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.
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.
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.
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.
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