Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: Sparkle Star on March 18, 2013, 08:11:03 AM

Title: Please Review My Book
Post by: Sparkle Star on March 18, 2013, 08:11:03 AM
Ok... Got a private message on Facebook from someone I know socially. I wouldn't call her a friend exactly, but I do see her regularly at events related to one of my hobbies; we tend to be part of the same crowd and have a lot of mutual acquaintances.

She is a keen amateur writer - a member of a lot of writing groups, she submits stories to magazines etc and has recently published an e-book, something people seem to be doing increasingly as it's a relatively cheap and easy way of becoming an 'author'.

The message asks me to buy her book and review it on Amazon as this will help her sales and rankings. While I think it a bit cheeky that she asks me to buy, the cost doesn't really bother me as it's next to nothing - 82p, which is what - a dollar?

What I'm uncomfortable with is reviewing the work of someone I know. What if I hated it and was honest? It would damage the relationship...but I wouldn't want to lie. This worries me as I have seen examples of her work in the past and don't find her style to my taste. (I freely admit that, as a former journalist who still writes for a living, I may also be a harsher critic than some when it comes to grammar etc.)

So I don't want to do it but don't want to offend her by refusing either. Any ideas as to the best way to respond?
Thanks in advance!
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: Margo on March 18, 2013, 08:23:44 AM
I think you'd be fine to respond by saying something such as "I prefer not to review the work of friends. I find it is hard to be objective about the work when you know the writer personally"

or if you don't feel comfortable doing that you could just respond with something which doesn't directly reply to her request to buy/review "good luck with your new venture" or something like that./ If she then pushes, you can revert to the 'not comfortable' option or simply say "I have a really big TBR pile. I haven't been able to get to it."
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: #borecore on March 18, 2013, 08:55:31 AM
Your options:
1. Ignore. This is probably what most people will do with such a casual request that will require so much time and effort for no reward.
2. Say, "I look forward to reading your book!" And only review if you are comfortable afterward. If pressed, say, "I enjoyed your book, but I don't feel comfortable posting a review for a friend."
3. Say,"I have a full slate of reading material, but I'll be sure to let you know if I get a chance to read it." Then never get the chance.
4. Read it, find out you love it, and post a genuinely enthused review with a caveat that you know the writer.

I would pick #2, personally, but each strategy has its strengths.
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: Morticia on March 18, 2013, 10:22:32 AM
Since she is asking you to buy the book, I would treat it like any other spam.
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: demarco on March 18, 2013, 10:27:31 AM
I'd ignore it.
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: LadyDyani on March 18, 2013, 10:56:44 AM
I understand.  When a coworker found out that I enjoy reading, he brought me a copy of his book, and asked me to review it on Amazon.

Oh dear, deity of your choice, it was awful. I mean, horrible writing, plot holes you could drive a Mac truck through, bad punctuation, just getting through the first chapter gave me wrinkles from cringing.

Now back in that job, I worked on the deliverables for the entire department, which meant any of the contract negotiators could send work back to me to be redone for any ambiguous reason they could think of.  Also, when it came time for the annual review, they were to give their input to my boss.  So while I didn't work directly for him, I did some work for him.

Rock, meet hard place.

I ended up writing a very noncommittal wishy-washy review on Amazon.  I'm a little ashamed that I caved.
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: Lynn2000 on March 18, 2013, 11:08:54 AM
Was the message personal to you, or did it have the feel of advertising sent out to her whole Friends list? If it seemed mass-produced I would just ignore it.

I second jmarvellous's suggestions and also Margo. If the message seemed personal I would probably respond with something like, "Good luck, this must be so exciting for you!" without ever committing to read or buy. If pressed I would probably go with, "Oh, I haven't gotten around to it yet," and quickly beandip with, "Have you gotten much feedback yet? What was the process like?" etc..

As a writer myself it can be hurtful when other people don't even want to read your work. HOWEVER, I would never ask someone I knew to read and review it unsolicited, nor ask them to pay for that privilege (however little the cost)! Of course I'm only a hobby writer, not a paid professional; I think when you move into the realm of "published author," even self-publishing, you have to get a thicker skin about that sort of thing, and realize not everyone is going to want to read or pay for your book, or if they do, that they might not like it.
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: Sparkle Star on March 18, 2013, 11:48:10 AM
Thanks so much for the replies - truly, you guys were really helpful.  :)

In answer to whether the message was personal - yes, it was. Or certainly the first couple of paragraphs were - after that I think it was probably a copy-and-paste job. But that was enough to make me feel I should respond, which I did along the lines of:

Hey Fellow Hobbyist
Good to hear from you and you must be so excited about the book coming out.
Thanks for passing on the details - I'll take a look next time I'm on Amazon.
In the meantime, I hope the marketing for it is going well and I'm sure I'll see you at Big Town Event on Saturday.
Take care.


LadyDyani - I think without this forum I would probably have ended up doing the same thing!  ;D
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: MommyPenguin on March 18, 2013, 12:04:54 PM
I was sent an advance review copy a book once.  The rules were basically that this is a promotional thing.  You don't have to lie, but you are expected to write a good review if you can.  You could make some negative comments, but the overall review should be good.  If you couldn't in good conscience write a positive review, then you weren't supposed to review it at all.  Because basically the author is sending around early copies of her books to friends to try to get some good news going about it before it hits the public.

I'd probably do something similar with friends, figuring that they're looking at me roughly the same way.  I wouldn't lie, but if I couldn't write a good review, I'd just not say anything.
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: Yvaine on March 18, 2013, 12:23:55 PM
I was sent an advance review copy a book once.  The rules were basically that this is a promotional thing.  You don't have to lie, but you are expected to write a good review if you can.  You could make some negative comments, but the overall review should be good.  If you couldn't in good conscious write a positive review, then you weren't supposed to review it at all.  Because basically the author is sending around early copies of her books to friends to try to get some good news going about it before it hits the public.

I'd probably do something similar with friends, figuring that they're looking at me roughly the same way.  I wouldn't lie, but if I couldn't write a good review, I'd just not say anything.

I write for a review blog and I would disagree that the review of an ARC must be positive. Polite, yes, but it can be a polite negative review. I've usually seen it somewhat frowned upon to give a positive review just because you were sent an unsolicited free book.

Now, that's for strangers' books. When the author is a personal friend, I tend to "forget" to review it if I hate it, or just "keep meaning to get around to it," rather than write the bad review, for relationship reasons. Absent-mindedness as polite fiction!  ;D

The most annoying was when an acquaintance, rather than sending the ARC, badgered me into purchasing the book (for over 30 dollars) and then, on top of that, it wasn't good. Awkward!
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: Slartibartfast on March 18, 2013, 12:38:59 PM
Absolutely nothing wrong with reviewing a book for someone you know - you can't leave a review for yourself or an immediate family member (Amazon will remove those reviews if they find out), but anyone else is fair game.  It's pretty common in the writing community - especially for ebooks - for authors to implore their friends and neighbors for reviews - it really does make a difference between selling 50 copies and selling 500 copies.

That said, it's definitely rude for her to ask you to BUY her book and then review it!  Most of my author friends who have a new self-published book send out tweets or Facebook posts saying "If you want to read my book and you're willing to promise to leave an honest review, I'll send you a free copy!"  If you suspect you won't like the book, don't take them up on it  :P  If you like what they write, though, it's a great way to find new books (and to find out which of your friends can actually write!)

(Random seasonally-appropriate book: Liam's Gold (http://www.amazon.com/Liams-Gold-ebook/dp/B001IP0USS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1363628222&sr=8-2&keywords=liam%27s+gold) is one I did this with just this weekend.  Totally worth the read and I would have paid for it if she hadn't sent me a free copy  ;D)

If you want to read it, I'd pretend to have missed the "buy my book" part: "That sounds great!  Send me a copy and I'd be happy to leave a review!"  If you don't want to bother, though, just ignore the email - some authors are better at self-promotion than others.
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: Softly Spoken on March 18, 2013, 12:51:31 PM
I have to respectfully disagree a bit with Slarti - I can see where "begging" for reviews from supporters would be popular and common practice for ambitious authors, but I don't think that necessarily makes it good etiquette.

I just got back from a seminar about marketing and publishing books. Based on what I was told by the instructor (who has 40 yrs experience in the business) combined with what I have learned on ehell, I will say the following:

Asking people to read your book and either a) give you constructive honest feedback and/or b) tell other people about it - that is okay. IMHO, you should not tell them to buy your book, that is pushy and crass. You can however tell them all the myriad ways they can find your book. I compare it to the "push vs pull" described when discussing gift etiquette. Telling anyone, family or strangers essentially "hey, drop money on my [book/play/movie/art etc.]" is not appropriate. You could, however, do something like invite them to a publishing party and let them know that *ahem* your book will be available for sale at said party. So you can sell your book, but you need to sell it the right way to the right people. I would not say spamming your list of FB "friends" ranks very high in sales methods, especially if worded incorrectly.

That being said, I think her greatest error was not asking you to buy it, but asking you to REVIEW it. The rule used to be that authors do not ask for reviews. This used to be mostly referring to them contacting professional book reviewers (that's what an agent/publicist is for), but since the advent of self-publishing/Print On Demand etc. and places like Amazon I think it needs to be amended. IMHO, asking for reviews, especially asking for good (possibly undeserved and automatically biased) reviews is tacky...and asking for good reviews for the express purpose of boosting your book sales is horribly unethical!  >:( You can ask people to read it and possibly review it, but you can not expect them to (unless it is their job like Yvaine above me and even so this means they are very busy reading other things! ::)), and you are not owed or guaranteed a good review. I wouldn't care if my brother gave my book a 4 star review...I want the total stranger who has no personal stake whatsoever in the book and no feeling towards me as a person to give me a 4 star review. Then I don't have to worry about things being awkward between us. :) Getting public reviews (as opposed to private feedback) from people you know is quite the double edged sword!! :(

So OP, you may read it or not depending on your preference, but IMHO you should feel no obligation to review it, and you are right to worry that reviewing it honestly (and negatively) could impact your relationship with this person.

PS: The OP's scenario is one reason why I take all Amazon reviews with a huge grain of salt. :P
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: BeagleMommy on March 18, 2013, 01:12:40 PM
OP, you are under no obligation to review her book but I understand how this can be awkward.  My feeling is if you ask someone to review/critique anything, you have to be prepared to take the good with the bad.  No one likes everything even if it is created by a friend/accquaintance.
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: Margo on March 18, 2013, 03:05:54 PM
I was sent an advance review copy a book once.  The rules were basically that this is a promotional thing.  You don't have to lie, but you are expected to write a good review if you can.  You could make some negative comments, but the overall review should be good.  If you couldn't in good conscious write a positive review, then you weren't supposed to review it at all.  Because basically the author is sending around early copies of her books to friends to try to get some good news going about it before it hits the public.

I'd probably do something similar with friends, figuring that they're looking at me roughly the same way.  I wouldn't lie, but if I couldn't write a good review, I'd just not say anything.

I don't think this is how ARCs usually work, and would be very reluctant to accept one on that basis. I think if you are reviewing a book your first obligation is to review it honestly, whether that means a good or a bad review. I would see a publisher who sent out ARCs with those conditions as unprofessional.

If you've been asked to review a friend's book then you are OK to go down the 'if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all' route, but I don't think  a professional organisation or publisher should be expecting or demanding that.

I've only occasionally had ARCs but the only condition has ever been that it's sent with the expectation that  you'll aim to review it and that you won't  sell it on.
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: MommyPenguin on March 18, 2013, 05:04:51 PM
Okay, I stand corrected about ARC.  The friend who set me up with it (not the writer, but a friend of the writer) told me that was how they worked.  I had asked her about it, because I wondered what would happen if I didn't like the book (I did end up liking it a *lot*--the author really did her research).
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: katycoo on March 18, 2013, 05:20:29 PM
My biggest problem with this is that you were asked by someone who isn't really a friend.  That would bug me.

If it was an actual friend, paying $1 wouldn't bother me.  I would, however, try to review on whatever positives I found.  Most people can tell a truthful opinion behind a positive review like that, without you needing to lie or be negative in any way.  I would also tell my friend in advance I'd leave the best review I could but that I would be truthful and I'l also understand if she preferred to take it down.  And how proud I was that she wrote a book, even if I didn't personally like it.  That's a lot of hard work!
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: LifeOnPluto on March 18, 2013, 09:08:55 PM
I agree with Katycoo's approach.

If I thought the book was bad I'd inform my friend that while I'm still happy to review the book, I had a few problems with it, and would understand if she preferred that I didn't leave any review at all. 
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: thedudeabides on March 18, 2013, 09:21:17 PM
I had this happen to me once.  The author was spamming it everywhere: personal site, business site, Twitter, you name it.  So I read the sample chapters.  Awful.  Like, the author really needed to have had an editor and a proofreader and probably a ghost writer.  I ended up just ignoring the spam, because it wouldn't have been a positive review.
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: Luci on March 19, 2013, 01:45:24 AM
Ignore.

Even if it seemed to be a personal request, I would bet my seashell wreath she won't notice.
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: whatsanenigma on March 19, 2013, 06:50:07 AM
I wonder if you could approach it by telling her something about what will happen if other people know that you were the one to review it.

You could tell her that people might think, if you write a good review, "Oh goodness, this book must be so bad that she had to have her friend come over and make a good review for it."  And if you write a bad review, people might think "Oh goodness, even her friend doesn't like it, this book really must stink!"

Normally I'm not a big fan of running over "what people might think" scenarios because they usually lead to endless tail-chasing circles of stress.  But in this case, it might work.
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: nyarlathotep on March 19, 2013, 07:00:03 AM
I wonder if you could approach it by telling her something about what will happen if other people know that you were the one to review it.

You could tell her that people might think, if you write a good review, "Oh goodness, this book must be so bad that she had to have her friend come over and make a good review for it."  And if you write a bad review, people might think "Oh goodness, even her friend doesn't like it, this book really must stink!"

Normally I'm not a big fan of running over "what people might think" scenarios because they usually lead to endless tail-chasing circles of stress.  But in this case, it might work.

This is a fantastic approach, and IMO, the kindest way to deflect her.
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: Sparkle Star on March 19, 2013, 08:00:25 AM
Thanks guys.

She has messaged me again following my original response to say she looks forward to hearing what I think of it - and asking me to ask a friend of mine, who is literary editor on a daily national newspaper, to review it too. Erm - really? You think that's going to happen?

I particularly like this sentence:

I understand you might not be comfortable making this request directly, in which case just drop me Literary Ed's mobile number and/or email address and I'll do it myself. (Personal email would be best please - I know work ones can get ignored or filtered by the newsdesk guard-dogs!)

I wouldn't go around giving out any friend's personal contact information to third parties who are complete strangers to them, no matter who they were!
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: MariaE on March 19, 2013, 08:05:04 AM
 :o

That's really cheeky of her! I'm very vocal about reviewing books, so I have no problems with people asking me to review a book of theirs (although I always ask for a free copy - if they want me to review it, they can spring for my copy), but asking me to pass it on to any of my friends in publishing? Sorry, not gonna happen!

I'd just ignore. If she persists then I think it's time for the good old, "I'm sorry, that won't be possible."
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: LadyDyani on March 19, 2013, 08:25:07 AM
It's time for the "I'm afraid that won't be possible." approved ehell answer.
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: GrammarNerd on March 19, 2013, 08:49:48 AM
Thanks guys.

She has messaged me again following my original response to say she looks forward to hearing what I think of it - and asking me to ask a friend of mine, who is literary editor on a daily national newspaper, to review it too. Erm - really? You think that's going to happen?

I particularly like this sentence:

I understand you might not be comfortable making this request directly, in which case just drop me Literary Ed's mobile number and/or email address and I'll do it myself. (Personal email would be best please - I know work ones can get ignored or filtered by the newsdesk guard-dogs!)

I wouldn't go around giving out any friend's personal contact information to third parties who are complete strangers to them, no matter who they were!

WOW!!  She really has some cajones to ask you to share the personal email of someone she doesn't know for a professional reason.  And the cynical side of me thinks that was her main reason for asking you all along; sure, she might want your review, but what she really wants is an 'in' with someone with literary clout, and you're that 'in'.  She was just working up to asking you for your friend's contact info by 'flattering' you by asking you for your review first.

I'm not a fan of the 'that won't be possible', but I think perhaps a response of 'I'm sorry, but I don't feel comfortable giving out my friends' contact information.  But I wish you the best of luck with your book!' might be in order here.

And I bet with that response, you might not get any more requests for you to review it either.  ;)
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: Lynn2000 on March 19, 2013, 10:35:22 AM
WOW!!  She really has some cajones to ask you to share the personal email of someone she doesn't know for a professional reason.  And the cynical side of me thinks that was her main reason for asking you all along; sure, she might want your review, but what she really wants is an 'in' with someone with literary clout, and you're that 'in'.  She was just working up to asking you for your friend's contact info by 'flattering' you by asking you for your review first.

I'm not a fan of the 'that won't be possible', but I think perhaps a response of 'I'm sorry, but I don't feel comfortable giving out my friends' contact information.  But I wish you the best of luck with your book!' might be in order here.

And I bet with that response, you might not get any more requests for you to review it either.  ;)

POD to this! She is bold, very bold. I think she has definitely moved from a slightly ambiguous "cheeky but trying to put herself out there" attitude to out-and-out rude presumption. I like GrammarNerd's response, it's a clear NO with a nice sentiment on the end.
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: BeagleMommy on March 19, 2013, 11:47:04 AM
Holy moley!  This woman is a piece of work. 
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: Softly Spoken on March 19, 2013, 12:04:56 PM
Thanks guys.

She has messaged me again following my original response to say she looks forward to hearing what I think of it - and asking me to ask a friend of mine, who is literary editor on a daily national newspaper, to review it too. Erm - really? You think that's going to happen?

I particularly like this sentence:

I understand you might not be comfortable making this request directly, in which case just drop me Literary Ed's mobile number and/or email address and I'll do it myself. (Personal email would be best please - I know work ones can get ignored or filtered by the newsdesk guard-dogs!)

I wouldn't go around giving out any friend's personal contact information to third parties who are complete strangers to them, no matter who they were!

The bolded made me see red! Why the ehell should she get a short cut through the system? Those "guard dogs" are there for a reason! Editors don't have time for every little nobody no-talent to come whining to them "oh but I know you'll love MY book, it deserves a four star front page review because it's the next great American Novel blah blah blah."

ARRRGH!

This is why authors DO NOT ASK for reviews!!!! She is officially graduated from go-getting self-promotion to straight selling herself out (I have another word for it but I know the filters wouldn't let it through). Yes, networking is part of the business but it is a question of other people who believe in your work pushing for you, and they are putting their connections at risk when they choose to do so.

The entitlement just astounds me. If she wants to contact the editor, she needs to go through proper channels to get the professional contact information, send a query/cover letter, and expect to be rejected.

Additionally, the fact that she expects a ~$1 digital book to be prominently reviewed by a national newspaper? How delusional is she? ::)
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: makotohanabi on March 19, 2013, 02:58:01 PM
DH does reviews for a webzine, and many self published authors have this crazy idea that I can "order" him to buy the book and give it a 6 star (because a mere 5 stars won't cut it) review. I would have better luck ordering the Sun to rise in the West. One former friend had a great idea that I should buy his self published book for $10 and make DH review it. Of course DH would see that this is the greatest novel ever written and then I give the book back to former friend (no refund) so he can sell it to someone else. Oddly enough former friend gave me the cut direct when I said no. DH has been quoted on jacket blurbs for some big name books, but the quote is credited to the webzine not to DH.

His policy on reviewing friend's books is that he reviews the books on the merits of the book, not the friendship. His author friends are professionals and know neutral and/or bad reviews will happen.

Overly aggressive entitled people like OP's friend make it difficult for self published people to get noticed. DH's editor stopped accepting self published books because many of the authors threw massive tantrums that their books were not reviewed. In the submission rules it clearly says submitting a book does not guarantee someone will review it.

Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: LifeOnPluto on March 19, 2013, 09:09:42 PM
Thanks guys.

She has messaged me again following my original response to say she looks forward to hearing what I think of it - and asking me to ask a friend of mine, who is literary editor on a daily national newspaper, to review it too. Erm - really? You think that's going to happen?

I particularly like this sentence:

I understand you might not be comfortable making this request directly, in which case just drop me Literary Ed's mobile number and/or email address and I'll do it myself. (Personal email would be best please - I know work ones can get ignored or filtered by the newsdesk guard-dogs!)

I wouldn't go around giving out any friend's personal contact information to third parties who are complete strangers to them, no matter who they were!

The bolded made me see red! Why the ehell should she get a short cut through the system? Those "guard dogs" are there for a reason! Editors don't have time for every little nobody no-talent to come whining to them "oh but I know you'll love MY book, it deserves a four star front page review because it's the next great American Novel blah blah blah."

ARRRGH!

This is why authors DO NOT ASK for reviews!!!! She is officially graduated from go-getting self-promotion to straight selling herself out (I have another word for it but I know the filters wouldn't let it through). Yes, networking is part of the business but it is a question of other people who believe in your work pushing for you, and they are putting their connections at risk when they choose to do so.

The entitlement just astounds me. If she wants to contact the editor, she needs to go through proper channels to get the professional contact information, send a query/cover letter, and expect to be rejected.

Additionally, the fact that she expects a ~$1 digital book to be prominently reviewed by a national newspaper? How delusional is she? ::)

Does she expect her book to be reviewed in the national newspaper? Or does she just want your editor friend to leave a review on Amazon? If the latter, she's not quite so delusional (but still pretty darn entitled!)
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: mrs_deb on March 21, 2013, 06:07:42 PM
Don't do it.  If you pan it, your relationship, such as it is, will never recover.  And yet you owe it to yourself, and readers in general, to be honest. 

Whatsanenigma had a good idea.
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: JenJay on March 21, 2013, 06:18:08 PM
Thanks guys.

She has messaged me again following my original response to say she looks forward to hearing what I think of it - and asking me to ask a friend of mine, who is literary editor on a daily national newspaper, to review it too. Erm - really? You think that's going to happen?

I particularly like this sentence:

I understand you might not be comfortable making this request directly, in which case just drop me Literary Ed's mobile number and/or email address and I'll do it myself. (Personal email would be best please - I know work ones can get ignored or filtered by the newsdesk guard-dogs!)

I wouldn't go around giving out any friend's personal contact information to third parties who are complete strangers to them, no matter who they were!

WOW!!  She really has some cajones to ask you to share the personal email of someone she doesn't know for a professional reason.  And the cynical side of me thinks that was her main reason for asking you all along; sure, she might want your review, but what she really wants is an 'in' with someone with literary clout, and you're that 'in'.  She was just working up to asking you for your friend's contact info by 'flattering' you by asking you for your review first.

I'm not a fan of the 'that won't be possible', but I think perhaps a response of 'I'm sorry, but I don't feel comfortable giving out my friends' contact information.  But I wish you the best of luck with your book!' might be in order here.

And I bet with that response, you might not get any more requests for you to review it either.  ;)

Yep!! Took the words right out of my mouth.
I just cannot get over the sheer gall.
Title: Re: Please Review My Book
Post by: Jaelle on March 21, 2013, 06:38:49 PM
We get a ton of ARCs at work, and I'm on the reviewer rotation, so I've written a number of reviews.

I can tell you for a fact that once those ARCs hit our desk, they get the review we think they deserve. THere's no obligation whatsoever to write a positive one. (And frankly, a lot of the books we get are not that great. I try to be more ... circumspect ... but I've had co-workers write some brutal ones. Well-deserved, too.)

Were a book by a person I know to cross my desk, I would decline and pass it on to another reviewer. Too much conflict of interest. Does this apply to Amazon reviews? I don't know, but maybe it should.