Can an author be both? “What a silly question!” you say. Well, yes, it is, except when one does both and has books listed with Amazon. Every once in a while it seems to occur to someone there that they will not accept reviews from authors, because authors know other authors and, because of that, will not give unbiased reviews. In short, if I know you and review your book, I’ll give it a smashingly good review because, well, you know, we’re friends, and so I’m biased. This may seem fair — after all, people that work for a corporation aren’t allowed to review their own products, so, it only seems logical that . . . and then the logic begins to break apart.
Do authors know other authors? Of course, and have for as long as there have been authors. We’ve also reviewed one another’s books, biased or not. Sometimes, we’ve even reviewed our own (under an assumed name, of course). Say what? Years ago I read an article in which Walt Whitman was said to have reviewed his “Leaves of Grass” because no one would publish it. When the review was published, “Leaves of Grass” was published, Walt Whitman’s career as an author was established, and reviewers lined up to review his work. Fabulous, eh?
Well, none of us need do that these days, as there are thousands of us around, busily creating and publishing our work. And, I might add, reviewing one another’s work. Over the years, I’ve known novelists Frederick Manfred, Henry Miller, Rudolfo Anaya, poet Freya Manfred (Frederick Manfred’s daughter), poet and memoirist Joe Wilkins, poets Kelly Cherry and Stephen Dunn. I like them, and have reviewed their work. Does that mean I couldn’t write a valid, unbiased review? No it does not. I tell people what I like about it, not what I might not.
I know scads of other writers these days, too, and review their books, with no one squawking . . . until someone at Amazon thinks it’s wrong, and it changes things, at least for a time. What do I think about it? I think it’s a huge mistake. I intend to continue writing reviews and submitting them to Amazon. If they begin disappearing (or not appearing at all), I’ll contact Amazon and give them my opinion as a longtime reviewer.
I love these little “situations” that appear from time to time.