Last weekend I taught a course at
I went through the whole history of how I, Jackie K Cooper from
At the end of the session I was talking about what goes into a book review. I stated I always try to find something good in even the worst book and something not so perfect to add to a rave review. I always try to remind people this is just one man’s opinion and not anything more.
Having said this I added I always try to send the author a copy of my review. I usually “Google” them and find a website which will have a “Contact” me area. I then send the author an e-mail which states, “My review of (the book) has been posted to my website www.jackiekcooper.com. This review also appeared in my newspapers."
I have been doing this for ages and frequently get a note back from the author thanking me for the review. From these correspondences I have struck up a friendship with various authors. But friendship or not I still give an honest review of the books I select. This sometimes makes it a little awkward but I don’t think I have lost any friends over my reviews.
Recently I did have one friend tell me if I did not like his book just not to review it (or at least not have the review published). Still I think most writers agree with my attitude as a writer which is that any publicity is good publicity.
When I attended the Dahlonega Book Festival this year I was sitting with some authors and mentioned to them an incident that had happened with my book reviews. I had sent a notice of my review of a book to an author. It was a mixed review. I had found some things I liked and some I didn’t. Well shortly after I sent the notice to the author he responded with an angry message about it. He said if I sent him notice of a review that he should reasonably expect it to be a “good” review. He hardly expected it to be unfavorable, and that I was never to review any more of his books.
Of course I can review any book I choose to review but I probably will make a note to leave this author’s books off my desk. I thought his response was extremely thin skinned and touchy. But the authors who I told this story to had mixed feelings.
One agreed totally with me and said he had used my reviews to help improve his writing. Another said I should never send notice of a review unless it was a good review. She said that even mildly negative reviews can be terribly hurtful.
I don’t know if I am going to change my policy or not. I certainly don’t want to cause anyone grief by what I write but if I am not honest in my opinion of what use is it? I am lucky enough to have newspapers and other media like my reviews enough to pay for them. That makes me a professional critic per se. It doesn’t however mean that my opinion is any more credible than that of someone else.
I would like to know your opinion. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you think. I’ll be waiting to hear the pros and cons of doing what I do.
Jackie K Cooper is the author of five books, the latest being THE SUNRISE REMEMBERS. All five books have received rave reviews from the esteemed book critic Jackie K Cooper.