For the last few years, I have been an on again/off again book reviewer at the Fantasy Book Addict. It was never a paying gig, which meant I was largely free to review what I wanted when I wanted. Over the last few years I’ve established a relationship with some publishers, made some friends, and had the opportunity to read and review books before they were published. Fellow bibliophiles will agree, it’s that last one that was key – to get books you want to read, before they are published, and share your opinion on them before they are in stores? Talk about the power of reading.
I won’t deny, though, that I’ve waivered on my commitment. Sometimes it was real life intruding; sometimes, it was my own sense of guilt at reading something that wasn’t destined for a review when I knew there was so much piling up and waiting for me. While I may have only reviewed an average of a book or two a month, I received many times that in opportunities. Why didn’t you see blurbs for those other books? Frankly, because I had a simple rule: only review the books that I enjoyed. It seemed to me to be far more respectful to give praise to books I liked, than to to give any time to explaining why I didn’t like a particular book. Feeling overwhelmed, particularly during hectic months, I would consider throwing in the towel and stopping.
And then one more book would arrive, one more catching my eye and demanding my attention and love.
Yesterday I (finally) finished reading Shattered Shields and set out to do a review. Typed, edited, posted, I went to the FBA site to post my review – and found it gone. While I had considered quitting multiple times, I had always thought it would be on my own terms. Finding the site missing, erased from the web, was a bit of a shocker to me.
I spoke to Stacey last night, and I understand the rationale. She’s recently published her own books and was beginning to feel like it was a conflict of interest to be reviewing other people’s work while pushing and working on her own. For myself, I feel an unexpected void. Aside from needing to contact a few publishers to cancel ARC’s, not much has changed. And yet, I recognize this as being the end of a chapter. Of course, I’ll still read, and post my reviews, but it feels weird to not be doing it “for real.”