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Janitor On Duty

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February 27th, 2008

8:38 AM

Aspiring Authors Wearing A Reviewer's Mantle

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Janine from Dear Author outs herself as someone who is also hoping to get published and ponders the dilemma of wearing both the writer and reviewer mantle.

I have no intention of even starting on writing a book - who has the time? - but I can see a no-win situation coming up here.

Some authors love to say that if you can't write, you criticize. And that a reviewer will never understand how an author's mind works unless the reviewer publishes a book herself - this one, admittedly, comes more from fans defending an author, at least in my experience.

But when an author starts doing reviews, she stands to find herself in some awkward situations with fellow authors, if not outright hostile ones, even if she meets all the "you can't understand us unless you're an author yourself" criteria imposed by some people.

What is a poor reviewer-cum-author to do?

I also wonder how readers will view such a person's reviews. I personally have no problems if an author starts publicly reviewing other people's books, but I wonder whether other readers will speculate whether a positive review from such an author is sincere or just a ploy to promote a friend's book. Will these readers accept such reviews, bad or good ones, without wondering whether there is some kind of agenda behind those reviews? Will her fellow authors who get bad reviews from her start accusing her of having agendas? It will be interesting if someone does some kind of survey to present a rough idea of how the reader community feels in general about reviews from published authors. Will such a review have the same amount of credibility with them as a review from a fellow reader?

I personally have no problems if a reviewer also writes the very type of books she reviews, but I do wonder whether this person is putting herself in a whole lot of unnecessary grief by doing so, what with the world being the way it is sometimes. Having seen many reviewers turned authors turned in their reviewer mantle for various reasons, I can only salute those who decide to keep reviewing as well as writing because surely it can't be easy being in that position.

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