Reciprocal Author Reviews – Unethical credibility damagers or good business?

The concept of author’s trading reviews is somewhat troubling for me.  Even if unspoken or stated otherwise, does it create an expectation of “I’ll give you five stars and you give me five?”  Won’t the perception of readers that this is “going on” hurt the credibility of the participants?

Now don’t get me wrong.  I think it is good that authors and writers are willing to do reviews.  Why shouldn’t those so intimately involved in the profession participate in reviewing others’ books?   The potential problem arises when reviews are “traded.”

I think the correct policy to follow may be a willingness to review others’ books but not of authors who have reviewed your work.   The problem is that there is a shortage of reviewers for most genres.  So how do we find a happy middle ground where everyone involved is served.  What do you think?

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I think the middle would be to make your work available to the author especially as a review copy, that way the person hasn't got to worry about cost. And a review can be done a lot quicker. Is that a good idea, I am new to this so I am not sure.

I don't know. I would think an author would prefer someone who is an editor or who normally reviews books to review their work. I can see how there might be a conflict of interest. As a book blogger and reviewer myself, we kind of all are on the honors policy, aren't we? I mean, you trust that I am giving a fair review and readers are trusting that I am honest. Right?

You are right.  It is less likely though that a conflict of interest will occur between author and a  reviewer / blogger than between two authors who are "trading reviews."

Ah, yes - the NYT model.

Unethical, not credible and yet... good business.

Go figure.

We get to decide if we are going to engage in unethical practices.  I am very uncomfortable with the idea of authors "trading reviews." 

I don't think it's something you "decide", it's more like being afraid of payback.

To lead a life of fear is to give up our freedom.

I think we as bloggers need to realize that when we review someones book that we need to be truthful about the book. If your a writer then your hoping that the person or persons will be truthful. I would want someone that's willing to read it, tell the truth, then say wither its worth reading. I don't really read what people here have written yet, I would feel sort of unconfertable writing a review where I didn't like the book. I know that its hard to get those then you get critacism about your review. I've heard of some people getting mad because they didn't like what you said. 

Being that I haven't finished writing my own book. I really do believe that I'll let an editor review it first and hope for publication then, I'll let the book bloggers and newspapers go for it. That just how I feel.

I agree that being truthful is always the best policy.  The truth is no matter how good your book is it won't be liked by everyone.  If the book is poorly written you can learn a lot from constructive criticism.   

I've read a few samples of books that have glowing reviews but the grammar, content, story was so awful that I immediately stopped reading.  It made me wonder where all of those great reviews came from - hmmm....   

I've been contacted by other authors and asked to review their books - I make my review policy clear:  If I don't like it (meaning it is awful or difficult to read) then I won't review it.  There's enough negativity out there without me adding to the pile.  If I love it or even like it - I review it honestly on Amazon and on my blog. I never ask for a reciprocal review because I would feel as if I were somehow implying that they should abide by my policy or give my book a good review.  I think in the end credibility and reputation suffer because of "innacurate" reviews.  As a result of my experiences, I don't pay much attention to reviews; I sample books and if I like the sample then I buy the book. 

It sounds like you are handling the reviews well !


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