In my capacity as a book reviewer, I have worked with many authors. Most of them have been absolutely amazing, kind, considerate people. But it’s the other (small) part, the one that moans, nitpicks, gets ‘smart’ and thinks the world owes them something that makes my job quite unpleasant at times. That is why I have compiled this list for future references.
Authors, if this information seems blatantly obvious to you, great! Thank you for realizing book reviewers are human beings. If this information is completely new to you, then don’t waste my time by submitting your book for reviewing.
1. I am not your editor.
If there are mistakes in books, I will make notes of them as I read and include a few examples in my review. In my emails to authors I will often mention them and include some page numbers as examples. If there are only a few mistakes, I will list all of them. But sometimes this information brings up the question if I could go back and re-read a novel to find all of the mistakes, which brings me to the title of this point: I am not your editor.
If you are traditionally published and there are mistakes, it is not my problem that your editor did not do their job. They are obviously lazy or incompetent or both and should be fired. If you are self-published and hired a freelance editor but there are still mistakes, it is also not my problem. You got duped; it’s sad, but still not my problem. And, finally, if you are self-published but did not hire an editor, it is most definitely not my problem that you cannot match the quality of a real editor.
In short, bad editing is not my problem and I am under absolutely no obligation to tell you where all of the mistakes are. If you ask nicely I might, depending on how busy I am at the time and how much effort you are asking me to put in. If you want me to catch every little mistake and do content editing…well that’s a whole different ballgame. Hint: the answer is ‘no’, unless you’re willing to pay the proper hourly fee according to the EFA plus a little more since editing is above and beyond the call of a book reviewer. Basic copy-editing will cost you $50 an hour and my rates only go up from there. Hint: You can find cheaper rates out there.
2. You are not my editor.
When you send me your book to be reviewed, I will always send you a copy of my review at least one week before publication. This is out of courtesy and can also be a great opportunity to discuss possible interviews, giveaways, guest posts, etc. if I liked the book. When I send you a copy of my review, it does not mean it is there for you to critique.
You would be surprised how many authors try to tell me how to write reviews. “You should include more of the positive aspects”, “be more specific”, “I don’t like how you phrased…”, etc. Providing me with a free book means I will give you an honest review, nothing more. I am not under any obligation to give you a good review. You are not entitled to control over my opinion either. My opinion is my own and you do not get a say in what I put in my review. Such is the risk of putting your book out there, I guess.
If you don’t like the fact that I was blunt in describing your book’s flaws, too bad. When it comes to something like poor editing, I’m not all that cautious about stepping on people’s toes. Don’t want me to criticize the editing? Get a better editor. Again: you are not my editor.
Although in cases where an author has criticism for my review, I will be happy to include the critique below my review or even in an article. I’m sure my readers will appreciate it.
3. If you treat me badly, I will call you out on it.
I love authors. They make my little book blogging hobby possible and for the most part, they’re amazing people to work with. Yet, as with everything, a small minority has been ruining it for the great majority. So now I have a new policy:
If you treat me badly (badly being defined as name calling, ad hominem attacks, arguing or anything that could be defined as ‘cyber bullying’) I will call you out publicly on my blog.
From now on, by submitting your book for review, you are acknowledging that if I feel I am treated badly by you as an author that I will be going public about it. For those of you that are worried, just know that I am not a sensitive person, nor one who is easily angered. It takes a lot to get me angry so if/when I call an author out publicly, there will be a lot of evidence to prove my case. In some instances I may not use the author’s name, but you can be sure I will not put up with bad treatment any longer.
But really, there is no excuse for treating book reviewers like myself badly. We are people too, I swear. The internet may make things seem impersonal, but just remember there is another living, breathing human being with very real feelings on the receiving end of your nasty email or social media smear campaign. Most people wouldn’t say such things to a person standing in front of them, so don’t say them to a blogger who is just doing what you asked them to. Basic human decency is what it all boils down to. Treat me with respect and a little kindness and you can be sure it will go a long way.