The ethics of accepting free things for review is being debated amongst comic reviewers. Can you give an unbiased opinion about a book or comic or DVD or whatever if it’s a freebie? Etc etc blah blah blah.
Please! Of course, you can.
I have to admit I find this debate a bit yawn-worthy. Reviewers and critics have been getting stuff for free and then completely slamming the stuff they don’t like since the dawn of the printed word. If someone out there is giving only good reviews to the free stuff then they’re not worthy of the name “reviewer” or “critic”. They’re poorly paid advertising. Readers can tell the difference.
I am sure it is frustrating for creators to know their books (or comics) are being sent out there and then not hear anything from reviewers, but it is just one more step in the long frustrating game of publication. Honestly, I think writers should be glad that there are so many more venues for their books to be reviewed now then in the past —at least with the web you can get your work reviewed by literally hundreds of places, rather than relying on a very few the way it was twenty years ago. At least you have a decent shot to get some publicity.
This is so very true. In the last six months or so I’ve been
finding accidentally stumbling across roughly a review a week of one of my books somewhere on the intramanets. Some are just a line or two, others are much longer. That’s a lot of talk about my books that would not have existed ten years ago. Or even five. Not all are positive, not all sites have a tonne of traffic. So they’re not generating oodles of sales. Doesn’t matter. It’s absolutely delicious to be able to read what my audience thinks. To have tangible proof that I have an audience. No matter how small.
I remember way back in 1993, at my very first science fiction convention, meeting a published writer who had already published five or six books. She told me one of the things she liked best about cons was getting to meet people who’d read her books. “Otherwise, I’d just be writing in a vacuum. Most of my books haven’t been reviewed anywhere.”
My eyes bugged out. It had never occurred to me that you could be a published author and not be reviewed. (It had never occurred to me that you could be a published writer and not be living on champagne, mangosteens, and caviar with rainbows of happiness cascading all around you.) Now, of course, I know better.
I’ve just finished a trilogy. The first book was widely reviewed in the offline press, the second book—not so much. I’ll be interested to see what happens with the third. I’ve heard that the longer a series goes on, the less you get reviewed. (You know, unless you’re J. K. Rowling.)
But I do know that even if I get no “official” reviews at all. There’ll still be online ones. There have already been a few. I came across the lastest one today. It’s from one of the regular commenters here, Rebecca, and it’s her very first book review. I think it’s excellent, but I’m incredibly biased. She says
Magic’s Child does everything I could have hoped for and more. If you aren’t already reading it, or on the waiting list to borrow my copy of Magic or Madness (hehe, I have a waiting list), then you should go out and get the books RIGHT NOW. Plus, Magic Lessons just came out in paperback. And so I must conclude that Magic’s Child is awesome and was an excellent, surprising, and exciting end to the trilogy (which, incidentally, I pulled an all-nighter to read. Yes–it’s that good 😀 ). Read it. Everyone. Now.
So, yeah, what Colleen said. This writer is very glad indeed that the intramawebbies has produced so many more venues for reviewing and talking about the things we love. Yay intramanets!