Are Customer/Book Blogger Reviews Better than Reviews by People Who Are Being Paid to Read Your Books?
One of the best differences between reviewing here as opposed to within my critique group is that I don’t have to finish reading anything I don’t want to finish reading.
A lot of writers complain about the age of the customer/book blogger review, but I actually think it’s for the best. I can’t tell you how many professional reviews I’ve read for books I’ve loved that were written by people who wouldn’t have read what they were reviewing if they weren’t being paid to do so.
Many times these reviews are really angry, and the reviewer just goes to town on the author. Having only learned to forcibly divorce my anger about having to read something I didn’t want to read from my critique group feedback a couple of years ago, I somewhat understand their position. While much of a paid reviewer’s vitriol is because he or she didn’t care for the book, some percentage of it also must be due to the fact that he or she had to finish reading the book.
Most of us are allowed to put books down if we wish to do so, but paid readers are basically held hostage by books they don’t like, and when it comes time to write their review, they often have the opposite of Stockholm Syndrome. Trust me, when I have to do something for my day job that I don’t want to do, I become one bitter Nancy myself.
In many ways I think it’s best to have the people who actually want to read your book reviewing your book. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get good reviews. But it does mean that the bad ones might actually be for more valid reasons than the one written by the magazine or newspaper reviewer whose editor has assigned him a book he wouldn’t ever pick up on his own.