I'm a little puzzled by assault on book reviewers who are also authors, since this is common practice. Indeed, some novelists argue it is almost a duty to be out there reviewing.I wouldn't, the nature a of karma being what it is. But, boy, is it common practice.
I was remiss in not explaining the subset of 'reviewer/novelist' that makes me scream. I don't object to novelists being reviewers of books here and there for the Times etc. Lots of novelists do it, and it's interesting to see everyone look for hidden agendas (my god, that woman's ex husband is friends with the author...no matter she hasn't seen or spoken to him in 20 years kind of thing). The world is much more entertaining place for Dale Peck reviewing, and I don't object to that at all.
My objection is full time, paid, staff reviewers for major publications such as the NYT, Chi Trib, LAT, PW, Kirkus, Time, Newsweek etc. writing and publishing novels while they are reviewers.
Here's the conversation:
Miss Snark: I have a delicous new novel from a fresh voice. You'll love it, I know cause you love novels about pigs that fly and live on Park Avenue and perambulate through the park.
Miss Snark: oh, and I should also mention, he's the chief book reviewer for Time Magazine.
Editor: We'll take world rights for six figures, Alex.
Cause yanno, what editor in their right mind is going to say no? To the guy who can decide single handledly if their books, and indeed all the books at the publisher are reviewed in a magazine of some umpty ump million readers? Exactly.
If you want to write while you're a full time paid book reviewer, fine. Just don't try to publish it "on its merits" till you retire, resign or clone yourself. Anyone who thinks a book like that is treated objectively is out of touch with how the real world works. Or maybe they really do think they write that well. Cluegun for aisle six please.