It’s a turn-down day

Occasionally — not too often — a publisher or a publicist will offer to send me a book or an electronic version thereof, in the hopes of bagging a review. As a rule, I’ll accept these if there’s at least a reasonable chance, in my judgment, that I’ll get something worth reading out of the deal; otherwise, no thank you.

Roberta X, however, is a bit stricter with her standards:

“Get a free review copy of my book!” (No. Tell me where I can buy it and if the price is within my budget, I will review it; I think getting a freebie instead of paying for it affects my ability to give a fair review. I’ve done so once and I lucked out, it was a good book, but I’m not chancing it again. If you shy away from that, then maybe you need to sit down and do some editing.)

This is, pretty much by definition, the no-compromise position, and if she feels that getting the freebie influences her judgment, she’s doing exactly what she ought to be doing.

Which suggests the obvious question: does getting the freebie influence my judgment? At some level, I suspect it must; there’s a lot to be said for not actually parting with $24.95. And I do work to minimize that influence. That said, though, “minimal,” as a general rule, does not equal zero.

Disclosure: I bought her book.


  1. Roger Green »

    6 April 2012 · 9:45 am

    I’ve rarely got a freebie. When I have, fortunately, most of the time, I’ve liked it. But at least a couple times, I didn’t, and I just couldn’t muster the energy for a negative review. One person complained that I didn’t review, but I can’t just churn out bad reviews of people I’m in contact with.
    Whereas a movie, or book I buy or someone gives me as a gift, I’m much more ruthless.

  2. Roberta X »

    10 April 2012 · 5:53 am

    Exactly. :)

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