Over the years, I’ve been asked for publishing advice on a regular basis. I love to help fellow authors so I often do what I can if I’m able to. I’m always learning, and I don’t pretend to have all the secrets, but I do have a particular piece of advice that I suspect will be useful and important for other authors to know. So I’d like to share it!
It’s about reviewing, and it circles back to blurbing.
First, let me just say I don’t blurb books often. I’m a slow reader, I fall asleep quickly, and I mostly listen to books — as in audiobooks — so I turn down most requests to blurb simply because I know I can’t give the time to the books that the authors deserve. But, on the rare occasions when I do read a book for a potential blurb, I like to check and see if the author has reviewed books on Goodreads and given negative reviews to other authors. My great hope is that the answer is no. If I find an author — whether aspiring, new, or well-versed — is regularly reviewing and especially slamming books on Goodreads, that’s an automatic no to the blurb request.
I don’t mean MY books — I mean ANY books in the genre. It’s not that I can’t handle negative reviews. Like most authors, I have my fair share of them. It’s par for the course.
Rather, the reason I won’t blurb an author who has negatively and regularly reviewed other authors and their titles is that this is a community. Once you publish, or take the steps to attempt to publish, the time for reviewing should be behind you. If you’ve been a blogger or even a regular reviewer, consider taking down your reviews once you decide to pursue publication, especially critical or negative ones. After all, you might need to ask another author for a favor, a piece of advice, to participate in a Facebook party, or to share a post. We want to support each other and not pull our fellow authors down. Once you seek publication, you’re no longer a reviewer. You’re a reader, yes, but you’re an author and a part of this amazing community.
Be a writer of grace. Don’t bash the work of others before or after you publish.