Friday, October 3, 2014

Ethics of the Book Review

Back in January I asked my friend Nancy to consider reviewing The Fifth Season. She declined, and we began a months-long conversation about the ethics of the book review. 

I've read a number of reviews by friends or colleagues who I know have a relationship with the author they're reviewing. That's why I felt free to ask my friend Nancy to review my book.  Is this really unethical? My friend Nancy says yes, and the more I think and read about the issue, the more convinced I am that she's right and that it's best for book reviewers to have no more than a passing connection to the author.

What the submissions guidelines say:

Never review the work of a personal or ideological friend or enemy. If the work is by your college professor, a classmate, a close colleague, a family member, or if the work is one with which you are associated in any fashion, please do not review it for The Bloomsbury Review.

Rain Taxi is dedicated to publishing unbiased, objective reviews. If you have a connection with the author or press, please disclose it upon submission. Not all relationships constitute conflicts of interest, but we respectfully request your candor regarding any relationships. If you are friends with an author and would like to highlight their work, please feel free to email us and suggest a review, or consider pitching an interview instead.

Writers reviewing books written by personal friends (or enemies), or from a press they hope to submit their own work to, or that has published their work in the past (or has published works of their personal friends or enemies) see where this is going? We hope for good ethics in the review section. If you have some connection with a press or author, be sure to disclose that to us before you write a review for NewPages

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