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Thread: Midwest Book Review

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW Zefiris's Avatar
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    Midwest Book Review

    Hope this is the right place to post this :/

    I heard that these are a reviewer with a lot of clout, you know, guaranteed to boost sales and get the book reviews out to a lot of people.

    Anyway, I've contacted them about reviewing my novel Steam Queen and they replied back saying that for e-books there is a $50 reading fee.

    Now, usually I'd run away from any reviewers asking for money but, Midwest Book Review are apparently highly respected and a legitimate group of reviewers.

    So, would it be worth me taking a risk and splashing out $50 for a review? Usually I wouldn't but if Midwest are as big and as influential as I heard, maybe it would be worth it? :/

    Anyone had a book reviewed by them? Did it do any good in terms of an increase in sales and stuff?


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    Steam Queen: Steampunk - Out Now

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  2. #2
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    It's not what it seems, and it's not going to help you.

    Paid reviews don't work. Libraries don't read them nor do buyers or readers.

    Save your money.

    You would do better to find Web zines and bloggers who are good reviewers (they actually read the book, for instance) and will review a book if you provide a copy. Check them out first; can they write a review? Do they have a decent page rank? Do they have active comment threads?
    Last edited by Medievalist; 02-17-2011 at 03:13 AM.

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  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW the bunny hugger's Avatar
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    That's the first I have heard of it. Their normal approach, as I understand it, is ask for two books, no review guaranteed. If they are going to charge reading fees now my opinion of them will go way down.

  4. #4
    Fear the Death Ray maestrowork's Avatar
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    Money flows to the writer. Stay away from "pay" reviews.

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  5. #5
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    In an interview from a few months ago they specifically say they charge no fees: http://www.bookhitch.com/archives/082010-jcox.aspx
    Emily Veinglory

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW Zefiris's Avatar
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    Thanks guys.

    I won't bother with them then. Just thought I'd ask on the off chance that they are as influential as I'd heard.

    Wonder if the $50 charge for e-book reviews is a new thing with them? Seems odd. . .and really steep tbh.


    My Writing

    Steam Queen: Steampunk - Out Now

    On Angel's Wings: Children's Fantasy - Out Now!

    True Hero?: Superhero - Out Now!


    Fire and Fury: Fantasy - Out now!

  7. #7
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Who was the email from specifically?
    Emily Veinglory

  8. #8
    Teh doommobile, drivin' rite by you mscelina's Avatar
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    This is from the Midwest Book Review's website:

    The Midwest Book Review is an organization of volunteers committed to promoting literacy, library usage, and small press publishing. We accept no financial donations from authors or publishers in exchange for our services, in order to avoid any conflict of interest issues. All of our services and resources are provided free of charge to writers, publishers, and the general public. We do permit the donation of postage stamps to the Midwest Book Review, as a gesture of support and appreciation for what we seek to accomplish on behalf of the small press community.
    I keep a close eye on ebook reviewers and I've never heard of MBR reviewing ebooks. Ever. As a matter of fact, I'm reasonably positive that MBR states emphatically that they only review print books.

    Jim Cox: I never say "I review all books". I would say something like "I consider all books for a review assignment".

    This consideration applies only to print books. We do not review ebooks. A few of our volunteer reviewers do review ebooks, but they do not get them from the Midwest Book Review. If you mentioned in your email book review solicitation that it was an ebook I must have missed that bit. Otherwise are you certain you remembered to add that it was an ebook?


    http://www.midwestbookreview.com/jimcox/jul_05.htm

    So if they are reviewing ebooks, this is pretty new and not well-known--and completely against what they have on their site.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW Zefiris's Avatar
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    Here's the email I recieved. Hope it's okay to post it?

    "We charge a $50 reading fee for reviewing ebooks and pdf files. If you wish to proceed, let me know and I'll provide you with the name and email address of the assigned reviewer to whom you should send the pdf file of your book. The check should be made out to: Midwest Book Review

    The address to send the check is. . ."


    The email was from Jim Cox.


    My Writing

    Steam Queen: Steampunk - Out Now

    On Angel's Wings: Children's Fantasy - Out Now!

    True Hero?: Superhero - Out Now!


    Fire and Fury: Fantasy - Out now!

  10. #10
    In the end, it's just you and the manuscript job's Avatar
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    From the wiki:

    A visitor to the website Amazon.com emailed Cox in 2006 and asked about the organization's practice of giving all reviews posted to the site a five-star recommendation.

    Cox replied explaining that he disagreed with the star-rating system in general, and noted, "If a book isn't good enough to pass our initial screening then it doesn't get reviewed in the first place."

    <shrug>

  11. #11
    Caped Codder jaksen's Avatar
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    Hmmmm. Something seems amiss here.
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  12. #12
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Midwest Book Review is not now, and never has been, "influential."

  13. #13
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    In late 2010 Cox said they had a single reviewer who would take ebooks, so they reviewed a very small number of them. But he said fees should never be charged by reviewers, quite emphatically.

    It seems this has changed which I consider very sad.
    Emily Veinglory

  14. #14
    Learning to read more, post less
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    If you pay fifty bucks for a review, the one guarantee is that they'll be fifty bucks richer, and you'll be fifty bucks poorer.

  15. #15
    Boldly going nowhere in particular. Jess Haines's Avatar
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    Repeat after me:

    "Money flows TO the author. Money flows TO the author. Money flows TO the author..."
    Jess Haines
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  16. #16
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Unc James has it right...they have NEVER been influential, and as a matter of fact, I consider them the review mill of the industry. They did nothing for my last three book reviews.

    Now, this recent development of charging for e-book reviews just plain sucks. Now they are a vanity-mill review house, with volunteer readers. Could they sink any lower? I think not.

    Tri

  17. #17
    To thine own self be true. Rebekkah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jess Haines View Post
    Repeat after me:

    "Money flows TO the author. Money flows TO the author. Money flows TO the author..."
    You're funny Jess, and I agree with you. Money flows TO the author, and the author should never have to pay somebody to read/review him/her's manuscript.

  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW Zefiris's Avatar
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    Thanks again guys!

    I assumed they were influential since on two lists of book reviewers I've found, both lists have recommended Midwest Book Reviews as being a good reviewer to send too.

    Glad I asked here before been ripped off!


    My Writing

    Steam Queen: Steampunk - Out Now

    On Angel's Wings: Children's Fantasy - Out Now!

    True Hero?: Superhero - Out Now!


    Fire and Fury: Fantasy - Out now!

  19. #19
    Boldly going nowhere in particular. Jess Haines's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebekkah View Post
    You're funny Jess, and I agree with you. Money flows TO the author, and the author should never have to pay somebody to read/review him/her's manuscript.
    Heh, thanks.

    Agreed. I didn't have a lot of time to elaborate my statement earlier.

    Sometimes people pay a professional editorial service to have their manuscript critiqued. Sometimes people pay to have ads put in newspapers, magazines, websites, etc.

    People do not pay for reviews. Not ever.

    Pay for postage to mail hard copies of your book. That's it. If a reviewer is asking you to pay them in order to post a guest post, to have your book reviewed, or to have your book promoted in any way other than ads on their website, walk away.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zefiris View Post
    Thanks again guys!

    I assumed they were influential since on two lists of book reviewers I've found, both lists have recommended Midwest Book Reviews as being a good reviewer to send too.

    Glad I asked here before been ripped off!
    You're welcome!

    If you're looking for reviewers, I suggest you Google bloggers who review books of your genre and note the ones who post regularly and have a lot of traffic (i.e., check their number of followers, the number of comments they average on their posts, etc). Check who they follow in their blog roll, because that may lead to additional potential reviewers for you. Contact them yourself with a letter or email and offer a copy of your book for review. Include the following info for them (aside from anything else that they ask for in their review guidelines):

    - Your name
    - Your website, if you have one
    - The genre of your book
    - The title of your book
    - The publication date
    - The publisher
    - Book blurb (back cover copy)
    - In case they request it, have a sample available of 5 to 25 pages or so in a common format, such as PDF or MS Word

    Keep it simple. Something along the lines of:

    Dear (blogger name),

    I am seeking reviews for my book, (TITLE), an (genre) (novel/memoir/whatever) published by (publisher name) on (date). I thought you might be interested in my work and would love to send you a free copy for review. Here is the back cover copy:

    (BOOK BLURB)

    Thank you for your consideration,

    (Your name)
    (Your website)
    That's just an example. Tailor it to suit your purposes. You can throw something in there of "This is my debut novel" if it is, or whatever else you want to say, if you think it might sway the reviewer in making a decision in your favor as to whether or not they should review your book.

    Hope that helps!
    Jess Haines
    The Official Antichrist of Pie™
    www.jesshaines.com / Twitter / Facebook

    "It doesn't get much better for pure urban fantasy than Jess Haines." --All Things Urban Fantasy

    Latest Title: Smoke and Mirrors

  20. #20
    Always curious. juniper's Avatar
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    Is a review from Midwest Book Review still considered rather useless (from the publishing industry)? And if so, why?

    Are their reviewers just not very good?
    Do they ever post negative reviews?
    Is it just a rah-rah for anyone who passes their standards?
    Are their standards not very high?

    I see their reviews posted on some blogs and on the backs of books occasionally. It's hard to know what reviews to really trust anymore. So much bogus stuff.

    (I knew I'd seen this thread somewhere but looked for it in the Bewares forum. Maybe it should be shifted over there?)

  21. #21
    The Paulest of all Coscas paulcosca's Avatar
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    As a reviewer, it seems the very height of sliminess to charge someone to review their work. Ugh.

    Besides working for a larger publication or working with advertisers, I can't even imagine how one could ethically monetize being a reviewer. The whole idea is that we are receiving something for free (a book, product, movie, game, etc) and then give our opinion because we got it for free. That's supposed to be the payment.

    Sounds sleazy as hell.
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  22. #22
    @LeaveItToIan IDGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medievalist View Post
    It's not what it seems, and it's not going to help you.

    Paid reviews don't work. Libraries don't read them nor do buyers or readers.

    Save your money.
    This.

    In my opinion, a writer should never pay for anything related to their writing. You've done the unpaid work by writing the book in most instances. Don't pay for reviews, contests, editing services or book promotion - these are all things that come free, at the expense of your publisher, and so forth.

    I don't know the rules as a self-published writer, but in traditional publishing this has always been the case for me.


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  23. #23
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zefiris View Post

    I heard that these are a reviewer with a lot of clout, you know, guaranteed to boost sales and get the book reviews out to a lot of people.

    ...

    ...Midwest Book Review are apparently highly respected and a legitimate group of reviewers.
    No, they aren't. Who told you they were?

    The only reason the Midwest Book Reviews are mentioned at all by anyone is that they're one of the few who were willing to review self-published books at all, back before the e-publishing explosion.

    My guess is that they're now charging money because a) They're drowning in the e-pubbed flood, or, b) Their base shrank to nothing so they need to find a new revenue stream or go out of business entirely.

  24. #24
    Always curious. juniper's Avatar
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    Apparently they charge a fee for reviewing ebooks but not print books. From their website:

    The Midwest Book Review is an organization of volunteers committed to promoting literacy, library usage, and small press publishing. Our reviews (with the sole exception of reading fees for ebooks) are free of charge. We do not request remuneration from authors or publishers for our reviews of traditional print books, music CDs, and DVDs, in order to avoid any conflict of interest issues.

    All of our services and resources, including our book review magazines and Advice for Writers/Publishers articles, are provided free of charge to writers, publishers, and the general public.
    -------------------
    From their submissions page: http://www.midwestbookreview.com/get_rev.htm
    The Midwest Book Review gives priority consideration to small publishers, self-published authors, academic presses, and specialty publishers.

    Reviewing print books is always free of charge. We do not accept ebook submissions directly, but we can put ebook authors/publishers in contact with reviewers who may choose to review their ebook for a $50 reading fee.
    -------------------
    So they don't review ebooks themselves, but refer them to other reviewers. Like a $50 finders fee or something.

    I was curious about them, as a reader not a writer, because I've seen their reviews mentioned on blogs etc. as proof of the merit of the books.

    So - back to my question - are their reviews not to be taken seriously? It's hard for small press books to get reviewed by the big dogs, no? So where else?

  25. #25
    Learning to read more, post less
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    How can their reviews not be taken seriously. They do reviews just like everyone else. The read the book, and give their opinion in a well-written manner.

    I'd never send then an e-book, but for print books, they do a very good job. Who cares about "clout"? Every review means someone may buy a book, and every reader is one more chance to have your book talked about.

    I once had an early novel reviewed there, and that same novel was also reviewed by The New York Review of Books a few months later. TNYOB generated a lot more sales, but I did receive a few letters from readers who bought that book because of the review in Midwest. What more can you ask?

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