The picture makes no sense. WAIT. It does. You see, this is how I feel when I write reviews. Like this cat, I feel fluffy and a little hesitant. That lea - I mean review - is something delicate and honest. How do I know how to go about touching it without turning said leaf/review metaphor into a pile of dead plant dust?
I HAVE TO THINK OF THESE THINGS.
This is the kind of tug of war I have when I write a review of an author that I know:
Brain: It has to be honest.
Heart: What if they don't like it?
Brain: IT HAS TO BE HONEST!
Heart: Bu -
Brain: HONEST OR THEY WILL NEVER RESPECT YOU.
This is not meant to be a 'bragging' comment, but I honestly am friends to an extent with a lot of authors. When you interview them, help them with book related things, talk to them about book related things, you get some sort of bond. It's inevitable. What's also inevitable is that, if they write in a genre you read in, you'll probably read a book of theirs. If it's a genre you blog about, you'll probably want to review it too. Commence a repeat of the Brain to Heart self conversation. Maybe with a little more annoyance on both sides if the book was particularly good or bad.
Honestly, it's not easy. I'm not going to say that bloggers find putting bias aside no big feat. We have connections no matter what, and thus we have to watch what we say. It isn't easy, but it isn't terribly hard, either.
I tell myself this every day. "If you are friends with this author, you must treat them like a friend. That may involve you emailing them and telling them the book didn't work with you. It may involve writing a review with some flaws. Whether or not they are happy with you, honesty is the only way to keep a true friendship." ( I also tell myself that I'm pretty and that someday I'll have to deal with reviewers and agents and OMG BOOK KERFUFFLES as an author. But, unlike the cheesy saying, it doesn't resonate that well. That's the teenager self esteem for you.)
As cheesy and reminiscent of a Lifetime movie as it sounds, it's what I have to do. My morals outweigh any want to please authors, because my reviews are for myself and for my readers. I will be the first to say that reviews can help authors as well - I mean, if you see the same thing come up a lot in them, you may have something to fix or work on in your next book! That doesn't mean that you have to cater to their feelings. You don't want to hurt them, because that's bad, but you don't want to write an overly zealous review if it was a book you were honestly meh about.
Bias like that just isn't something you can throw away, but it's something that's a lot easier to erase when you look at it in perspective like that.
(I'm pretty. I'm pretty. I'm pretty. I'm pretty. I'm pretty. I'm pretty.)
Putting that in perspective isn't so easy. Maybe I should come up with something a little more controlled.
(I will not fall up the stairs today. I will eat healthier today. I will flirt with that hot Mexican guy. I will not be a whore. I am not a whore. Why am I talking about whores? Get back to the mantra.)
I wish I had the same self control here as I do with my reviewing. Sigh.
What about you guys? I want to hear it ALL about your opinions on overcoming review biases. The blog hasn't had a decent discussion in ages, and I'd like to hear one. So, comment away!