It’s a well known fact that authors need to read books. You can’t be a decent writer if you don’t read.
I think it would be great for the bookish community if we could change the current culture of not allowing authors to review books. Reviewing can help to express their opinions on what they have to read anyway to produce well-written books themselves.
One of the main reasons why it’s generally accepted that authors should not review books is that It’s seen that authors are ‘competing’ with each other, and could be using reviews just to bad-mouth others – as if this somehow gives them a sales boost, because of course everything comes back to money.
Or if an author gives a positive review, even if it’s part of the blurb and comes as a perk of being a published author, that they must have been paid to review and/or give a good one-sentence nice thing to say.
But of course, we have seen in the book review community that if an author gives a negative opinion of a book someone else loved, that person with entirely too much twist in their knickers has the ability to go and 1-star the author’s own books.
On the flip side, authors even have the ability to rile up their fanbase and send them to harass private citizen for ‘revenge’. Anne Rice does this.
It’s very sad, but the more common thing for authors is to quit reviewing or sharing opinions on books at all, unless it’s glowing praise, or part of the aforementioned blub provided as a marketing perk to other authors.
Authors should be reviewers.
If authors don’t review, they don’t understand what goes into a review. They don’t understand how it’s subjective, and everyone feels different about a book, even two people who share a favourite book will have things one loved or hated more than the other.
This leads to authors thinking that they ‘deserve’ a 5 star review just on merit, just on the strength of having written a book, or having done the hard work of querying, rising through the slush pile, gotten an agent, the then gone on to sell a book to a major publishing house.
But that’s not the way reviewing works.
You don’t get 5 stars just for writing a book.
Reviewers are not there just to automatically 5-star books.
We’re literally free marketing.
Don’t shit on us.
We love books, but maybe not yours.
Don’t take it personally.
Look, I know it’s not easy. Writing a book is hard work. Being vulnerable about it is tough. The industry is tough.
But no one deserves 5 stars just because they wrote a book.
I don’t even give my absolute favourite authors of all time automatic 5 stars.
4 stars also means it was a good book, just maybe didn’t sing as much for the reader as their favourites.
If an author understands this, maybe they won’t go off on a rant about receiving 4 stars or below for a book they consider a part of themselves.
It’s not the author reviewers are reviewing. It’s the book. It’s not personal until you make it personal.