Reviewing anything creative whether its a book, movie, restaurant, art etc. is not as easy a task as it sounds. One can always hear people speak about the pain, energy and time they have spend on making a movie or writing a book or even readying a work of art. And once they finish, they look for people to review the same. Obviously you would want famous bloggers, columnists, writers to review your work so that more and more people get to know what you have achieved. But then there is a catch to it. You would always want people to talk good things about you, wouldn’t you? So how far can you go to ensure that?
Since I love writing more of book reviews in particular, this particular post deals with book reviews. Over the last two years, I have written quite a few book reviews. My book choices traverse different genres from thrillers to documentarys to the usual college rom – coms. But none of my reviews have become as famous as the recent one on Chetan Bhagat’s “Revolution 2020”
I wouldn’t dwelve on the reasons for its popularity but instead move onto the more interesting topic of what happened after the dust settled on the increasing number of htis and comments. I got a mail from someone for reviewing a few books since he liked my review. Seeing it I was happy as any blogger would be, thinking that people had liked my post so much so that they were asking me to write reviews for their book agency. I agreed but had just one condition before starting out. And after I mailed the condition, there hasn’t been a reply for more than 2 odd weeks now. 🙂
The condition –
“As you can see, all my reviews are unbiased. If I think something isn’t that good, I wouldn’t think before saying it.”
Not getting any response after this didn’t anger me or something. It just brought a few facts in my head and also gave rise to a few questions.
Could he have thought of paying me (although he didn’t) to get positive reviews? Has writing been reduced to such a meaningless exercise that people can’t accept negative reviews? Can’t you call a spade a spade?
Reviewers are mostly not paid at all or are paid peanuts unless you are a Taran Adarsh or a Mayank Shekhar. I personally don’t recall any names of book reviewers. And obviously as you would have guessed by now, book reviewing is a thankless job. If you review negatively say for a famous newspaper / magazine, your review may not be accepted, the author may fume or you may never get a chance to write for that newspaper / magazine ever again.
But then on the other hand if you write a negative review for a blog which not many read, no one would bother at all. Similarly a positive review would generate great publicity everywhere particularly from the author but still earn brickbats from literary critics who may say that the author has bought you. As you may have guessed by now, book reviewing is a thankless job.
Reviewing books has been an honourable activity over the years according to me. But with the exponential growth in the number of authors, some people are making it appear a commercial sham.
PS – On another note I had responded to a mailer by Bookchums asking for book reviews and they are ready to accept my unbiased reviews. 🙂