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Fruitbat
09-07-2015, 08:14 AM
I've noticed Goodreads has some review circles. Since they consist of published (whether trade- or self-published) authors reviewing other published authors' work, I was thinking maybe we could do that here.

The way it seems to work is like this:

Authors would sign up one of their books only per round, regardless of category. The categories mostly go by length, but there would also have to be a 21+ group.

Other than that, within the categories, books are randomly assigned. You have to agree to give a fair reading and review of whatever you're assigned. If it's not a genre or category you like or usually read, tough!

So, maybe here we could post the reviews on Amazon (reviews on Goodreads and personal blogs optional, for extra cool reviewers!). You'd have to post a link to the review or something like that, as proof that you actually completed your reviews.

The reviews would be done in rounds, and there would be a time limit for sign-up as well as a time limit for getting your reviews done. Those who don't complete their assigned reviews do not get to participate in any more rounds until they do complete them.

NO backlash for unfavorable reviews is allowed- they would be real reviews, not padding. The only response allowed is "Thank you!"

NO one-on-one swaps or personal swap deals within the review group. You sign up according to the rules, review what you are assigned, and take what you get!

So... Would this be allowed? And if so, does anyone want to play? Thoughts?

LSMay
09-07-2015, 09:40 AM
Other than that, within the categories, books are randomly assigned. You have to agree to give a fair reading and review of whatever you're assigned. If it's not a genre or category you like or usually read, tough!

I like the idea. Heaven knows I could use some reviews. But this part I've quoted concerns me. There are certain genres that, almost irrespective of the writing, would bore me to tears. Or imagine a romance writer with little scientific knowledge trying to accurately review hard sci fi.

I would hate to be in the position of having to honestly review something that I hated, particularly when the reason I hated it was the genre/subject matter and no failing of the work itself.

So, I guess I'm saying there really should be an option not to review whatever piece you are assigned.

Fruitbat
09-07-2015, 10:03 AM
I like the idea. Heaven knows I could use some reviews. But this part I've quoted concerns me. There are certain genres that, almost irrespective of the writing, would bore me to tears. Or imagine a romance writer with little scientific knowledge trying to accurately review hard sci fi.

I would hate to be in the position of having to honestly review something that I hated, particularly when the reason I hated it was the genre/subject matter and no failing of the work itself.

So, I guess I'm saying there really should be an option not to review whatever piece you are assigned.

@LSMay- I get what you're saying but I think the reason it's done that way on the GR review group is just that something has to give, for practical purposes, or authors simply won't receive enough reviews to make it worth the trouble of keeping up an organized system.

Everyone wants a decent number of reviews for their own books and some genres/categories are much more popular than others. There probably just aren't enough other authors to allow everyone to pick and choose what they prefer to review. It wouldn't be fair for anyone to get the right of refusal if everyone didn't get it. And then, some authors might get thirty reviews in exchange for the three or four they put in, whereas others might not get any.

I would expect to have to read outside my preferences in order to make the system pay off well all-around, but I wouldn't expect to find anything I wasn't able to understand. I think of it more like working than reading for pleasure. Also, we would have to trust people to know the difference and not give a book low marks just because it wasn't their preferred genre.

The GR group I'm thinking of patterning this after assigns each author several books to review during each round and each author, in turn, receives a few reviews. I think there was an option that a reviewer could find someone on their own, to stand in and do a review for them, if they wanted.

Fruitbat
09-07-2015, 11:05 AM
The only problem area I see is erotica/over 21 books. If it's okay with Mac, maybe the erotica authors would have to agree to read anything assigned just like everyone else, but everyone else could choose if they will review erotica or not (assuming they are 21 themselves). I think that would work...

Those who are interested, please let me know here so I'll know if I should pursue this further or not. Thanks! :)

P.S. Everyone with self-published or trade-published work of... I dunno, 15,000 words or more (or thereabouts) who wants to play is welcome!

RightHoJeeves
09-07-2015, 05:51 PM
I think it sounds like a cool idea. And it wouldn't bother me being assigned to read a book in a genre I'm not used to. You can get some pretty good insights from those different perspectives.

jjdebenedictis
09-07-2015, 08:58 PM
Okay, now that a few people have chimed in to say they like the idea, I'm going to tip-toe in and say I don't. I know it's hard to get reviews, but having a group of people in the same financial boat doing favours for one another strikes me as being on the edge of dishonest.

Now just to be clear, what you're describing is not dishonest -- people who read a lot would be honestly reviewing books -- but some members of the group would, for social reasons, probably not want to be too harsh in their reviews, especially if it's for a book they're not competent to review. That would tend to skew the reviews (as a population) toward being more complimentary, and while that's good for the authors, it is borderline fraudulent from the point of view of book buyers.

To me, this is not an attempt to game reviews -- you're not trying to skew reviews, and I respect your honourable intentions -- but I think the results might tend to be functionally equivalent to that. Even if you stipulate no retaliatory actions, if one person hates a certain book and says so publicly and prominently like that, there's going to be a social cost when they interact with the author on AW. Everyone knows that, too, which is why I suspect there'd be a general tendency for the reviewers to soft-ball their reviews.

Again, I don't think what you've suggested is intended to be dishonest in any way, but I also don't think it would create a body of objective, completely honest reviews that book buyers can trust.

AW Admin
09-07-2015, 09:05 PM
I'm locking this until Mac can speak for AW.

But Amazon has a strict policy about authors reviewing other authors' books.

Writer Beware on Amazon's "Personal Connection" Review Policies (http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2015/07/amazons-personal-connection-review.html).

I'll also note that the best way, speaking as someone who has been reviewing for better than twenty years, is to voluntarily post, write, and talk about the books and stories you love without there being expectations of any sort.

Kylabelle
09-07-2015, 09:09 PM
Thanks, Lisa. While I really like the creativity and desire to work as a team expressed here, there are reasons this needs to be Mac's call. And the Amazon rule seems like a deal-breaker, to me.

MacAllister
09-08-2015, 08:58 PM
Okay, now that a few people have chimed in to say they like the idea, I'm going to tip-toe in and say I don't. I know it's hard to get reviews, but having a group of people in the same financial boat doing favours for one another strikes me as being on the edge of dishonest.

Now just to be clear, what you're describing is not dishonest -- people who read a lot would be honestly reviewing books -- but some members of the group would, for social reasons, probably not want to be too harsh in their reviews, especially if it's for a book they're not competent to review. That would tend to skew the reviews (as a population) toward being more complimentary, and while that's good for the authors, it is borderline fraudulent from the point of view of book buyers.

To me, this is not an attempt to game reviews -- you're not trying to skew reviews, and I respect your honourable intentions -- but I think the results might tend to be functionally equivalent to that. Even if you stipulate no retaliatory actions, if one person hates a certain book and says so publicly and prominently like that, there's going to be a social cost when they interact with the author on AW. Everyone knows that, too, which is why I suspect there'd be a general tendency for the reviewers to soft-ball their reviews.

Again, I don't think what you've suggested is intended to be dishonest in any way, but I also don't think it would create a body of objective, completely honest reviews that book buyers can trust.

Yeah, I agree with JJdebenedictis, here. -- I know you guys are just trying to do each other a solid, and that it's sometimes hard to get reviews -- but since GR is already doing review circles, I think we're gonna leave that particular playing field to them.

There's nothing stopping folks from offering to review each other's books, or requesting a copy of an AWer's book they think sounds particularly awesome, but we aren't going to do it in organized fashion, here.

And as AW Admin pointed out: Amazon is, in fact, actively attempting to counter this kind of organized reviewing, with rules about not reviewing books by people you "know" (are in your social-media circles) and not letting authors review books.