Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Protecting Reviewer's Rights
A troubling new practice has recently been brought to my attention. One that disturbs me and leaves me scratching my head all at once. Authors, publishers, and blog tour organizers are telling reviewers what kind of reviews can and can't be posted for their books.
I'd love to hear from reviewers if you have encountered this, but here are my initial thoughts on this subject.
First of all, nobody has a right to tell a reviewer what they can and can not say in a review. One gal I know writes extremely humorous reviews. She's magnetic in her humor, and I love reading her posts. So do a lot of other people. She recently started a review blog. She's an avid reader and wanted a place to express her writing and her opinions of the books she reads. So, she read a book, wrote a review, and then sent it to the author before posting it. The author replied that she didn't want the review posted because, in her opinion, it "made a mockery of the seriousness of her literature." The book was about naughty aliens, according to this reviewer, so...how "serious" could that be? It's not like we're talking Tolkien or Shakespeare here. And the review was a good one. It just had a humorous flare. What author turns down a good book review?
Another friend of mine, who has been reviewing books for quite some time, said that she has been asked to take down reviews that were deemed "too negative" and that authors, publishers, and now blog tour organizers are telling reviewers that they can't post anything less than a 3.5 star review of a book...and some won't allow anything less than a 4-5 star.
In my opinion, this is absolutely WAY out of line. For authors, publishers, and blog tour organizers to dictate what a book reviewer says about their books goes against a reviewer's freedom of speech. If an author doesn't want an honest review of their work, then they have no business writing. By the very nature of the profession, once an author publishes their work, they have no control over what the public thinks, nor should they try to sway, persuade, edit, force, or bully anyone to say only positive things about their work. By writing and publishing a book, an author is saying that it is free to be reviewed by whoever wants to review it however they choose to do so.
Again, this is my opinion. What's yours? Are you a reviewer who has been told to remove a negative review or that you had to post a good one to be included on a blog tour, etc.? I'd like to hear from you.