Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Question: Do you care about disclaimers in reviews?

First, context: I'm planning to start posting a list of books I've read each month, with maybe a few sentences about why I did/didn't like each one. So, in thinking about this, I had a question . . .

What level of disclaimer do you care about when I'm recommending books by authors I know or am in some way connected to? It seems obvious that I should mention if I work for someone. But what if I just know someone? Do you only care if I consider them a friend? What if we're Twitter buddies, or I worked with them at a conference once? What if we have mutual friends? What if I don't know them but know their agent or editor? What if I do freelance work for their agent?

On the one hand, I am happy to provide this information, and don't want to seem like I'm secretly pushing my friends' stuff or anything. (I'm happy to openly push my friends' stuff.) And let's face it: while I would never lie about my opinion of a book because I knew the author, it's ridiculous to pretend that it's possible to stamp out all subconscious bias. On the other hand, I don't want book posts to come across as "Here is a list of authors I know" or, worse, "Look how connected I am."

Thoughts? How do you handle writing about books (or movies, or TV, or games, or . . .) made by people you know? How do you want me to handle it here?

1 comment:

  1. How about a blanket disclaimer that you could include for all book review posts? Maybe something along the lines of the fact that you work as an author's assistant part-time and have made personal/professional connections in the field, but opinions are all your own and uncompensated? That way you don't have to tailor it to each individual author and feel like you're name-dropping, but can feel comfortable disclosing that you work and know people in the literary world. Just my thoughts, but I think do whatever you feel best with - I'd enjoy reading your reviews whether you choose to add a disclaimer or not. :)