This is something that has been bugging me for a while, and I’m sure I’m not the only blogger out there who gets frustrated. After all, blogging/reviewing is often not very rewarding. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting to read arcs, and writing about books, but we often do this for free, usually at a loss, between website hosting and other associated costs.
Most authors I’ve interacted with are great. Most publishers I’ve interacted with are great. But can we talk for a moment about the problem with authors having access to our emails via NetGalley?
I don’t know what sorts of terms people sign up for when trying to promote their books through NetGalley. One of my favorite things about it is that I can request books both from Big 5 publishers, Indies, and self-pubbed authors via things like BooksGoSocial. However, since I originally joined NetGalley, I’ve found I’ve often been added to author mailing lists, receiving their newsletters without ever signing up for them.
But whatever, at least I can unsubscribe from them. What I cannot unsubscribe from, however, are the chase up emails I receive from authors.
There is no contract between an author and reviewer/blogger when an author hands over a copy of their book. There is nothing to state “I will definitely 100% read this”. We try to. Of course we do. But sometimes we have other things going on in their lives. Sometimes, it takes us a while longer to get to a particular book. And sometimes we have TBR stacks that are so huge, it makes absolutely no difference to us to shift your book right to the bottom of the pile.
This week, I received an email from an author regarding their book. It detailed the date I had downloaded the book, mentioned how I had “not had the opportunity to review it yet”, ‘reminded’ me of how vital reviews are to authors, and added they hoped I would post my review soon on both NetGalley and Amazon.
This is rude behaviour.
For starters, reviews are for readers. Stop tracking them. Secondly, what if I hated your book? What if my review is scathing and critical? Are you really that keen for a possibly negative review to go up? You don’t know if a reader has finished the book or not, but your ‘polite enquiry’ (aka passive-aggressive chaser) is probably going to impact the way a reader sees your work.
You also do not know what is going on in a reviewers life.
Since I downloaded that book, I have been made redundant, I have been job hunting and my grandmother died. During June, I sort of maybe skirted around books that would be Horror/Dark Fiction. I had blog tours to read for. I gave myself leeway when it came to everything because I needed it.
If you put a book on NetGalley as ‘Read Now’, not everyone is going to read it before release. And that’s okay. The best authors understand that reviews aren’t just crucial around release, but books can be read and reviewed at any point in time.
This is not the first time I have received an email like this, and I am fed up. I am fed up of authors thinking they have a right to our details, fed up of them assuming we don’t have anything else going on in our lives, fed up of authors forgetting reviews are for readers.
For as much as authors like to remind people “reviews are crucial”, they so often seem to forget those of us who spend the time reading and reviewing, who will spend hours reading a book and more hours writing up a review and then time to post it wherever and promote it and all the extra bits that go into it.
Some authors are great and appreciative. But I will no longer put up with authors who think they’re entitled to our time or our space.