‘Friend’ of the author aka “I’m with the band”

Trinity-College-Library-DublinBack in the olden days I used to go to the library and/or bookstore and cruise the shelves looking for books with titles and covers that jumped out at me. I would then read the back of the book (or inside cover) and decide if I wanted to read it. Or if it was by an author I already liked I would just grab it and add it to the tall collection already balancing precariously in my arms.

2002878_460sNow-a-days perusing the reader submitted reviews on sites like Amazon and Goodreads is just as important to me. Reviews matter. I  really take that stuff into consideration when deciding on a book. The title and cover still matter a lot to me, but I want to know if others who obviously have similar interests like the book as well.

taco-truckMy issue is when I come across a book review and the very first line states that the reviewer knows the author. I am then stuck, do they know the author and are giving it good reviews so the author doesn’t slowly poison them each time they come over for pizza on Tuesday movie night? Or do they know the author and give them good reviews so they can continue to follow and stalk them on Twitter and Facebook and make note of each place they check into on Foursquare so one day they can bump into them and then tweet about how, “OMG, I just ran into SO AND SO at Torchy’s Taco’s! #authorsname #quinkydink #tacosrule!”? Or do they know the author as in the went to the same elementary school and used to dip their braid into the inkwell?

This all leads to the following questions: Is their review biased? Does seeing the reviewer state they know the author diminish the review in your eyes? Is it even necessary to say you know the author in the review? What say the people of the book world. Do you state you know the author in a review? If you are an author , how does it make you feel when you see in a review of a book that someone you shook hands with at a convention states in the first line… “I know the author”?

I have reviewed friends books and not stated I know them. Who cares? My review is based on how I felt about the book. If it sucked I would most likely say that in the review or wimp out and not review it at all. I would hope if my book sucked my friend would tell me and I would hope they wouldn’t write in the review how they know me.

With_The_BAnd_Tee__67836To me, saying you know the author is the equivalent of stating “I’m with the band”.  No one wants to be that groupie. Just write about the damn book and how it made you feel.


3 thoughts on “‘Friend’ of the author aka “I’m with the band”

  1. Pingback: ‘Friend’ of the author aka “I’m with the band” | Welcome to Trixieland

  2. While this may not be much of a concern from an author’s point of view, it is a huge concern to the reader. In this day of easy publication on Amazon for indy writers who may or may not have skill at their craft, and who may or may not have bothered to even spell check their manuscript, readers are very dependent on nonbiased reviews.
    There are many books for sale on Amazon with nothing but 5 star reviews written by friends of the author for a lousy book. I don’t want to waste my money buying something like that. (Many threads in the Amazon forum on this topic with lots of examples.)
    We’d like to think all reviews are nonbiased but no one is that naive.
    I think people writing reviews should identify that they have been asked to review a book and should also identify if they are a friend or family member of the author.

    • That’s a good point and I definitely see how an indie author could ask all the friends and family to write good reviews which then taints the reviews for those non-family members who just want to know if it is a good book or not. I have definitely been tricked a few times by that. And when I am given a copy of a book and asked to review it I usually note that (which reminds me, I forgot to do that on one I just posted in Goodreads, need to go fix that!)

      Regarding spell check: I am soooo glad we have the preview section on a lot of books in Amazon. It makes me so sad how many people don’t value their words enough to get them edited before publishing them.

      But some people take the tiniest connection and post “I am a friend of the author” just to build up their ‘literary cred’, I guess you could call it.

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