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NBCC Posts Its Ethics in Reviewing Survey

National Book Critics Circle posted a summarization of the results of its Ethics in Book Reviewing survey. It’s okay to ignore self published authors and you shouldn’t review a book without reading the whole thing. There’s lots of other stuff, like whether it is more appropriate to eat m&m’s or hershey kisses while reviewing and whether you have to wear pants when you type since no one can see you, so go ahead and read the rest of the summarization.

(Yes, I made the latter two survey results up.)

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Janine
    Dec 10, 2007 @ 15:17:19

    and you shouldn't review a book without reading the whole thing.

    Damn. Does that mean I shouldn’t write anymore DNF reviews? Because most of the books I would otherwise grade a C- or lower I simply don’t finish.

  2. Jane
    Dec 10, 2007 @ 15:18:40

    Nope, Janine, we are peons in the reviewing ladder so I think it is fair to say we get to make up our own rules.

  3. Janine
    Dec 10, 2007 @ 15:24:23

    68.5 percent of book reviewers think anyone mentioned in a book’s acknowledgements should be barred from reviewing it.

    Double damn. I’m pretty sure I’m mentioned in the acknowledgements for Sherry Thomas’s Private Arrangements.

    40.1 percent think a reviewer shouldn’t read other reviews of a book before writing his or her own, but 17.9 per cent think that’s perfectly okay, and 33.5 per cent feel it’s complicated enough to require commentary rather than a firm answer.

    I do this, too. And here I thought I was an ethical person!

  4. Janine
    Dec 10, 2007 @ 15:30:21

    Nope, Janine, we are peons in the reviewing ladder so I think it is fair to say we get to make up our own rules.

    Yeah, since we’re not on a salary for the reviewing we do here, it does seem stringent to me to ask that we hold ourselves to these standards. I try to be ethical by acknowledging upfront that I haven’t finished the books I give DNFs to, that Sherry Thomas is my friend and I’m acknowledged in her book, and that I’ve sometimes read other reviews of the books I’ve reviewed before reviewing them (I often link to them in the body of the review, too!).

  5. Ann Bruce
    Dec 10, 2007 @ 22:55:27

    Does that mean I shouldn't write anymore DNF reviews?

    No! (1) They’re entertaining and (2) they’re honest. I don’t trust sites that only have glowing reviews because they defy the law of averages.

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