There's been a lot of bitching and moaning online about authors only giving reviews to their friends. Unprofessional? You might be surprised!
We as authors have far less time to read than we would like. Of every dozen books I'd like to read, I will actually get to read two or three--if I'm lucky. Whenever possible, I buy novels via Audible so I can enjoy a good book while doing other things--taking a walk, shopping, making dinner, doing laundry, having lunch...but be careful what you're listening to while eating. I've had more than one choking incident when listening to one of Janet Evanovich's books while having lunch, I've laughed so hard. And then there are the funny looks I get when doing it in a restaurant....
But I'm getting off topic here. The practice of endorsing books by friends--or as special favors--is quite common, even in conventional publishing. Especially in conventional publishing. Where did you think those blurbs on the front cover, back cover and inside front of the book came from?
Take a look at the cover of my novel Solitaire and you'll see endorsements from two bestselling authors, Sandra Brown and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. That's no coincidence. I've known both of them for many years. Sandra and I had the same agent. On the cover of Dance of the Gods, there's an endorsement by another bestselling author, Judith Gould. I don't know them personally (Judith Gould is actually two men, Nick Bienes and Rhea Gallaher), but at that time, we had the same agent, Maria Carvainis, who asked them to read and endorse the book.
I had wanted, more than anything, an endorsement from Sidney Sheldon, so Maria approached his editor--who explained that he didn't have the time to read every book he had been asked to endorse, so he only endorsed books by personal friends. This is a common practice, not meant to offend anyone. It's just necessary.
We may not all have the demands on our time that Sidney Sheldon, Stephen King, Dan Brown or Janet Evanovich have had, but in order to write our own novels, we do find it necessary to restrict the number of books we review or endorse. I've done many endorsements myself, mostly for friends. For example, I reviewed Wall Street Wives by Ande-Ellen Winkler as a favor to my publisher, and Midnight in Marrakesh by Meryl Sawyer as a favor to my former editor, Damaris Rowland. I didn't know Meryl until then, but got to know her well afterward--it's because of Meryl that I later became "Mom" to my potbellied pig, Iggy--named for the potbellied pig in Meryl's novel!
So...I confess. I do review and endorse mostly books by friends. Am I more likely to review an author who's reviewed at least one of my books? Yes! Would I love to be able to do more? I would. I would love to write glowing reviews for every one of Janet Evanovich's books...but then, I don't think not having reviews from me is hurting her sales in any way.
Come to think of it, I might be the one who would benefit from that! If you'll excuse me....