Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Dear Author is not any publisher’s bitch

The title to this post reflects my verbatim response last year when I received word that a traditional publisher had restricted Dear Author’s access to some of its ARCs on the basis of an op-ed post that appeared on the site. Now here’s the thing: I’m not going to tell you who the publisher is or which op-ed piece catalyzed the reaction. But the story is important, nonetheless, because it frames a larger, more important issue, namely that of which books do and don’t get reviewed here and why.

So anyway, once we were made aware of this restriction, a great deal of debate ensued among those of us who blog at Dear Author: first, should we make this news public; second, should we continue to review this publisher’s books at all out of fairness to the authors who had nothing to do with the ARC ban; third, what was the best way to make it known that Dear Author would never self-censor out of fear that an author or publisher wouldn’t like what we said.

We ultimately decided against announcing the ARC ban (in part, I think, because quite a few of us come from fields where confidentiality is a matter of professional expectation), and instead decided to institute a year-long review boycott for those books to which this publisher decided to restrict our ARC access. That way we figured we could signal to the publisher that we were not cowed by their displeasure, nor would we kowtow to their implicit demand that we edit or censor opinions that they (or any publisher or author, for that matter) might not like.

But at the same time, we could maintain the level of confidentiality we routinely do around issues that are not innately public concerns (e.g. plagiarism or copyright infringement). When it comes to disclosing things that could signal a conflict of interest on our part, we will happily do so. But when it comes to releasing private information that would primarily qualify as gossip, or that would endanger someone’s livelihood in disproportion to the public’s right to know, then we generally hold the confidence, even when the result is that someone makes an inaccurate, negative judgment about Dear Author.

So back to the story. Recently, our year-long review boycott ended, and debate ensued again as to whether we should make public the situation (inclusive of naming the publisher) and whether we should resume seeking ARCs and reviewing this publisher’s books. One of the strongest arguments for making the situation public, we felt, is that authors who release books through this publisher may have no idea what has happened, and may have been feeling slighted because their books were not getting reviewed here. This, in fact, has been the most difficult aspect of the review boycott and the discretion in not naming the publisher or even alluding to the situation.

Still, naming the publisher still does not feel right to a number of us, in part because doing so will undoubtedly target and/or implicate people who have had nothing to do with the ARC ban. And really, it wasn’t the ban that frustrated us – it was the fact that we felt that a publisher was trying to punish us for saying something we had every right to say. That, more than anything else, needed to be addressed, and ultimately we decided we could adequately address it without publicizing it. To this day I’m not certain we made the right decision, but speaking only for myself, it felt like the most responsible and “professional” choice (and I’m relying here on the ethics that guide me in my professional life, which are compelling and not wholly inapplicable to my life as an amateur blogger and reviewer). I’m sorry about the books that didn’t get reviewed during the boycott, but I also hope we saved everyone from what could have been a pretty ugly situation had we chosen to go public last year.

However, we know that some authors have questioned why their books have not been getting reviewed on the blog, and we know it’s possible that some have taken that personally. I’m not sure any authors knew about the ARC ban, but even if they did, they did not know about the Dear Author review boycott response. But now that we have – hopefully – made our own point to the publisher in question, we did want to go somewhat public with the situation in order to clarify some things to those who read reviews here and those who may want their books reviewed here. And no, we’re not going to confirm or deny any guesses in the comments, because a) that defeats the purpose of the decision to hold the confidence, and b) this is not the first (or likely the last) issue we’ve had with a publisher. That said, I do want to thank those publishers who have never tried to manipulate or dictate our content, and who have never used review copies or other resources as leverage or punishment for our honestly rendered opinions. At its best, this community is a complex, multi-layered ecosystem in which we all share a respect for reading and for books, even if we don’t all share the same taste and insights/perspectives on the genre.

First and most important, ARCs have never been a defining or even primary motivation for writing reviews here. Sure, they help, especially in a field that is increasingly crowded with books and authors. It’s so much easier to take a risk on a book when an author or publisher provides it. And not all of our reviewers can afford to buy books in volume, especially when a book represents an untried direction. Also, having an advanced copy of a manuscript ensures a timely review, which can help readers make crucial buying decisions, especially on those days when multiple books release. I know I’m much more conscientious about getting a review done when I know there’s a release date to pay attention to. I like to think of ARCs as something mutually and independently beneficial to authors, readers, publishers and reviewers alike. Still, Dear Author would have more than enough content if every single publisher and author stopped furnishing ARCs to us.

Also, there are no assignments at Dear Author, so reviewers take on the books they choose. We know we’re down a reviewer or two who wants to focus on historicals, and we’re trying to remedy that. However, we’ve had a couple of reviewers come on board with the intention of focusing on historicals, and then they’ve shifted to more books from other sub genres. Again, this is a reflection of the volunteer nature of contributing to the blog and, for me, at least, one of the reasons I love it here. Unfortunately, it means we don’t have complete coverage of any specific aspect of the genre.

For those authors who want your books reviewed at Dear Author, you can submit them directly here. The reality is that we have too many submissions in proportion to the number of review spots available, but the more choice reviewers have, the more likely it is that they will pick something new to try. And the tastes of reviewers here are quite diverse, so if one reviewer is not interested in something, chances are another reviewer will be. Of course, if you don’t want your book reviewed here, or you don’t want to submit it for review for any reason, please do not in any way feel pressured to do so. As I noted above, we’re not in need of additional content. I only mention the submission form, because I have spoken with authors who read the site but did not know they even could submit their books directly for review consideration.

And for readers, here’s where you can help us out, as well. How important is it to you to have books reviewed on the date of their release or in close proximity to that date? I am ambivalent about this, frankly, because when a review posts the first day a book releases, few people have had a chance to read it and therefore comment knowingly on the review. On the other hand, if you wait too long, readers have moved on to other books, and you don’t get the kind of good, substantive discussion you can have when a bunch of different people have read the same thing. So is it more helpful to you to have reviews post on or near the day of release, or would you like more lag time between release and review? And where do you think our biggest reviewing gaps are?

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!

46 Comments

  1. library addict
    May 13, 2014 @ 05:15:55

    I like a mixture of both.

    It’s fun to read a highly anticpated book on the day of release or soon after and have somewhere to discuss it. Especially for those of us who are not on Goodreads and don’t review ourselves.

    But it can also be fun to discover and/or discuss older books.

    I know I enjoyed going back and reading/rereading all of the Psy/Changeling reviews when I finally read the series last year. I didn’t comment on the older reviews, but I enjoyed reading them and the comments. I am never sure how old is too old as the comments won’t be seen by most so I usually don’t comment on posts older than a week unless others are still actively commenting.

    The only thing I do not like is reviews being posted to books which have not yet been released. A day or two early is fine. But if I see a review that sparks my interest in a book it’s a bummer to be unable to buy it. I don’t usually pre-order books any more and I find myself losing interest if I wait too long to buy it, even if I only buy it and stick it in my TBR pile without immediately reading it.

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  2. Lindsay B
    May 13, 2014 @ 05:20:14

    In regards to reviews at release dates, I could go either way. From an author’s perspective, having it reviewed on the release day is a happy occasion. It makes the author feel as though the book is already out there (at least, it does for me). But does it help most on the date itself? I’m not sold that it does. A review a week or so before might let readers know this book is coming and help generate buzz, but as you mentioned, limits discussion. And discussion, in my opinion, is the best part of review blogs. Being able to talk to someone and share your opinion about a book your social circles may not have read. For authors, 1-3 months after release is generally when we’re doing the most promotion and garnering the most sales. After that, it’s hard to bring attention to your book when other, newer books are flooding the market. But if all reviewers waited to review books, would it have as many sales straight off? That is the question.

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  3. Kate Sherwood
    May 13, 2014 @ 05:25:54

    I agree that a mix of review timing is ideal, but in terms of my own use of the site, I’d rather you review older books (not ancient, just ones that aren’t still in their ‘new release’ party clothes).

    I use Dear Author more as an awareness-lifter than an opinion-provider, if that makes sense. I think what I look for in Romance is so specific (and I’m so crabby when I don’t find it) that the reviewers’ opinions aren’t much use to me in terms of predicting my own enjoyment of a book. So I largely ignore the ultimate ratings, but I do read the content-based portion of the reviews as a way to judge whether the book is likely to suit my tastes.

    And when a book is newly released and splashed all over everywhere, it’s easy for me to find content-information in lots of places. But when a book is older and has slipped under my radar, it’s nice to see it show up on DA so I can go track it down.

    (And I agree about the pre-release reviews. I don’t have the attention span or patience for that!)

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  4. karenH.
    May 13, 2014 @ 05:48:45

    Oh, crap, I have to know MATH to comment here??? ;)

    Anyway, my reading time is highly limited by my full-time employment and my quilting hobby that takes up a big chunk of the rest of my leisure, so it’s rare I’m reading any book even remotely close to its publication date.

    And lately, the vast majority of romances I have read have been a direct result of the reviews here. And often it’s from comments from other readers either about the reviewed book or other books in that genre. so I guess for me, it helps if the review is time-lagged enough that others have read it.

    (Is time-lagged a verb? I’m still a little freaked out by the math quiz ;) )

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  5. pamelia
    May 13, 2014 @ 06:13:33

    Yay for sticking to your guns. Hopefully they noticed and realized they’re better off having their books reviewed on a site with integrity, or maybe they like meaningless squee and gush reviews better.
    I actually don’t read ARC reviews very often. If it’s a book I’m anxiously awaiting I don’t want any spoilers. If it’s a book I’ve never heard of I might check the grade and skim the review, but I rarely pre order and will only hit the buy button if the book is already published and there’s a sampling of reviews to peruse. ARC reviews also make for not so interesting comments–”I can’t wait to read this” doesn’t make for good discussion. Maybe if a review is done 1-3 weeks after publication? That gives us readers time to get it read and join the conversation.

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  6. Sue
    May 13, 2014 @ 06:26:05

    Lord, it’s too early to do math.
    First, kudos to you all for sticking to your guns. Good policy. Second, I read reviews when I have time. It’s not really related to when the book comes out.

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  7. AnnaM
    May 13, 2014 @ 06:55:50

    Reviews close to date are not a big deal to me. I am mostly looking to discover new authors.

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  8. Willa
    May 13, 2014 @ 07:39:23

    I agree with Library Addict – a few days after release – then I have had at least a chance to have read some if not all!

    Pre release reviews just get on my last nerve – because there is no chance to have read it and by the time I have the discussion is old . . or rather consists of ‘I can’t wait to get my mitts on this’ ad nauseum. I also don’t order pre-release anymore, with the way the prices have been going down a week or so after release.

    I do enjoy reviews on older books too – is nice to pick up recs for a new-to-me author and to have a backlist to glom.

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  9. Lynnd
    May 13, 2014 @ 07:42:45

    Thank you for not kowtowing to publisher demands and for the way you decided to handle the matter.

    With respect to reviews, I don’t really like reviews done for books that haven’t been released. If the review is done too far in advance I’m going to forget about the book anyway. Otherwise, it doesn’t really matter to me when the review is done. My buying decisions are rarely governed by release-dates, except for books that I have planned to buy anyway – and for those books, reviews are unlikely to make a difference in my buying decision. The only time an advance review for books makes a difference to me is if the author has jumped the shark on a new book in a long-running series. In that case, I would prefer to know that prior to buying :-).

    I also really like the reviews of older books – whether it’s months or years later. With the advent of ebooks, it’s a great way to discover many more books that are available, not just the flurry and hype of the recently released titles.

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  10. Zara Keane
    May 13, 2014 @ 07:45:27

    I don’t mind when reviews appear on sites. My preference is for after the book goes on sale, so that I have the option of buying a copy immediately if I’m interested. But whether or not the review appears during the book’s release week doesn’t have any impact on my decision to buy. Actually, I’m grateful for reviews of slightly older books because they often remind me of books I meant to get, but either got put off by the hype surrounding its initial release, or forgot about it.

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  11. It's Me
    May 13, 2014 @ 08:17:25

    If it’s a new release, I would say review it within the first week of the release date, but no later (especially if it’s a book from a well known author or highly anticipated series). Like someone else said above, I don’t like when a book is reviewed before it’s released because then I can’t order it right away if I want to read it.

    Good for you guys are standing your ground and not letting the publishers sensor you or push you around.

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  12. Lynn M
    May 13, 2014 @ 08:19:15

    Was there any discussion about possibly letting the authors affected by the ARC ban know why their books were not being reviewed at DA? I have to wonder if they might have taken issue with their publisher knowing that the company representing them was basically bullying a review site and preventing their latest books from getting all of the PR possible. Perhaps the authors could have put some pressure on the publisher to back off, or at least give them the chance to voice their thoughts about what was happening beyond their own control.

    As far as reviews on or near release dates, it’s always nice to have reliable places to go when I’m considering buying a newly released title. But as a reviewer myself, I completely understand the problem of there being far more books than there is time to read and review all of them. I think reviews that are posted within a week or so – even up to a month – of the release date still comes over as being current.

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  13. Tae
    May 13, 2014 @ 08:34:13

    I know which authors that I love and will read immediately. That being said, seeing a review for one of these authors weeks or even months ahead of schedule is really frustrating because I can’t have the book *now*!
    The reviews that matter the most to me are the new-to-me authors, or authors whose books where I don’t read everything they write. The reviews help me determine if it’s something I would be interested in reading. It does help if it’s been out for a few weeks so that I can read other people’s reactions to the books and see if I should buy it or not.

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  14. Fallen Professor
    May 13, 2014 @ 09:11:39

    I’m not too picky about review timing, because I’m usually far behind pub dates in my reading (unless I’ve been lucky enough to snag an ARC). When I read reviews, I’m mostly interested in books I’ve already read, because I enjoy reading the reviewer’s and commenters’ opinions, and exchanging ideas with them. When I write reviews, I choose books I want to read, regardless of publication date; again, it’s a way to get my ideas down and hopefully start some dialogue.

    And, in the end, reading is just one of several things I do in my spare time, and I don’t want to turn it into a chore or a race to read and blog about the newest releases. I also like going back to classic novels (and other genres) once in a while, and if I was always chasing after the latest thing I wouldn’t have time to do so.

    However, I do see the value of timely reviews for authors, and for readers who enjoy being up to date. And I do keep a wish list, and sometimes add new books reviewed here or at other sites that I might want to buy in the future.

    The above may or may not be coherent; I need my second cup of coffee!

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  15. Nicole
    May 13, 2014 @ 09:35:52

    It doesn’t much matter to me when reviews come out. If a review is of a new work, I may be moved to buy that title immediately, but there are a lot of books that I don’t ever hear about/read until they’re months or years old. I can’t keep up with everything, and I appreciate just learning about books that might work for me.

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  16. Kathleen
    May 13, 2014 @ 09:48:07

    Review timing is not something I have considered previously. For an author I know and love, a DA review is an additional treat to hear what other readers thought. For example, when Lisa Kleypas finally releases her next historical, I know I’ll scamper on over to DA to see what y’all are saying– probably with the copy in my hands. A review within a week or so seems reasonable for those high profile releases.

    However, I find DA most valuable for finding new or unknown to me authors. Just like receiving ARCs, having a DA review on an unknown book makes it feel safer to take a chance. I also ADORE the reviews/discussions of older books and romance canon.

    I guess I’m saying I love everything that happens here, so keep up the good work, especially when it comes to standing up to bullies!

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  17. Lada
    May 13, 2014 @ 09:50:59

    I really appreciate the integrity with which DA handled a difficult situation. I also appreciate knowing I’m coming to a site that won’t pander and genuflect to any publisher, even a trad publisher, to ensure content.

    It’s clear by the comments on when best to post reviews that there won’t be any consensus. I’m wondering if there isn’t a way to post timely review for big releases and then follow that up a month or so later so more many more readers would have the opportunity to discuss those books. Jobs/life often keeps me from finishing those books for a week or two after release (especially given books are released on Tuesdays) so I always miss out on discussion.

    I like following what people are reading and enjoying at DA’s monthly Open Readers forum but most comments are made within a few days of that post and then no one pays much attention to it. I’ve also noticed when older, well read books are reviewed that many readers love to pop in and comment. Just wish there was a way to keep the lively discussion for some of the bigger releases going.

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  18. kim
    May 13, 2014 @ 09:54:00

    Hi, I don’t comment much, but I read Dear Author everyday. This is the first blog I check out when I sit down to the computer.

    The books that I purchase the day they are published are “known to me” authors. I love/like their books, and don’t feel the need to wait to read reviews.

    From DA, I am looking for reviews for books that I’m on the fence about reading, or authors entirely new to me. So, timing isn’t an issue. Sometimes those books are actually discounted more, with some time post-release. So review timing isn’t a huge issue for me. I do buy a lot of books after reading reviews on your website, and you have saved me from wasting my money more than a few times.

    I am sad that this publisher put you in a position where you had to respond with a boycott. I wonder if that tactic has worked for them before? It concerns me that a publisher is attempting to manipulate the content of an independent blog like yours. It’s a pity that authors likely have no idea why their books weren’t being reviewed here, with no idea that their own publisher is sabotaging an outlet for more possible interest in their books.

    I admire your integrity in the way this was handled. It would have been easy to take no prisoners at the outset, and share everything on day one. Very often the quiet protest is the most effective.

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  19. Darlynne
    May 13, 2014 @ 10:33:00

    Any time DA reviews a book is a good time for me. I’m so far behind the new and upcoming that it’s all new to me, years on.

    Thank you for the (unbeknownst to us) boycott. I appreciate that you stuck to your guns and convictions.

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  20. hapax
    May 13, 2014 @ 10:33:52

    Let me join with everyone in applauding your integrity in sticking to your principles. I don’t want to know the publisher; there are so many authors I can no longer read after they made an ass of themselves online, I don’t want to have to feel that way about an entire publishing house (although at least three of the Big Five have tainted their reputations for me with the way that they have handled their digital publishing)

    Just to be contrary, I really like pre-release reviews. Why? Because I’m a librarian, and read reviews mostly to know “what should I order NOW, so I’ll have it on hand when people come asking for it?”

    Of course, it doesn’t really matter for the Big Name Authors; I’m going to have a dozen copies of the newest Nora Roberts on the shelves (or, more likely, already on hold) on release date whether it is universally panned or not. Still, it’s good to have a heads-up, especially for the Next New Thing.

    But, romance novels are a special case in collection development. Many are paperback or e-only releases, which we don’t pre-order; in that case, what I’m looking for are “what do I run out to the bookstore and buy on Tuesday” or “which authors do I need to keep an eye out for on our donation trucks”… and even then, they aren’t going to be processed in anything like a timely fashion.

    But, *as a reader*, I much prefer the gentle reminder and the interesting discussion that comes with a review a few weeks or months after release. (I have so many books on my TBR that I look at and think “why did I buy this, anyhow?”)

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  21. MaryK
    May 13, 2014 @ 10:53:13

    I almost never buy new releases on their release date; I just don’t get around to it. And I’m trying to control my TBR pile by waiting to buy a book until I’m ready to read it. So, the timing of reviews doesn’t matter much to me.

    I think the biggest reviewing gap is for “oldies but goodies.” I was happy to see the request for reviews of classic romance. I feel like people new to romance are missing out on a lot of good older books they don’t know about, especially if they’re digital readers. Of course, some of those good older books are paper only which is a problem, but at least new readers would know they exist.

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  22. leftcoaster
    May 13, 2014 @ 11:33:49

    I’m another one who doesn’t care much about timing between reviews and release date. There are only 3 authors I buy on release days, the rest I wait until I read a bunch of reviews or discussion, or the price drops. I actually love reading reviews about books I’ve already read. Sometimes when I’ve read a book that I really wish I could talk to someone about I’ll go actively search out reviews for it, even if they are several years old.

    I appreciate how professionally you’ve decided to run this site, even if it is a hobby and a labor of love.

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  23. Make Kay
    May 13, 2014 @ 11:34:07

    First, high fives all around for sticking to your guns and not reviewing that publisher’s books. And also, I applaud your not saying who it is, even as the nosy busybody in me is pruriently curious who it is!

    I would like to see reviews just a little bit before the book comes out. After is fine too, but I like it a little ahead of time, so I know if I want to go out and get it on release day. The conversation by other readers is often not as useful to me as the original review, so that’s where my focus is

    And thank you for ALL your fine work! You are one of my top 2 book blogs I follow, and I rely on you a lot to discover new good books!

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  24. leslie
    May 13, 2014 @ 12:27:33

    I have the greatest respect for the women at Dear Author and it just went up a few more notches.

    As far as reviews….I never read them before I read the book. I agree with statements above about waiting on new releases. I remember Jane’s “teaser” posts about the up coming release of Heart of Obsidian and then the review. It was a lot of fun commenting back and forth about expectations and excitement over the book. I would love more of that kind of discussion around the more popular titles/authors.

    I really enjoy the open thread for readers, but it seems to fall to the wayside within a few days. Is there anyway to have a link noticeable on the blog page?

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  25. Ducky
    May 13, 2014 @ 12:36:57

    I like reviews that are a few days before the actual release date, that way I have a heads-up on what books are being released. If the review is posted long before the release date chances are I will have forgotten about the book by then.

    The nosy parker in me wants to know who the publisher is. Though it’s probably best that I don’t. I am already boycotting a few authors whose behavior and conduct is appalling to me – I don’t want to add to the list.

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  26. P. J. DEAN
    May 13, 2014 @ 12:43:07

    I appreciate all reviews, newer and older. Keeping a lid on the ban was the way to go. Good! Man! The foot-stamping and tantrums in the romance business is mind-boggling and a plot for a book.

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  27. Robin/Janet
    May 13, 2014 @ 13:27:48

    @Lynn M: Was there any discussion about possibly letting the authors affected by the ARC ban know why their books were not being reviewed at DA? I have to wonder if they might have taken issue with their publisher knowing that the company representing them was basically bullying a review site and preventing their latest books from getting all of the PR possible. Perhaps the authors could have put some pressure on the publisher to back off, or at least give them the chance to voice their thoughts about what was happening beyond their own control.

    Yes, this was discussed, but ultimately rejected. Speaking for myself, I think that telling authors is basically the same as going public with the situation, and my view is that it’s really an issue between the publisher and DA, and that we could and should handle it that way. I know it wasn’t a perfect solution, and I can mount many counter-arguments to the choices we made, but in the end I think it was the best way to keep the situation contained, to refrain from inadvertently passing on any bias against the publisher to our readers, and to keep the focus on the reviews and the other content a lot of people’s hard work produces for DA. As I said in the post, it wasn’t so much about ARC access as it was about strongly communicating the fact of our editorial independence.

    @kim: I am sad that this publisher put you in a position where you had to respond with a boycott. I wonder if that tactic has worked for them before? It concerns me that a publisher is attempting to manipulate the content of an independent blog like yours. It’s a pity that authors likely have no idea why their books weren’t being reviewed here, with no idea that their own publisher is sabotaging an outlet for more possible interest in their books.

    The thing is that ARCs are not *owed* to anyone or any blog. Publishers and authors can refrain from providing them to anyone, and that is their absolute right. This publisher had a right to do what they did. However, because the action came out of an op-ed post on the site, it felt to us like a threat or a punishment, and without turning it into some big melodrama, we wanted to make sure we expressed our conviction that we did nothing wrong and would not compromise that for a handful of ARCs.

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  28. carmen webster buxton
    May 13, 2014 @ 13:38:13

    Internal memo at [redacted] Publishing Company

    1. Load gun
    2. Aim at foot
    3. Shoot

    ——————-
    Talk about short-sighted! Reviews sell books. Why make it difficult to get the word out about your product to the people who want to know? Letting emotions rule business decisions is not a recipe for success in business.

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  29. Sparkle_Pony
    May 13, 2014 @ 13:43:04

    Perfect title is perfect. (Title of the article that is).

    Reading this, having had no idea what was happening, makes me proud to frequent your review site. Way to be professional and ethical all while sending that publisher the right message.

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  30. Robin/Janet
    May 13, 2014 @ 13:43:52

    For those of you who like treatments of older books, I want to mention that our May Book Club selection is The Windflower, on May 27th (that’s a Tuesday, so it will occur in place of the op-ed post), and Sunita and I will be contributing a joint review. The book has recently been re-issued (yes, it’s MMPB price, even in digital, but it’s more than 500 pages!!), and even if you hate it or don’t understand its popularity, we hope you’ll stop by and join the conversation, because love it or hate it, the book is a genre staple, and its one of those epic historicals that seem to have become an endangered species. Sunita and I are already having a great time revisiting the book and its many, many allusions and intertextual moments.

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  31. EGS
    May 13, 2014 @ 14:55:57

    This is a bit off-topic, but how do you find new reviewers? Just curious since you mentioned that you have a bit of a gap with historical romance-inclined reviewers.

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  32. Jenny
    May 13, 2014 @ 15:55:22

    I don’t care if a book is reviewed immediately upon it’s release. In fact sometimes so many blogs I follow are reviewing the same book at the same time that I end up staying away from the book because of all the hype. I like variety and it’s nice to see older books reviewed that I may have missed along the way.

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  33. jamie beck
    May 13, 2014 @ 16:03:03

    All of the official contributors on this site offer thought-provoking commentary, whether on particular books or trends or other issues affecting the world of romantic fiction. It’s a shame to learn a publisher cut its nose off to spite its face, but it sounds like you all made the best decision possible under the circumstances. Your restraint (in terms of going public) and response (in terms of the ban) were measured and reasonable, which says a lot about your integrity in our otherwise “tell all” society. Nicely done.

    As to the question of when to post a review, I’m not sure I care so much about the timing. Then again, I’m a reader who doesn’t necessarily read series in order, etc., so the release date doesn’t mean much to me. Often I find myself going through your archives when I hear about an older book…and that’s like striking gold! Regardless of timing, the reviews I like best are those that introduce me to authors who aren’t the big names we all know (which is great because the big names already get so much attention, we’re going to know about their book releases anyway).

    That said, I can understand why authors would prefer their books be reviewed within the first few weeks of a release date.

    At the end of the day, you’re doing us all a favor (writers and readers), so I’ll take whatever I can get. Thanks!

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  34. hilly
    May 13, 2014 @ 16:06:37

    I don’t need to read a review prior to a release date; just a head’s up will suffice. After I’ve read it, then I’d love to participate in a review/discussion thread about it. So, for my part, the timing isn’t essential. However, if a Review has read an ARC and is all eager to share her/his opinions because of a strong response to it, well, that’d be lovely, and in that case any time will do, but I suppose the Reviewer will enjoy greater feedback as other Readers finish it after it has been released.

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  35. hilly
    May 13, 2014 @ 16:12:23

    @hilly:
    Sorry for typos in my dashed-off reply! :

    head’s up -> “heads-up” & Review -> “Reviewer”

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  36. Ros
    May 13, 2014 @ 16:32:44

    I like talking about books, so I prefer reviews which come out after I’ve had a chance to buy and read the book myself. A couple of weeks after release works really well for me.

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  37. Mandy
    May 13, 2014 @ 17:18:16

    I like the mix of old and new books that are reviewed here. For the really big new releases I would prefer to see a review either on the day of release or within 2 – 3 weeks after. I just really enjoy the fan reactions and dialogue that goes on around those releases. Although I don’t read pre-release reviews. The guest reviews I’ve read here, especially of older books I wasn’t aware of, have introduced me to a few new favourites. On a slightly unrelated note, I particularly love those breakdowns you do of long running series, highlighting the themes and predicting future twists in the plot. For example, the Psy/Changeling series.

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  38. Jane
    May 13, 2014 @ 17:44:41

  39. Jane
    May 13, 2014 @ 17:46:17

    @leslie: The link is down at the bottom on the front of the blog, but I can add it to the sidebar.

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  40. Rachel
    May 13, 2014 @ 18:32:25

    I prefer reviews for books that are available to everyone. I have noticed that with increasing disappointment in releases of highly anticipated series or authors (eg. Ball & Chain!) that I’m using reviews to modify my expectations of squee, (check the grade, even if I don’t read the full review) so it’s handy if the review is prompt (sometimes, I’m now library reserving and waiting for the price of the e-book to come down later).

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  41. Lisa
    May 13, 2014 @ 18:41:23

    I agree with the sentiment but really dislike the not anyone’s bitch expression. Ditto for pearl clutching.

    Love the reviews, regardless of timing.

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  42. PeggyL
    May 13, 2014 @ 21:55:22

    I’m amongst the silent majority, but I’d like to applaud DA on the integrity and restraint shown in handling the issue with “a” publisher. And I don’t think you have heard this enough: Good job indeed on running the site/blog!

    As far as reviews are concerned, I prefer them “current” (say, a month before/after release) so that I’m kept up-to-date. Having said that, I also visit other sites that alert readers about upcoming releases, which sometimes include reviews. So I really don’t have a strong preference here. Then there are reviews of the “older” books which I also enjoy very much, especially when they bring back fond memories; it’s not unlike bumping into an old friend unexpectedly – so much to catch up on (reread).

    I only hope that I could manage my TBR pile better – so many books are out each week and I can’t seem to refrain from buying books whenever they catch my fancy.

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  43. Lana Baker
    May 14, 2014 @ 03:07:08

    In regard to the timeliness of reviews, I don’t much care. My book budget is nonexistent. I’m limited to the constraints of whatever “extra” money I make doing stuff online – my mad money is my book budget, basically. And honestly, if I go to check reviews, and they’re all dated within a period of a few days, I look at the reviews with a large grain of salt, particularly if they’re all favorable. I don’t give any consideration to how I got a book when I review it, but I know people who do – they’ll bump something up a star or two just because they got it free. I do have reviewers I’ve come to regard as honest, and there are a few I’ve learned will always give a five-star review, even when the book needs extensive editing for grammar or spelling.

    Up until a few weeks ago, I didn’t know Dear Author existed, and it’s good to know that reviews here are honest. I haven’t been around long enough to know how to find a review of a specific book, but I’m rarely going to be looking for it when the book is newly published. I find a review, or a mention, or I’m just browsing, and it doesn’t matter to me if the book was published yesterday or last year.

    If I’m looking for something that was just released, it’s likely because that author is an auto-read for me, and I really wouldn’t care what someone else thinks of it, because I know I’m likely to enjoy it even if someone else didn’t.

    tl:dr – I’m glad to know the reviews are unbiased, and I read them without any regard to publication date.

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  44. Cassie
    May 14, 2014 @ 12:00:41

    I think your policies are perfect and I respect them as well as what’s behind them. For me, I don’t care when a book is reviewed–makes no matter if it’s reviewed close to a release. I read them and if I like them, as long as the book is available, I’m in.

    Now, as an author, I would just love for you all to review ONE of my books. Yes, I have submitted.

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  45. batgrl
    May 14, 2014 @ 18:24:45

    First of all, I’m another one who thanks for you for both the boycott and the way you’ve handled it. (That was *such* a stupid move on the publisher’s part, things like that always make me wonder if people bother to think things through before such decisions.) It can’t have been an easy decision or something automatically easy to be silent about – but good for all of you for managing to do it. By posting about it without names I think it makes your point even stronger.

    I’d actually never thought about when reviews are posted as far as actual release date – the times I end up immediately buying something after reading the review have always been completely unplanned. (It happens a lot, too!) I think the only thing I’d miss out on would be if a review was posted before it was possible to either pre-order it or at least add it to a wishlist – because if I don’t click a link to add the book somewhere I’m probably going to forget about it. (Of course I’ll probably just end up impulse buying another book from another review on the same visit!)

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  46. Bona
    Jul 26, 2014 @ 04:37:35

    Boycott is the only arm we consumers have. But it’s a powerful one and I hope it has helped in this case.
    About time gaps between the releasing time of a book and the review – I’m a strange reader. So I suppose my opinion is not the average and I don’t know if it can help you.
    I don’t usually read new releases, so I don’t care about the reviewing date. I take note of your A reviews, and -with other reviews- use it to position a book in my TBR list. So in the end, there can be easily a year between your review and my buying and reading that book.
    For those few authors that are auto-buy for me, I buy their books asap and then I like reading the review so it doesn’t matter if the review is published some days or a couple of weeks after the date the book has been released. That I think would be the useful gap.

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