Over the past few years I’ve had this happen to me quite a few times so I wanted to know if it’s happened to any of you and how you handled it.
Somehow it comes up in conversation that I have a blog and that I review books that I receive from publishers. The person can be either a friend, a coworker or even a somewhat stranger. (like the person doing your nails, hair, or someone in a group or at a party that you’re hanging out with, or a member of your casual book club). When they find out that you review books then they say
“Will you read and review my book?”
“Will you read and review my friend’s book?”
I can’t help it but my initial inner reaction is to cringe. BUT WHY? Why would I cringe? Well… Because almost always these books aren’t in a genre that I would read, they likely aren’t finished books, or they are self-published books (I can’t seem to help having a bias against then) and I Have to admit usually have an atrocious cover (and I know it’s bad to judge a book by it’s cover but hey I admit it I’m a cover snob). I have most definitely read a few self pubbed and indie books and they haven’t been bad, some were really great, but those are / were rare in my past experiences.
I try to be polite and say I’m not interested but then oddly enough the person can then tend to get pushy. Not anyways of course but I don’t understand it when that happens! They ask again and sometimes again. I don’t like being rude, especially if it’s not the person asking for themselves but for someone they know like a friend, family member or co-worker of theirs. But ultimately off I just don’t want to, I don’t want to.
One time someone even gave out my email address telling their friend I had agreed to read and review/feature their book and I had to tell them no the person who told them that was mistaken and sorry for the misunderstanding that I actually wasn’t interested.
Maybe I should be more willing to read these books, and sometimes I totally am. But if my gut reaction is “oh no thank you” and I’d much rather spend time reading my own books, library books or review books I’ve received – then I’m more inclined to enjoy those. So I want to stick with that because ultimately the massive pile of personal books I haven’t been able to get to yet I’d never ending. Reading and reviewing is not my job right, so I want to just read what I feel like. It is my much beloved hobby, and I don’t ever want to feel any sort of dread when going to pick up a book.
So does that make me a an awful person because I don’t usually want to do that for my friends or their friend? I find the same thing tends to happen with me on my arts and crafts things I do. Folks that don’t dabble in hand making things don’t usually realize how long it takes to make that “one little thing” and so don’t realize when they ask if I can make them something how much time I would need to invest in it. For gifts I’m almost always happy to make things for friends but reading a book is an entirely different experience.
Now tell me, have you had this happen to you? What did you do, or how do you think you’d react? Care to share your experience?