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PSA for all authors who review books, 5 reasons to PROCEED WITH CAUTION!

Updated: Mar 3, 2020

As an author, it’s only logical to assume you read. If you read, you undoubtedly have an opinion about the books you’ve read, so who better to write a book review than YOU right?Probably, but if you’re promoting your OWN book for review at the same time…PROCEED WITH CAUTION!

Maybe YOU review each book without bias, as you should, but some authors don’t exactly operate under a code of ethics after they’ve received an unfavorable review from you. Here are 5 things to think about before agreeing to cross-review books with other authors, or to publicly review books at all as an author.

1. Authors you’ve reviewed poorly may seek out your work and return the “favor” out of spite or simply to appease their wounded egos. You should be especially cautious if you’ve agreed to cross review books because your little masterpiece is now a sitting duck for the disgruntled author.

2. If you’re blogging book reviews by request, make your review and keep it moving. Don’t offer any constructive behind the scenes criticism or suggestions to help them improve their book. They may have a delicate ego, spiteful disposition, or simply lack the ability to receive your critique/help constructively. For all you know, noone’s ever said anything less than “This is the best book EVER” to them before; so now your review is received with a side eye and a middle finger. Don’t waste your time.

3. Don’t forget that your books are also vulnerable to poor reviews. You never know how your review may be received by OTHER authors, and readers.  They may disagree with your review, the tone, or the fact that you’re reviewing books at all. Your book review of another book may change other author and reader perceptions of you and your work, simply based on how you reviewed someone else’s. Seems ridiculous right? But it could happen!

4. Don’t do anything that takes away from the emphasis on your own work. If at anytime your blogged book reviews of other books become more popular or notable than reviews or promotions for your book…you might want to rethink where your focus lies.

5. Everything you do is a risk. If you post an honest review on a book which is unfavorable, or has some unfavorable components, you can affect your reputation as a reviewer. Watering down your review, or being considerably harsh, may be offputting to readers and authors alike. How do you find a happy medium for the genre’s you review? For your reading audience? You’ll have to find that out for yourself. My only advice is to proceed with caution.

Good luck!

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