RedHeadedGirl, a reviewer from the blog Smart Bitches Trashy Books, gave a workshop on "Reviews: How to Get Them and How to Handle Them." In addition to giving smart advice to authors on both of the above issues, ReadHeaded Girl said something that gave me, wearing my blogger/reviewer hat, pause. I didn't write down her exact words, but it was something along the lines of "I don't think reviewers should let authors know when they've written a review of their work. Reviewers shouldn't have contact with authors at all. Reviews are for readers, not for writers."
RedHeaded Girl's statement gave me pause because I always send out a Tweet to authors, or tag them on Facebook, when I feature one of their books on the RNFF blog. As an author myself, I know I always want to hear when a blogger has reviewed my work, and have always appreciated a quick email or a Tweet or Facebook tag letting me know. As a blogger, I know that authors are encouraged not to join in any conversations, or add any comments, to a blog post about them or about their books, but sometimes an author will tweet me back a simple "thank you," which I always appreciate. And sometimes an author will write me a few more lines, commenting about an issue I've brought up in the review, offering book recommendations, or just expressing appreciation for the serious attention I try to pay to each book I feature on the blog. I've always considered author responses part of my reward for writing a blog for which I do not get paid, and from which I earn no affiliate monies.
But RedHeaded Girl's comments made me wonder about best practices, or perhaps about best ethical practices, when it comes to communications between authors and reviewers. So I'm asking you, my readers, what you think.
If you're a reader, does it bother you that a reviewer informs a writer that she's written about one of her/his books? Do you feel that communication between author and reviewer should be one-way? If reviewers email/tweet/Facebook authors about their blogs, are they crossing an important line between professional writer and fawning fangirl?
If you're an author, do you appreciate receiving a heads-up when your work is reviewed on a blog? Do you feel duty-bound to offer a thank-you when you receive such a heads-up? Is that duty annoying? Onerous? Ethically problematic for you?
Book review meme: William Cook
People Who Review for Authors: Nadine Brandes