Writing Online Book Review Articles
Well, I have a physical library, yes real books, and it is now approaching some 4000 titles. It’s amazing how much bookshelf space that takes up, and I have books all over the house. It’s beginning to look like a Museum, because no one seems to be buying books anymore, well they are, but they are e-books on their e-readers. About the worst thing I can think of is to read a book cover to cover, especially a nonfiction book, and find myself so underwhelmed after I have completed.
Perhaps like you, my time is valuable, and perhaps this is the reason that as an online article author I’d like to recommend that you prepare book reviews of the books that you have read. Put them online for all to read, you might be saving someone a lot of time, and helping to recommend the very best books, helping the best authors get the word out. Still, if you are going to write book reviews do it honestly and with integrity, we don’t need any more shrills out there promoting the wrong stuff.
There was a rather troubling article, at least in my opinion, recently in the New York Times on August 26, 2012 titled; “The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy,” by David Streitfeld which told of a gentleman who had a business doing book reviews for authors and publishers, for a fee. This is a real problem if the individual doesn’t state that they were paid for the review clearly in the article, otherwise they are violating the “shrill marketing” rules as per the FTC.
Trust me when I tell you, this is the wrong way to play it instead you should do it right and if you are paid remember we’ll need full-disclosure. That is to say that if you were paid or given a free book to read in the auspice of doing a positive review on the title, then you need to let the individual reader of that online book review know that. It might be a simple notation, or a couple sentences about how you were thrilled to receive the free book from the author to do the book review.
This way the reader knows that there could be some inadvertent positive bias in your article. Maybe there isn’t, and I certainly hope there isn’t, but if there is, you have disclosed to the reader the truth and reality about the situation. That’s only fair would you agree? If you are going to prepare and write online articles which are book reviews, I hope you will please consider this and do it right.