Start writing
Share this Story

Sorry, HuffPost: This is how a 'non-scamming' book reviewer works

Sara Dobie Bauer is a writer, model and mental health advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. Her short story "Don't Ball the Boss" (inspired by her shameless crush on Benedict Cumberbatch) was nominated for the Pus...

HuffPost book reviewer gets it so wrong, we had to talk back

Author Lev Raphael of The Huffington Post decided to pull the curtain back on all us book reviewers today in his article, "Revealed at Last: Book Reviewing is a Giant Scam."

He admitted, "There's no other reason to write a bad review unless it's personal." Furthermore, according to Raphael, we only write good reviews due to swag — the gifts given to us by publishers to make their newest debut author sound good.

While he may be joking, I'm here to set the record straight: I's just not true — for anyone who may take it seriously.

At least, not for me.

More: Writer vs. director: Fifty Shades of Grey set drama?

A day in the life of this book reviewer?

FedEx rolls down my tiny street in Phoenix, Arizona. My dogs bark. There's an envelope on the front porch and inside I find a book. No diamonds. No tickets to Paris. Simply a book.

How do I decide to review a book? In this case, Raphael is at least a little bit on track. He writes, "So all you indie authors who bitch about not getting reviewed? Suck on it. You'll never break into the system."

I admit that before I review a book, I search for "buzz." If there's enough buzz or an interesting angle, I review the book. Unfortunately, some of the smaller presses and newer authors don't get the chance they deserve. It sucks, but it's true.

More: Book cyberbullying via comments: Don't be a troll!

That said, I'm not going to write a bad review of a book because I think Caitlin Moran is and always will be more famous than me. I won't write a good review just because Cary Elwes was "nice" during our phone interview. (It does help, though; being nice gets you far, no matter the industry.)

There are bad books; do not think for a moment I don't know this. I've reviewed them for work, including one about sorority life and the Anna Todd publishing debacle. What makes for a bad book? Not reader jealousy, but bad writing, overused characters, predictable plots and... bad writing. It happens, but so does good writing, which is the opposite of everything I just mentioned.

More: INTERVIEW: Princess Bride's Cary Elwes shares behind-the-scenes stories you probably haven't heard

All book reviewers are not catty, immature, greedy babies. Some of us love our jobs because in writing a review about a book we admire, we spread the love to other readers. A gift that keeps on giving.

I review books because I love them, not because of the perks. I'm very happy for Mr. Raphael and all his wondrous swag, but please, keep that stuff away from me. I don't want to be anything like him.

More reading

Caitlin Moran talks Benedict Cumberbatch, her novel and furiously masturbating
We admit: Anna Todd's After is pretty bad — here's why
Does this sorority life exposé Dirty Rush take things too far?

Tagged in
New in Entertainment

And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .

SheKnows is making some changes!

b h e a r d !

Welcome to the new SheKnows Community,

where you can share your stories, ideas

and CONNECT with millions of women.

Get Started