Last week was a bit odd. I've been pulling together an awful lot of things that had been on the backburner for awhile, but now they're coming due. Mostly a bunch of interviews but some review work as well.
Well, let's get caught up on what's new.
I've been doing a lot of reading the past week. What's on deck right now is:
THE EDGE OF REASON by Melinda Snodgrass,
THE LOST ONES by Christopher Golden,
DAEMONS ARE FOREVER by Simon R. Green,
A KISS BEFORE THE APOCALYPSE by Thomas E. Sniegoski,
and a handful of others.
Lucky for me, I get to choose what I review. That means I can pick the books I like, the stuff I enjoy, and review it. If I'm not wild about something, I can let it go and say nothing. (Nasty reviews are really easy to write and can be an emotional purge valve, but why go to the trouble of wading through something you hate?)
Granted, there can be a time to express your disappointment with a writer's work--I've done it myself more than once--but my time is increasingly limited and I'd rather be upbeat than not.
One thing I'm also doing less of: reviewing books that I've bought myself.
There's very little upside in doing so. Sure, I've done the publisher a favor by hyping a book I didn't get for free... and I've gotten yet another byline... but the tangible rewards for doing this are basically nonexistent, and I have plenty of other stuff I can review that I DID get for free.
It's a fine line, that separation between reading for pleasure and reading for review.
So why do we reviewers review? Well, in general, it's a great way to read (even before the book is in release) stuff that we want to read. If we do our jobs well, then we:
1- build a better relationship with the authors and publicists; and
2- get a good reputation (which helps when you're trying to get interviews).
Both of those are good things. I've met a bunch of writers whose stuff I've reviewed and they've almost uniformly been courteous or even glad to meet me; one writer even sent me a Christmas card thanking me for supporting his work (which was surprising and welcome).
Being a reviewer is great. There are rewards for doing this sort of thing and I recommend trying it to whomever out there wants to get into the world of media-related journalism (heck, I would never have worked in comics if I hadn't been writing for COMICS SCENE first). But bear in mind, being a reviewer isn't the same as being an author.
Which reminds me, I need to get back to work on my own fiction. Maybe if I'm lucky and persistent, somebody out there will one day blog about reviewing my stuff.
Monday, March 10, 2008