Longtime readers of the blog know that I officially stopped blogging (for a little over a month, at least) almost exactly one year ago. The complicated reasons boil down to, essentially, it being pointed out to me that it might be very unwise to be on the reviewing/public reader side of things when I hope to have a career in publishing as an author.
Bittersweet, which I raved a bit about yesterday, is the first book I've elected not to review because of close ties to the author/book that might possibly be seen by some as influencing any review I might write. So I wanted to talk about that a little bit, about the larger issue and my stance on it.
Here's the thing: much as I want to be right now dangit, I am not an author. I don't have a book deal or an agent. I am purely aspiring. But the other thing is: everyone knows I'm aspiring. I'm not secret about my writing life. I openly talk about writing, editing, and my stories. And someday (confidence is key), it's going to happen.
Meanwhile, I am straddling the line of writer/aspiring author and reviewer/blogger. I try my very best to be kind, decent, and honest. I know a few authors. I wouldn't go so far as to say we're best buddies or anything, but I'm comfortable saying that there are a couple of published authors who I consider acquaintances. Many of the authors I know are incredibly supportive fellow writers, but until now there hasn't been a book published that made me feel like reviewing it might be taken the wrong way by some.
Inspired partly by the fact that now there is such a book out and partly by upcoming author and reviewer Phoebe North's Goodreads Pledge, I thought I should say some things of my own to reflect where I am in the stream of publishing (meaning: not-yet) and reviewing (meaning: still reviewing almost every YA I read).
1. There may be some books that I elect not to review and there are a variety of reasons for this, but know that if I do review a book the review will be absolutely honest. In fact, if I say anything about what I think of a book or my feelings toward it, I'm going to be honest. If I say I love a book, I love it. End of story.
2. I have no idea how far to go in disclosing any sort of relationship with authors when I review their books. There are many authors I talk to over Twitter, often about books and/or writing. Most of the time it doesn't seem relevant for me to mention it, but I know that others have differing viewpoints on this and I'd love to know where you stand on the issue. Here's my current decision, which will probably change as time goes on: if I'm actually friends (not just acquaintances) with an author, I'll state it upfront. If I beta read the book at any stage pre-ARC/publication, I'll say so. If the author beta read any of my writing, I'll mention that, too. And of course, if I think there's too much involvement, I won't review it.
3. Even if I don't review a book I'll probably still talk about it -- both here and on Twitter -- especially if it's a book I love.
4. If and when I mess up (because I probably will), either by offending or misleading others, or overstepping boundaries, I'll own up to it and try to make things right.
5. Last -- and most importantly -- I'm always going to conduct myself with honesty, integrity, and decency. Or, you know, try my very very best to live up to that.
Like I said, I'm not an author right now. When I ever get an agent and then beyond that as an author, my stance on these things will possibly/probably change to reflect that. It's all a process.