søndag den 31. januar 2010

Principles for Reviews

Principles? Why write about principles as I have survived a whole year of blogging about crime fiction without having any?

The main reason is that recently publishers have begun contacting me, offering me review examples of books. Wonderful, but also slightly daunting. Do my reviews really live up to this kind of commitment and responsibility?

Well, I have reached the conclusion that if they don´t think so, they could have contacted someone else. Yet, here are my lofty principles for what they are worth:

1) though no one can demand it from a Danish citizen, I will make it clear whether my books are library books, gifts/prizes, bought by myself or given to me by the author or publisher. (I may have a few on my TBR which I don´t remember the source of, but these few have certainly not come from authors or publishers).

2) I have thought about it, but I don´t want to try to live up to any professional rules or conventions for book reviews. My reviews are mine, and my main aim is to tell my readers what I liked and what I didn´t like about the book.

3) honesty is very important to me. I believe my faithful readers come back month after month because they see my reviews as a reliable guide to MY taste, and not sales speeches. And if it is impossible for me to find anything to like about a book, I may refrain from reviewing it.

Have I forgotten something???

16 kommentarer:

Bernadette sagde ...

I think that's a fine review policy Dorte.

But what about the doll in the picture? Is it yours? Does it have a name? I think it's rather cute but do I sense a hint of evil-ness? As if it is sitting there thinking up what book to torment me with next for Bait in the Box?

Kerrie sagde ...

Good ideas Dorte

Felicity Grace Terry sagde ...

Forgotten anything? Not that I can think of. Great principles Dorte, I so agree with you that honesty is important.

Elizabeth Spann Craig sagde ...

Sounds like a sound plan, Dorte!

I don't even think you have to review all the books that are sent to you. You're not in any kind of a contract with them, after all. Just do your best. :)

Mystery Writing is Murder

Dorte H sagde ...

Bernadette: oh yes, she might be a bait-in-the-box witch! Actually she has been part of our Christmas decorations for years. My mother gave her to me a few years ago, and in real life she is probably too tiny to scare anyone. I hope you can see her rocking chair is made of clothes pegs and her knitting needles are toothpicks :D

Kerrie: thank you.

Petty: thank you. I just felt I had to stop up and think about it so I probably mainly wrote them to remind myself what matters :D

Dorte H sagde ...

Elizabeth: thank you.

And I know that they can´t exactly force me to write anything. Last week I received the first and the letter was quite clear: ´for review consideration´.

But as they have asked me beforehand and I have agreed to receive books, I will - obviously - try to read and review them whenever possible. On the other hand we all know that once in a blue moon it is kinder NOT to post the review you feel like writing. I don´t think I could harm James Patterson or Dan Brown by criticising their books, but for debuts it might make a real difference.

Heather sagde ...

sounds good to me.

Maxine Clarke sagde ...

Sounds good to me too, but what do you do when an author sends you a book to review? It is harder to give a book a poor review if the author has made personal contact, I find. A hard one.

Dorte H sagde ...

Heather: thank you.

Maxine: yes, I agree that that is the toughest situation. So far I have been lucky; the handful of books I have received directly from the authors have either been wonderful or solid works.

I really think I would prefer not to review it if I cannot find at least a few points to praise. And when I read books written by blog friends, I follow a certain strategy: I don´t announce it anywhere, or at least not until I am sure I am going to enjoy it.

But let´s see if I ever get a poor bok from a friend.

Beth F sagde ...

My thoughts exactly: Readers come here because you are honest in your reviews and your honesty is not going to change because just because a publisher sent you a copy of a book. If the publishers or your readers thought differently, we wouldn't be here.

Dorte H sagde ...

Beth: thank you!

I discussed it with my daughter (who studies literature) the other day. She said she was going to mention me and my blog in her course on popular culture, because she could see that blogs had a large influence on which books were read. And with good reason; in my experience bloggers are more honest than many of the professional reviewers I read, or to put it differently; it is easier for me to see what they really think about the book.

Kelly sagde ...

I think your principles are quite sound. As you stated in your last comment....I also think bloggers are very honest in their reviews. That's one of the main reasons I enjoy reading reviews on many of the blogs I enjoy, yours included!

Dorte H sagde ...

Kelly: thank you. To me bloggers´ reviews have such an enormous influence on which books I choose to buy so I really want to be a reliable reviewer.

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) sagde ...

Those sound exactly right to me, and I do think it's important to have some principles or beliefs about how to review books. I think disclosing where books come from is important, so it's cool you're doing it even if you don't have to,

Dorte H sagde ...

Kim: thank you! I suppose you could see my disclosure as some kind of solidarity with American bloggers.

Poly sagde ...

When something as 'public stuff’ appears, my 'law brain’ clicks!
Therefore, even a bit late, I just like to add flw:
If you, for whatever reason, feel incomprehensive when you submit your review, - or you might even use it as a Standard box (e.g., you can create it on Google/general/setting under “Vacation responder”) just have a ‘Disclaimer’. It can just state, e.g.: Disclaimer: This is only a personal review, and I disclaim any responsibility or effect my review could have on any sales of the book or the author and in any similar content." Or/and bla, bla…! And most especially in connection with USA as they can ‘sue’ for almost anything. (No offence to anyone).