Flawed Perfection – June Virtual Book Fair 2015
I recently read an article on a blog that got me thinking about the rights of readers and bloggers to openly express their opinions. The article discussed how the blogger was no longer going to participate in blog tours, why? The blogger had given a four star review to a novel, and the publisher had requested that the blogger change it. The publisher even went so far as to provide suggestions, and gave the blogger an ultimatum if they did not change the review. The ultimatum was that the publisher would not promote the blogger’s blog. You may be wondering what was in this review that the publisher was so emboldened to ask the blogger to change, especially with it being a four star review. The blogger had used one single word that the author, and then the publisher, was offended by. After reading the article, I absolutely agreed with the word the blogger used; there was no other definition that fit the situation at hand, at least not truthfully.
In the end, the blogger had the right to say exactly what she felt, exactly the way she wanted to. That right was taken away by a publisher, and what appalled me the most about this was the fact the publisher is huge in the business. I do not agree with reviews that flagrantly attack the author or their novel and establish opinion as fact, but this review did not of that. The review was honest, open and well written. The publisher should have accepted it as it was. It simply warned other readers of the content, and it didn’t disparage it in any way. The last time I checked, that was what a review was supposed to do—let other readers know how an individual felt about a book.
Further, the author seemed to be the person who felt spurned by the review and pushed the publisher to their actions. It’s commonly known that author’s should not contact, reply or have others reply to reviews they did not enjoy. I guess this doesn’t include the publisher. As a reader, this has me greatly questioning the reviews of many major published books. Major publishers have the money to buy reviews, where Indie authors may not; furthermore, they have the power to enforce good reviews. The fact the blogger changed their review demonstrated that. The publisher bullied the blogger, as politely as they may have felt they did it, into changing their review. They made the blogger feel ashamed. Perhaps the author felt ashamed by the honesty the review held, and that feeling was pushed back on the blogger. To me, there is no reason an author or a publisher should request a change to a good review or even a bad one. As a reader, I can tell when a review was written by someone who only skimmed the book or that is taking their opinion and molding it into fact. I can also make my own decision as to whether or not to buy a book, and I am glad the blogger called out that one word. It means I won’t be picking up that book, but even if that one word wouldn’t have changed my mind, the publisher’s actions did.
In a world with thousands of books, I’d rather be supporting ones that come from smaller firms or independent authors with the integrity to accept reviews for better or worse, be it on a blog tour or not.
New Adult Author