Another day, another drama llama - and this one is on the review side of the coin. It seems the review site, chicklitgirls, received a request from author Michele Gorman for a review and they responded with… well, you have to read it to truly take it in.
There is so much wrong with this response that we boggle, and we’re going to have to try and take these issues one at a time.
First, let’s go with the biggie - paying for a review. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, book reviews are for the reader not for the author. We’re here to tell readers our opinion on books, we’re not an author’s marketing department. We cannot imagine how a review can be unbiased if the reviewer is being paid. And even if you are so honest that even when being paid you would definitely give your true opinion, you still look biased - as my law school hammered into me, to be ethical you need to avoid the appearance of bias. Why should anyone trust your reviews when you have such an incentive to lie? And you know that your readers wouldn’t trust your reviews or you wouldn’t go to such elaborate lengths (and, frankly, comical legal threats) to hide your policy. To accept money from reviews and try to hide that from your readers is to lie, deceive and, yes, con your readers. They could be buying these books based on your supposedly honest review - you are conning them.
In our case, on Fangs For the Fantasy, we will never accept money for a review (if you want an advert, buy an advert, but we’re not selling reviews, nor will we do promotion posts) and the only thing we will accept for a review is the book itself (and, even then, we will disclose to our readers that we received a book from the author). This is to ensure that our policy remains unbiased and to establish and maintain trust with our valued readership.
Secondly, if there were any proof of these writer’s bias, it would be their ability to promise a positive review before even reading the book - from just reading a synopsis. We’ve read a lot of books at Fangs, and let us tell you, there is no greater work of marketing spin in the world than a book’s synopsis! Even the most dreary, boring, poorly written drek that you wouldn’t line the cat’s litter tray with tends to have a positively glowing and exciting synopsis.