When I was at the RWA conference this past summer, someone asked me how long I’d been reviewing online. “Since 1998,” I replied. Then saw the double take. “1998???”
Yep, that long. I’ve watched AAR go from renegade to respected institution. I’ve seen perceptions of online reviewers change from the Rodney Dangerfield-esque days of “No Respect” to, well, respect. I’ve reviewed in three separate decades of my life, starting in my twenties, continuing through the entire decade of my thirties, and now entering my forties. I’ve watched trends, authors, and publishers come and go.
The point of this is not that I am getting old (my kids remind me of that often), or that I’m a dinosaur by Internet standards, but that I’ve seen a lot of people come and go over twelve years. Not only on AAR, but elsewhere. Life’s complicated, and it’s busy. People have babies, lose jobs, get jobs, move, and burn out. Hang around awhile, and you’ll appreciate what it takes to maintain your interest, your passion, and your love of romance year after year. (Just ask Ellen, who has been at AAR longer than I).
Change isn’t always easy. It’s hard to say goodbye to the people we’ve come to know over the years. But there’s an upside: We see a lot of goodbyes, but we also see a lot of hellos. Welcoming a new reviewer with fresh energy, new ideas, and different reading tastes keeps us from getting stale. Everyone who comes to us adds something new, something we didn’t know we were missing until we had it.
We’ll be adding two new reviewers in the coming weeks, and we really could use a few more. Do you love to read romance? Have you always dreamed of reading as many free books as you can get your hands on? (Trust me – I’m not kidding.) Are you a good, passionate writer who likes to tell people what you think? (This is one of the few jobs where being opinionated is actually a necessity.) Think about joining us.
– Blythe Barnhill