Authors Reviewing Books
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I've disobeyed my publisher's edict and have been lurking at Amazon reading the "Badly Behaving Authors" and "Beautifully Behaving Authors" forums. I did not know this, but authors are not not allowed to review books in their own genre - something about competition, and from what some comments read, jealousy and rivalry.
I think the last thing I would do is purposefully down-vote a book just to smackdown another author, or give a bad review to a book I didn't read to level the arena. Now, writing a bad review for a book I DID read, that's another matter. I'm not one of those reviewers who holds punches - read my review of "50 Shades of Grey" or several of my other reviews at Goodreads and here, and at my blog. If I like a book, I say so; if I didn't, I say so. Authors are readers, too. We have favorite authors, books, and there are those books we've thrown against walls (literally or no). I think a review by an author within one's own genre is helpful. It's like a critique. What we can take from such reviews is constructive criticism. I'd rather take it from an author than a family member.
What do you think? Consider those promotional blurbs authors splash on the dust jackets and the frontispieces of books written by colleagues. Within the bounds of fairness and equity, shouldn't we all help one another to keep the public reading?
I agree completely. As authors we need to be readers, and we need to hear from others in our genre. We write that genre, so naturally we will read it. I think it creates a biased to say that one can't review a novel because it's the same genre one writes. I think as long as a review is honest and not a pat my back and I pat yours, it's fine. Then again though, whose to know what is and what isn't unless one looks at that persons reviewing history? I think that's the strongest point, to ensure a review is valid, that the person doesn't just say everything is dandy about every book. No book is perfect and that's honesty.
Unfortunately, I do know of such cases. When the Amazon's site had a glitch a few years ago and accidentally posted the real names of all the reviewers, it turned out to be . . . interesting. Lots of people with multiple names were posting glowing reviews of their own work and bad reviews for competitors. As far as I can tell, there was nothing done to change the possibility of this happening.
The only thing you can do is be honest in your own reviews.
I've seen some of review abuse at Amazon, including someone bashing a book while posting a link to their own book (several of us complained and got the review pulled). Since Amazon reviews are at point of sale, the temptation to abuse may be much greater than on a site such as this. That might explain the difference in policies.
I think it's immature and unprofessional and gives authors across the board bad street cred.
I did not know this, but authors are not not allowed to review books in their own genre - something about competition, and from what some comments read, jealousy and rivalry.
Huh. If that's the case, it must be limited to fiction -- I've written Amazon reviews (including some scathingly bad ones) on books in the same fields as my own, with out so much as a whimper from The Powers That Be. Perhaps even more to the point, Roger Launius -- former Chief Historian of NASA, senior curator at the National Air & Space Museum, and author of a string of space-history books as long as your arm -- has reviewed space-history books under his own name for years on Amazon.
Curiouser and curiouser . . .
I don't think there's much enforcement. I suspect they only respond to complaints, if then.
"Not allowed" by whom? I have my own author page on Amazon and review regularly. I would be the EASIEST of people to "catch" since all they'd have to do is look at my account.
I think it's the original poster's own publisher that has that policy, not Amazon.
Many professional book reviewers are also authors, and often review works within their own genre or genres because that's what they know the most about. There's nothing wrong with it as long as the reviewer is honest in his/her opinions. I was once assigned to review a book that a friend of mine had edited, a book I didn't care for. It was awkward but there was nothing I could do about it. He was a gentleman about it.
...and I do believe it most prevalent in the fiction/romance genre.
Amy, no apology necessary. The reason why I'm at LibraryThing is the fairness, commeradrie (think I spelled that wrong), support and humor - and honesty I've found. I've also found some great books, recommendations, been introduced to quite a few readers and authors.
My turn for oops! I deleted my own message! Okay, time for bed - I'm a cranky baby.
Ellen, could you confirm who it was that said you weren't allowed to review in your own genre? Amazon, or your publisher, or the forums? I occasionally post my reviews to Amazon, so if they're restricting it to reviews of works outside my own genre, I'm not going to be adding many more ...
The only thing I can see that might be interpreted as "not being allowed to in your own genre" is the language Sentiments by or on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product (including reviews by publishers, manufacturers, or third-party merchants selling the product) under Amazon's Review Guidelines.
But it seems weird to me to say that just because you're writing in the same genre that your book is a "directly competing product"!
When it comes to non-fiction, as a reader, I want to hear from people familiar with the subject.
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