I believe I belong to a fraternity of bloggers and reviewers. To quite an extent I am immensely proud of the same too. When any author approaches me to review his or her book I do feel proud of the fact that he / she considers my views worthwhile enough to be sought like this. But my recent experiences after having added the tag of author to my profile do have a different story to share.
To give you a brief background – I review for few publishing houses apart from the various authors who approach me through emails or social media for the same. When they discuss the aspect of review I also ask them about being interview along with it to ensure the readers have a complete package to fall back on when they read either of them.
Yes, I am a human at the end of the day that comes with her own set of limitations. I fell sick badly in between where there were serious lapses in my work. But I always make it a point to inform the concerned people about the delay. Even recently when due to some issues the internet in my whole city was shut down for 3 days I had ensured the concerned people knew about the probable delay. This according to me is professionalism.
If you cannot, the person who has given you the work deserves to know about it and why as well. We all understand, we all are human and there is nobody out their baying for your blood. You might be a freelancer without a boss to whom you feel answerable but you are answerable to your clients to a very large extent for your work speaks much more than what you choose to say.
As I always like telling the authors as well, we are all like the two sides of the coin and it is always beneficial if we are able to work in tandem with each other. That helps us grow and learn. When I am trying hard to clear a back log and some author approaches me I very clearly specify the timelines that seem appropriate at that moment and the possible delay arising out of the same. I also let them know that it would be unfair on both the current author and you to do a rushed review just to meet the timelines. Neither do I want to give you a picture that I am sitting on your book for what seems like eternity nor do I want to do it only for the heck of doing it. I respect literature and the art of book writing. I respect authors and I respect the book in my hand.
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Now coming to main point - After I became a published author I also tried to get reviews for my books through my fellow reviewers by sending free copies of my books. I also held giveaways where the participants won free copies in return for unbiased reviews. I was also happy when I was approached by reviewers asking for copies of my books and my interview on their blog. I felt glad to see all this. But I was wrong, the reviews never came. The interviews never happened. I was hugely disappointed to see this approach from my fellow reviewers. I kept reminding and the kind of replies I got was hilarious so to speak. So much that I finally left it all and stopped pursuing in the first place.
Every time an author sends us a book (even when we don’t charge for reviews) the book has a cost behind it. And there is a reason why the author wants it to be reviewed. It might help them in book sales. We coming out with a book review like after 6-8 months or worse like in my case after almost a year of the book release somewhere dilutes the whole purpose of having sent the book in the first place.
Initially I used to wonder when some authors used to talk about this, but today I can sense where they come from after this experience. Disappointed and disheartened I am for after 6 books and the experience with each one of them, there is nothing more left to say so to speak. But, I am still hopeful that someday it will be what it is supposed to be. For the key is very simple - Respect and you will be respected!