PDA

View Full Version : Weird, sticky ethical situation.



Becca C.
04-18-2011, 02:40 AM
I'm going to try not to name names, here, but it may get confusing.

Today I received an email from a self-published author requesting me to review his book on my blog. I was interested at first -- in his email he told me about the buzz the book is generating, and of course I'd like to get my blog in on that. The author seems like a nice guy. He directed me to his website, where he has the story of his novel posted.

Basically, he self-pubbed the book and while he was teaching high school abroad, the book became somewhat of a phenomenon in the area he was teaching in. Before all this, though, the author had great interest from a really reputable, highly regarded agent. He turned down her offer of rep, though, because she asked him to up the wordcount 15k and this turned out not to be possible.

Fair enough, right? The problem I have with this is that he named the agent he turned down on his website -- and she is a co-agent of the agent I am working with (she's not officially my agent yet, no contract but working on revisions).

Yeeeeeahh. Would it make me look bad to review a book by an author who kind of publicly snubbed a co-worker of "my" agent's? I think it does. So should I politely decline to review the book, citing "not enough time" or something else vague?

Help! :P

veinglory
04-18-2011, 02:44 AM
Is not going with an agent 'snubbing them'? It seems to me that the agent wanted the book if he did xyz and he preferred not to. Which is no big deal unless either party acted badly during the discussions.

Becca C.
04-18-2011, 02:50 AM
The problem for me is that he named her. Usually you would say, in telling the story, "an agent wanted me to do this but I politely declined."

What this author said was more along the lines of: "Jane Doe wanted me to make the book longer, but it tortured my beautiful artistic soul so I'm striking out on my own. I don't need that Jane Doe!"

Using her name, making it public, makes me uncomfortable about the situation. I'm probably best off saying no to reviewing it.

ChaosTitan
04-18-2011, 02:52 AM
What this author said was more along the lines of: "Jane Doe wanted me to make the book longer, but it tortured my beautiful artistic soul so I'm striking out on my own. I don't need that Jane Doe!"


More than naming the agent, having this sort of Golden Word syndrome about the book would make me decline reviewing it.

Ryan
04-18-2011, 03:01 AM
I'm far from an experiment on these things, but if you feel uncomfortable about the situation then it might hurt your review. I'm not saying you would do anything wrong, but it might make you feel mentally stiff while reading his work and writing your post. Or it might not.

It might also influence people's judgement of your review if you disclose the connection that you two share (I'm not sure if it's something that would be appropriate to disclose or not).

In my opinion, I think that you should pass on his request.

Silver King
04-18-2011, 04:02 AM
...Using her name, making it public, makes me uncomfortable about the situation. I'm probably best off saying no to reviewing it.
Sounds like you'd already made up your mind before starting this thread.

(If it were me, I wouldn't review the book either.)

Becca C.
04-18-2011, 04:09 AM
It also felt like the author was naming the agent to show that his or her book is so awesome that THIS BIG AGENT wanted it but didn't get it.

Yeah, I'm going to decline.

rwam
04-18-2011, 04:05 PM
It sounds to me like a situation where you might feel you stand to lose more than you will gain by reviewing this book. What's the downside to not reviewing it?

PinkAmy
04-18-2011, 05:16 PM
I don't see any benefit for you by reviewing the book for your blog. I'd decline.

rwam
04-18-2011, 05:37 PM
Also, i was wondering....since this person had no qualms about quasi-bad-mouthing the agent on his website, are you kind of worried he's going to bad mouth you for not reading his book? Jeepers. Hope not.

Susan Littlefield
04-18-2011, 06:29 PM
Becca,

I would decline. You don't have to explain why. No means no.

Jamesaritchie
04-18-2011, 08:39 PM
No, review the book, if you want.

But anytime a writer say it isn't possible to add 15,000 words, that writer is not only wrong, he probably can't write a very good novel.

quicklime
04-18-2011, 10:18 PM
More than naming the agent, having this sort of Golden Word syndrome about the book would make me decline reviewing it.



This, this, and for the love of all things Holy, this.

veinglory
04-18-2011, 10:25 PM
Sounds like he acted like a twit about it, in which case best to leave it alone--if only because he might not react well to a review that is less than a puff piece.

Becca C.
04-19-2011, 01:15 AM
But anytime a writer say it isn't possible to add 15,000 words, that writer is not only wrong, he probably can't write a very good novel.

This. I added 15,000 to my novel and it made it 100% better.

Thanks everybody! I am not going to review the book. Seems like I stand to lose more than I could gain.

maestrowork
04-19-2011, 01:39 AM
Conflict of interest. Stay away.

shaldna
04-19-2011, 02:27 AM
From what you've said I can understand how you might feel awkward about it.

BUT, unless you name names then it;s probably not a big deal. Does the guy in question know of your connection to said agent? Chances are he probably doesn't.

At the end of the day, it wasn't a big scandal, and no one was really hurt or offended, so it's probably not a big deal.

If you are really concerned about it I would ask the agent about it.

HOWEVER, I would agree with teh others who raised concern about him mentioning the agent by name, thats quite unprofessional, and it would make me wonder what he might say about you to other people.

Personally I would decline.

Purple Rose
04-20-2011, 10:26 AM
Seems like I stand to lose more than I could gain.

So true. Wise decision to decline, Becca!

Shakesbear
04-20-2011, 11:51 AM
That you had to ask for opinions about what to do suggests to me that you were very uncomfortable with he prospect of writing a review. Declining it makes sense.

aruna
04-20-2011, 12:43 PM
More than naming the agent, having this sort of Golden Word syndrome about the book would make me decline reviewing it.


Exactly. Good that you declined.

Shebrat
04-20-2011, 12:53 PM
Becca, it sounds like your gut feeling is telling you not to review it, and many times gut feelings are correct. I would go with my gut feeling. (Actually, you already said you aren't going to review it, so I am glad you are going with your gut feeling)

Virginia Llorca
04-23-2011, 04:29 AM
And I had 15,000 words he could have borrowed. . .