, for example, that an author necessarily holds the same opinions as the narrator of his/her novel. So whatever I say about a book, positive or negative, is what I feel about the book. I don’t have any feelings whatsoever about the author as a person.
- I have never been bullied into giving a more positive review. I say up front in my book review guidelines that I make no promises to like any book, after all. The worst treatment I’ve ever received from an author after they read my review of their book was a complete cessation in communication; that is, they simply never replied to my email. And that’s fine. The rest of the authors I’ve worked with have been very friendly and gracious.
- There’s no paid advertising on my blog. When I make posts encouraging you to purchase something or visit a site or whatever, it’s because I either totally believe in what I’m promoting, am doing a favor for a friend, or (most often) both. It is never because I am being paid for it, and if it ever is then I will most definitely say so.
I hope that clears things up. (If they needed clearing up, that is.) If anyone has strong feelings on the subject I’d be happy to add a section of my blog posts to explain how the book made it into my hands. I don’t think it’s all that important, but maybe it is to other people, and it’s certainly no huge burden for me to do so.
*Hat tip to Cleolinda for the links.