Should authors review books?
This topic was mentioned to me by a fellow blogger regarding a post she had seen. That post discussed how becoming an author had effected the person’s ability to read a book because there were very specific things they were now looking at, many of which have little impact on the enjoyability of a story. As someone who is naturally critical of stories (probably because I write them myself), I found this to be a topic worth discussing. What say you, fellow bloggers/writers/readers??? Shall we?
I suppose the best place to start for this conversation is what differences exist between readers reading a book and writers reading a book, and there may not seem like a lot. After all, writers are supposed to read, too, but they tend to do a lot more when they read (at least, as much as I have witnessed in my experience.)
Of course, these are not exacts and no one is one is truly one or that other. Readers can become writers and writers are almost always readers, as well. So, really it becomes a blend of the two viewpoints when reading and reviews often indicate toward which side a person generally leans. For example, my reviews often complain about the pacing, how 1D a character was, how minimal the world-building was (or I gush about all these things when they’re done right, but hahah! We all know that doesn’t happen very often. 😉 )
I also have noticed that people who lean heavily towards being readers, tend to leave higher ranked reviews of books. They seem to be less critical and enjoy stories more for what they are where as writers are more likely to judge and be negative. But the question becomes: Do we really need authors/writers reviewing books? Are they capable of being unbiased? Or do they force their style and their viewpoints upon their reviews to skew them? More importantly, if someone is an unpublished author, are they qualified to leave a review?
This can be a difficult topic because the concept of success in writing is vague at best and non-existent at worst. Writers can be successful in a variety of different avenues and for a variety of different genres and styles, meaning there is no real one way to write something. That also means there is no one way to review something. But if someone is considered unsuccessful/unpublished should their ‘writer-oriented’ review be allowed? Is there lack of publication or society deemed success make them less able to write a review that nitpicks the voice and pacing?
On the other side of that, should writers who are published, who are successful, who have a very defined style and a public image and influence be allowed to review books? Does their notoriety actually have a good/bad influence on reviews? Should they be allowed to sway readers towards or away from a book because they didn’t like it?
I ask these questions in particular because people often find reviewers they like and trust and generally mesh with. They rely on that person’s reviews to help them decide whether or not to read something and authors often have a stronger connection or voice to readers so potentially they could sway a large number of readers away from or towards a single book because of their personal views because people like, respect, and trust them.
But what do you think?
Should authors (published/unpublished) be allowed to review books?
Leave your thoughts below!
And check out my discussion from last week:
“Disney’s Supposed White-Washing“