So, I mentioned on Twitter that I had a new part-time job. One from which the issue of Conflicts of Interest could arise. It is a job with a Literary Agency in the UK, and it does pose an ethical and practical conundrum for the website.
First, of course, is that any review I write for an author we represent will be automatically suspect. This is, of course, self-evident. However, seeing as I’ve already reviewed an absolute ton of the authors represented by this agency (most way before I ever considered applying for a job at the company), I wonder just how much of a problem it could be? If I were to include a disclaimer, would this be enough? I applied for a job at this agency because I loved so many of their clients’ work. Something to ponder, certainly.
Second, what about negative reviews of novels and authors we don’t represent? Could this be construed as an attempt (however small and futile) at professional sabotage? That would certainly never be my intent – longtime readers will know that I am leery of posting negative reviews to begin with (save for Big Names and Classics, which I do believe add to the discussion).
Third, I don’t know how much time I’m going to have. True, the job is currently part-time, and I will always want to keep reading books (comics, novels, and non-fiction) and probably never tire of writing about what I’ve read – under the perhaps-delusional belief that people give a monkey’s about my opinion.
Therefore, I have decided that I will keep reviewing novels, and remain open for review copies. We may see a slight tilt towards more thrillers and other non-SFF novels featuring on the blog (more of a mix, in other words), but the there will still be plenty of comics and graphic novels reviewed, and I don’t see how there would be a conflict if I were to keep featuring interviews, news posts, art posts, guest posts, and other non-review content.
My first literary love remains SFF (and politics/history, but that’s on another website), so the chances of them disappearing from my shelves and therefore blog are next-to-zero. I will always indicate if a book is represented by the agency I work for – up-front and clearly, but I don’t think there is anything that will stop me wanting to write about what I read.
Welcome your thoughts, if you have any. I would also welcome more guest reviews, if anyone’s interested in writing for CR.
[NB: Anyone who sends me a submission through any email connected to this website or my personal one will be automatically blacklisted in my mind. Just so you know…]