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Why I Don’t Write Book Reviews

I will, however, judge your bad fashion choices.
I will, however, judge your bad fashion choices.

I would love to. I’ve been reading since I was just out of infancy. Millions and millions of glorious, magnificent, fabulous words. Thousands of stories. Some I loved, some I hated, some that didn’t leave a lasting impression but were good for a couple of hours of entertainment. I love them all, even the bad ones. I wrote my way through my senior year of high school with book reports. In the past, I used to love writing reviews.

Things Are Different Now

I’m sure you’ve all heard of Amazon cracking down on reviews in an attempt to clean up the rather nasty problem of fake reviews and sock puppets. Now, Amazon says if you know an author, you may not review. Their TOS clearly states if you have a financial stake in a book, you cannot review, and they are removing reviews even as we speak.
From the start of my career as a professional editor, my policy has been I do not review. It sucks because I am an avid reader, the biggest fan of STORY. It’s part of the price I pay to do what I love for a living, and while I wish I could review, I can’t.

No Review For You

Think about it. If I review a client’s book, it’s a conflict of interest. Although I work on a flat fee basis and have no direct financial stake in its success, of course I want my clients to do well. What kind of credibility would I have in reviewing a client’s book? None. I will say I do not take on stories I don’t believe in 100%. I don’t work on books that are not ready or that I don’t like, and I am blessed with a wicked talented roster of clients. When I say I love a story or a character, I absolutely mean it or I wouldn’t say it.

But a detailed review? Can’t do it. It would be suspect and rightfully so.

Other People’s Work

“But what about other authors?” you may ask.

I’m glad you did.

I wish I could, but again, there pops up the specter of credibility. Not only that, but my personal reading time is really limited, and most of my reading time is spent on manuscripts I’m editing or craft books. I read outside that as time allows and to keep up with trends, but the fact is editing is my business and I find it difficult to read as a reader now and not an editor. It makes me sad sometimes, but the bright side is I’m doing what I love so how can I hold a grudge?

So, reviewing books as long as I’m working as an editor is a moral and ethical line I’m not willing to cross. Although I understand what Amazon is trying to do, I don’t fully agree with the way they’re going about it. You can’t really divorce the writer from the reader, and in today’s social media climate, readers know writers in a way unprecedented in the past.

I don’t have a solution, but I am watching Amazon and wondering how this is all going to shake out.

What do you think about Amazon’s new policy as a reader, writer, or editor?

Change Is The Only Constant

Yep, some changes in Netta-Land, and while change is not necessarily a bad thing, it can be a little disconcerting.
So, if you’re tired of the same old story…turn some pages.

This is me — turning some pages.

***

One of the biggest changes and one I am ecstatic over, is the position I’ve accepted at Etopia Press as a Content Editor. I am over the moon.

This moon. Not the other kind of moon. That would just be wrong.

I am so happy about this because fiction has always been my first love, story my passion. I really enjoy working with new authors and taking a manuscript to the next level. This position allows me to expand my scope and exercise my Mad Editing Skillz, as well as provide an opportunity to meet and work with some outstanding authors. I am very excited about this!

I decided to sign with Etopia for many reasons. One of them was because of the fabulous Managing Editor and founder, Annie Melton. Not only is she smart and savvy, she and I share the same driving passion for story and what really resonates with me is her respect for writers in general. She gets it. Annie has a lot of experience in the publishing and editing field, and she has the kind of high standards I can get behind 100%. I feel very fortunate.

So, if you are interested in working with an indie press dedicated to nurturing and supporting both new and established writers, take a look at Etopia Press. If you think it would be a fit, use their submission form and if you would like to work with me, include my name. If accepted, your story, novella or novel will come to me and we would get to play together! Doesn’t that sound like fun?!

Don't be scared. Those are fake horns. Mostly.

I am interested in all genres, but I will admit a fondness for speculative fiction, horror, paranormal, urban fantasy…you get the picture. Length doesn’t matter (so many jokes here, so little time, but I’ll spare you, heh!) because I love short stories as much as I do longer works.

Send me what you have! I’d love to see it.

***

And not so much of a change, but in addition, I have some new releases on my Amazon. Three of the covers I did myself, but the cover of The Blood is Not Enough was done by Laurie O’Hare who totally nailed it on the first try. I love this cover so much, I’m thinking about getting a tattoo. The story means a lot to me, and could be in development as a longer work.

My other cover, for Of Virgins and Indigestion was done by graphic artist Rebecca Treadway. She brought George to life, and it is SO COOL! This is the first Netta Character ever to have a face, and I’m so happy with it. I love George, bless his heart.

Both of these stories appear in Not Nice and Other Understatements but stand quite nicely on their own. I’ve also packaged a selection of stories in On the Edge of Insanity – A Triptych of Crazy and Little Rebellions for those who aren’t sure they want the whole collection. (And why not?)

For something new, I’ve released a volume of twelve stories called Musical Chairs – A Jamming Bio, a unique look at significant memories over a period of time inexorably linked to a selection of popular music.

More projects in the works as time allows. Stay tuned.

***

Another major change in Netta-Land is I’ve decided, except for a few select clients, to retire from writing web copy. I’ve had a good run, but it looks as though the Universe is poking me to travel in a different direction. To that end, I am currently on the hunt for an Outside Job Involving Real People. (Oh, the horror! Heh. For me, not them! Although some people may differ on that opinion.)

I’ve chosen to do this for many reasons. The main reason is I want to focus on my editing and writing endeavors. Right now that’s not enough to support me, so I will have to adapt. I can do that.

Decisions, decisions.

Another reason is I have become increasingly disenchanted with writing web copy, and this is partly due to the demanding deadlines. Now, I don’t have a problem with deadlines, and I have made it a priority to never miss one and I am proud to say I haven’t. But it is extremely wearing to always be “on alert”, so-to-speak, especially with other factors becoming major issues.

“What factors, Netta?”

Well, I’m glad you asked that question, Dear Reader. Factors like low pay, unreliable payments, disrespect and general Fucktardary (sure to be the subject of another NettaRant. I’m sure you can’t wait). I’ve had enough, to be perfectly blunt. Truth is, I know the world of fiction and publishing a lot better than I know the world of web copy, and I’m much more comfortable with fiction. I’ve straddled the line for almost three years, and it’s time to pick a side.

Talk to the hand.

So, I have.

I don’t count my years writing web copy full-time as a loss. I have learned so much that will serve me well in the fiction arena, and I feel as if those lessons will give me an edge. I’ve met and worked with some fabulous people, and I’ll still be working with a select few. I also feel as if it’s time to put my butt on the line in a different way, and to that end I will focus my energy on what I truly love to do.

Change is the only constant. I’m looking forward to the next chapter.