Pondering the “Author” and “Book Reviewer” Balance from within My Glass House

ReadingThis month I am fortunate to be joining the staff at a book blog as a reviewer. I’m thrilled to be welcomed to such a close-knit community, and look forward to the opportunities it may bring.

With this new opportunity, though, comes new trepidation. Until now, I’ve avoided doing book reviews, even though it’s been suggested that this is a good way to build your author platform. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones … Somehow, the idea of critiquing other authors has never sat well with me. I am by no means perfect. How could I possibly sit on a gilded throne and pass judgment on others?

Of course, putting out unsolicited reviews on my author blog is different than being a part of a well-established, professional, reputable blog like the one I’m joining. Here, authors and publishers submit books to be reviewed, and the reading community turns to these experienced men and women on the review team for their valuable insight. What better way is there to contribute to the writing community than to be a part of this family?

Well, let me tell you, those rose tinted glasses sure made the world look all pretty when “book reviewing” was just a concept. Faced with an actual, real book I’m feeling a little less utopian. Why? Well, my first review is a one-star review.

I feel miserable about it. Even though it’s my honest opinion, and I can justify having given it, it’s still an unfavourable review. This is some author’s baby, her work and dedication. It’s difficult to have to announce to the world that I think this book should be passed over. It weighs heavy on me, to say the least.Judging

If you thought I was going to share some secret wisdom, or provide a resolution to my internal struggles, I’m sorry to disappoint. Unfortunately, I’m still struggling with this. Hopefully reviewing becomes less emotionally taxing as I go – all I can do is be honest and fair, right? But for this first time around, I’m feeling a little raw.

So I ask you, what is your take? Do you sympathize with my plight? Are you an author/reviewer yourself and do you have any words of wisdom? Are you considering becoming an author/reviewer, and do you share my trepidation?

Am I alone in this?

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