Keep doing your sterling work, Paula. You’ve clearly stated on this site more than once that you only review books that you care about, that get under your skin, get cerebral muscles working, that you want to engage with critically – it’s an overarching policy. Longtime followers of the blog know that, respect it and really appreciate the time and work you put into covering NZ poetry. There is no waving at trains here.
I don’t believe they are paid (or bogus) reviews in many cases. As an Indie publisher, I give away free copies periodically, to strangers, for the express purpose of promoting the work. Some review the books, and show up without the “verified” tag. Others post their reviews on multiple sites, but don’t purchase through Amazon.
Book Haunt | READING AND REVIEWING BOOKS
Hmm, I’m not sure I’d ever support an indie author who asks others to post their own reviews for them. I review Indie books, and sometimes their authors review my books. That, I believe, is fair.
5. Keep your balance—Overly negative or unconditionally positive reviews suck. They just do. Why bash your fellow writer (especially when you know how time-consuming and emotionally wrought the entire process is)? Alternately, over-enthusiasm may come across as bias. “What does this reviewer have to gain?” A reader may ask. I make it a practice to only review books that I like, which means I may sometimes sway to the over zealous side of things. Providing my interpretation of the book’s synopsis definitely provides some balance. I also have created a device that I use in some of my reviews that gives a list of reasons why a reader may like a particular book and why she’ll dislike it. I’ve gotten very positive feedback on this method but find it hard to provide might not likes for contemporary authors.But then there’s the signal – that delicious, delicious signal. People often ask me how I choose books to review. There’s no simple answer; also no especially interesting answer. I review books if they do something I’ve never seen done before; or if I fall in love with them; or if they shock me or piss me off or otherwise won’t leave me alone; if they alter the way my brain works; if I can’t stop thinking about them; if for whatever reason I absolutely have to tell people about them.