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Old Hack
03-18-2012, 01:33 PM
I've noticed a couple of discussions on AW lately about paid-for reviews, and I think it's a subject worth investigating more fully. I know it's been thrashed out before, here (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=222567), for example, and here (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=102722); but we seem to have only talked about it in relation to specific publications, or specific services, and if possible I'd like to avoid such specifics and instead consider if paying for reviews can ever be a good idea, and if so, under what circumstances.

As I see it, paid-for reviews are not impartial, and so can't be trusted to be a fair analysis of the books under discussion. If you pay for a review, the person who reviews your book has a vested interest in pleasing you, and what better way to please you than to write a glowing review of your book?

Looking at the transaction from the other side: when you buy something, you have certain expectations and rights--you don't just ask a shop for a pair of trousers and happily take home whatever style, colour and size the shop wants to give you. Not only would this be unreasonable, you have legal protection to prevent that happening; so if you buy a review, it could be argued that it should be the sort of review you want.

However.

The number of established venues which review books for free is decreasing, while the number which offer paid-for reviews seems to be increasing, and writers are buying those reviews.

Reviewers do have to earn a living; it costs money to run any sort of publication, even if it's a blog which is ostensibly run for free. I know how much work reviewing is (check out the link in my signature). I have more review requests than I can cope with, and I'd be able to review a lot more books if I earned money from doing so which would benefit (I use that word loosely--again, check out my link) more writers in the long run.

Is paying for reviews an effective use of our money? Is it an ethical way to proceed? And would you do it? Discuss.

HoneyBadger
03-18-2012, 05:01 PM
Part of it depends upon the writer's goals with publication.

Like, I see it as being slightly analogous to self-publishing vs traditional publishing. If your goal is to have a physical copy of your book in your hands, self-pub all the way. Great, mission accomplished. But if you want to be a Serious Author and buy a physical copy of your book from your local brick & mortar store, it's probably a really bad idea to self-publish.

Likewise, if you just want some book reviews, pay for 'em. If you want your book reviews to come from sources that are well-respected, write the book that'll get 'em.

I doubt a lot of Orange Prize winners paid for www. ratemybook . com (dunno if that's even a real thing) to review their novels.

(Ethically, I think writers who pay for reviews would do well to look at Consumer Reports' business model. With some exceptions, it's a publication of great integrity.)

Interesting question! I look forward to seeing where this goes.

MarkEsq
03-18-2012, 05:05 PM
I didn't even know such a thing as paid-for reviews existed and I'm struggling to think of how this could be a good idea.

I have a book coming out in October so I'm interested to see how this discussion develops, to see some arguments in favor. Thanks for raising the issue, Old Hack. :)

HoneyBadger
03-18-2012, 05:12 PM
Derp- I should have read the links first.

Old Hack, is this specific to paying for Amazon-esque reviews, or does it encumbered things like this (http://selfpublishingadvisor.com/2011/04/15/should-you-pay-for-a-book-review/)?

Old Hack
03-18-2012, 05:41 PM
HoneyBadger, it most definitely does include things like the link you provided.

What do you think about the value involved in paying for the reviews listed there? How do you think it would increase the book's exposure? Does anyone who isn't a hopeful self-published writer read self-publishing review blogs? Does anyone get their money's worth from such services?

Bufty
03-18-2012, 06:20 PM
I seem to recall recently reading somewhere -can't pin it down - that a client paying for one of these reviews could request the deletion of what he considered unfavourable comment.

Seems to me that paying for a review stated to be 'positive' even before it's written is nothing less than advertising under the pretence of reviewing.

Is it worth it? I don't know how even the requesting client could connect sales to a paid for review but personally I don't attach much significance to the reviews posted under self-pubbed books and prefer to check the sample pages instead.

brainstorm77
03-18-2012, 06:27 PM
I wouldn't, but there are a ton of review sites that my publishers send my stuff out to be reviewed.

As a reader I wouldn't take any paid review seriously.

seun
03-18-2012, 06:27 PM
Paid for reviews? Ugh. Dodgy as hell.

elindsen
03-18-2012, 06:40 PM
To me it would seem weird that a novel gets lower reviews and one 5 star. I would question that.

Bufty
03-18-2012, 06:50 PM
Is there any obvious way a browsing reader can distinguish between a paid-for and free review?


I wouldn't, but there are a ton of review sites that my publishers send my stuff out to be reviewed.

As a reader I wouldn't take any paid review seriously.

Nymtoc
03-18-2012, 07:27 PM
I didn't even know such a thing as paid-for reviews existed and I'm struggling to think of how this could be a good idea.

It isn't a good idea. It exists, but so do a lot of other scummy things in this world. Call me old-fashioned, or call me :censored.

I would not participate in such a deal, on either end.

Richard White
03-18-2012, 07:38 PM
I would not participate in something like this. I'd rather my book goes unreviewed than to do something I feel is unethical.

I also believe that all paid reviews should be designated as such. It's unfair to the buying public to trick them into thinking these are unbiased opinions. These are nothing more than commercials hiding behind the veneer of honesty.

Marian Perera
03-18-2012, 07:55 PM
Does anyone who isn't a hopeful self-published writer read self-publishing review blogs?

*raises hand*

But I read blogs like yours and PODdymouth's because I know they're honest about the flaws in books (the same goes for review sites like AAR and Smart Bitches when it comes to commercially published books).

heyjude
03-18-2012, 08:18 PM
I've been chewing this over since you posted it, Old Hack. The pay-for-five-stars one is easy. Never ever.

The one where you pay for an unbiased review smacks less of arrogance and dishonesty, but it still doesn't sit well. Still, I can understand that it's frustrating to see your book languish with no or few reviews. I don't think I'd ever do it, though.

veinglory
03-18-2012, 08:25 PM
I, personally, don't think the venues for free review are declining, online small press and self-publishing venues has just increased demand.

Medievalist
03-18-2012, 08:25 PM
The best way for a self-published author to garner reviews is to participate in the conversation--not just in order to pimp her book--and interact with the community of readers (not just authors).

So have the book in you sig, have a blog, create Author profile pages on Amazon and GoodReads, and LibraryThing. Comment on threads about your genre--and review other people's books that you genuinely like, without expectation of recompense.

Being known as a reader will help you be known as a writer.

Participate in giveaways via blogs and sites like GoodReads.

There are a lot of review blogs who will accept self-published books for review.

brainstorm77
03-18-2012, 08:29 PM
Is there any obvious way a browsing reader can distinguish between a paid-for and free review?

Probably not unless it's obvious like a link to the pay site who left the review. I've actually seen this on Amazon before.

The Lonely One
03-18-2012, 08:49 PM
How much for a Pulitzer?

jjdebenedictis
03-18-2012, 08:51 PM
If the author is paying for guaranteed-positive reviews, it's fraud. They're trying to manipulate public perception to boost sales--i.e. game the system to trick people out of their money. Fraud.

If the review is impartial, but paid for, then what the author is really paying for is exposure. That strikes me as legitimate.

However, I think the site should clearly state its policy in that regard, for its own protection. They don't want anyone pointing a finger of blame at them due to a partial understanding of the facts. They also want to have a clear defence against authors who complain about an honest, but negative review.

I agree there's a potential conflict of interest for the review site. An author is unlikely to become a repeat customer if their book gets a negative review the first time.

MysteryRiter
03-18-2012, 08:56 PM
Interesting. I never thought about it in that way. I've been thinking about this and I still feel that when you pay for reviews, two things happen, each with the same result:
- Either the reviewer feels compelled to give you a good rating because you paid them money for their review.
- Or it's like a bribe--here's fifty bucks. I want a five star review.

Both have the same result: a good review.

I really hate when people flaunt Kirkus Indie reviews. I have a few friends who do, and who have truly excellent books, but I can't help but think: did you REALLY pay for that review?

MysteryRiter
03-18-2012, 08:58 PM
If the review is impartial, but paid for, then what the author is really paying for is exposure. That strikes me as legitimate.


I agree with this, but don't you think a well-intentioned reviewer would feel somewhat compelled to produce a positive review because they were paid to review the book? Or is that just me?

Bufty
03-18-2012, 09:15 PM
'Well-intentioned' to me means honest, and paying a professional for a report usually means seeking exposure of the good, the bad and the ugly.

Any outside industry professional not examining any generally accepted element in the reporting brief or only covering specific elements would normally say so in his report.


I agree with this, but don't you think a well-intentioned reviewer would feel somewhat compelled to produce a positive review because they were paid to review the book? Or is that just me?

Marian Perera
03-18-2012, 09:20 PM
I agree with this, but don't you think a well-intentioned reviewer would feel somewhat compelled to produce a positive review because they were paid to review the book? Or is that just me?

If I were being paid to review books, I'd still be blunt about what didn't work. Then again, no one ever accused me of having good intentions. :evil

The problem with being paid, for me, is that my positive reviews would become suspect. Right now, if I praise a book or film on my blog, readers know I'm telling the truth. If I'm being paid, how can they be certain that I really did enjoy the book or film?

AlishaS
03-18-2012, 09:31 PM
I wouldn't pay for a review, nor would I take one seriously if I knew it was paid for.

I think it's manpulitive for someone to pay for a "good" review in order to boost sales.

Same goes for family reviews. I know some people do it and my family has told me they would do it for me... is to go rate my book five stars just because they want to "help"

It's not helping. I want my reviews to be honest and I want them to come from actual readers who have taken the time to actually read my book.

Old Hack
03-18-2012, 09:44 PM
For the record, I've been offered money on more than one occasion to review books on my blog. A couple of times I've been asked if paying something would make my reviews appear faster; more times than that, I've been asked if paying for reviews can guarantee a good one.

I've refused every offer of money I've received. It wouldn't be right to take it.

Medievalist
03-18-2012, 10:04 PM
I've been offered money for reviews frequently.

I don't do the review or take the money.

Greenman Review won't even accept ads or use affiliate links, never mind take money for reviews.

Unimportant
03-18-2012, 10:32 PM
Reviews are written for readers and are valuable to readers, who use them to inform their book buying choices. So I have no problem with readers paying the reviewer, directly or indirectly -- by buying the magazine the reviews are in, or by clicking on the ads on the reviewer's website.

But I think it would be very difficult to avoid the conflict of interest inherent in the author paying the reviewer.

Bufty
03-18-2012, 10:45 PM
I don't disagree with you, Q, - indeed I think the paying for positive reviews sucks - but how does the reader know you were not paid?


If I were being paid to review books, I'd still be blunt about what didn't work. Then again, no one ever accused me of having good intentions. :evil

The problem with being paid, for me, is that my positive reviews would become suspect. Right now, if I praise a book or film on my blog, readers know I'm telling the truth. If I'm being paid, how can they be certain that I really did enjoy the book or film?

blacbird
03-18-2012, 11:02 PM
Next thing, they'll be hawking rebate coupons. This sounds like a spherically bad process, bad no matter how you look at it.

caw

Marian Perera
03-18-2012, 11:26 PM
I don't disagree with you, Q, - indeed I think the paying for positive reviews sucks - but how does the reader know you were not paid?

As in, how does the reader know I'm not being paid right now?
I tend to review books from authors who don't need to pay anyone. :)

Medievalist
03-18-2012, 11:36 PM
I don't disagree with you, Q, - indeed I think the paying for positive reviews sucks - but how does the reader know you were not paid?

Well, there's the FTC regulation about disclosing "material connections":

http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm

This applies, apparently, to US hosted or registered domains.

And the FTC keeps revising it.

gothicangel
03-18-2012, 11:59 PM
To me, paying for reviews is right there alongside paying-to-be published [and associated vanity schemes] and agents charging reading fees.

veinglory
03-19-2012, 02:24 AM
I don't disagree with you, Q, - indeed I think the paying for positive reviews sucks - but how does the reader know you were not paid?

By US rules, the reviewer has to disclose it.

brainstorm77
03-19-2012, 02:54 AM
Most review sites that I frequent state that they don't accept any form of payment for reviews.

G. Applejack
03-19-2012, 03:56 AM
Slightly off topic, but what always raises my eyebrows is when you come across a book (not gonna lie, usually self-published) which has a *glowing* review from a blog.

Yet it has four out of five stars. (Sometimes three out of five stars!)

I always wonder what is really going on. Is it a tit-for-tat review where they know they aren't reading the best thing since sliced bread, but don't really want to say it? Were they given a free review copy and want to promote their blog, be somewhat honest, but really don't want to rock the boat?

Mysteries, mysteries...

Anyway, to go back *on* topic, I feel that pay-per-review is skeevy at best. If I saw a paid review as a reader, I would be disinclined to read the book.

Though me being me, dirt poor with maybe not the best integrity.... Sure. I'd review the snot out of a book if someone paid me. Who's got five bucks?

(No, not really.)

cmi0616
03-19-2012, 05:27 AM
I would never personally pay for a review, but if there was somebody with a book that he/she really wanted to sell, I could see how this might be a worthwhile investment. That doesn't mean it's an ethically right or decent thing to do, but then again, most good business isn't.

bearilou
03-19-2012, 02:53 PM
To me, paying for reviews is right there alongside paying-to-be published [and associated vanity schemes] and agents charging reading fees.

That's exactly what I was thinking!

mistri
03-19-2012, 05:46 PM
I just don't understand what anyone would get out of buying a review - after all, they would know they had purchased, rather than achieved on their own merits, the good comments. And most readers are savvy enough to spot a dubious review a mile off. Even if they weren't, wouldn't you feel silly trying to promote your book with what you know is essentially a dishonest review?

Amadan
03-19-2012, 06:33 PM
As a reader, not only would I dismiss a paid review, but I wouldn't read it if I knew it had been paid for by the author.

Torgo
03-19-2012, 06:38 PM
Can we distinguish paid-for reviews from providing free review copies? Just asking; the former feels wrong, the latter doesn't.

Medievalist
03-19-2012, 06:53 PM
Can we distinguish paid-for reviews from providing free review copies? Just asking; the former feels wrong, the latter doesn't.

Absolutely. While I do often review books I buy, just because I get wildly enthusiastic, it's customary and has been since the 1920s to provide review copies to reviewers without charging them, though it may be a galley or ARC (I accept earcs for review fairly often).

That said, in the U.S. you are legally required to have a clear statement if you have accepted even an earc for review.

Lexxie
03-19-2012, 07:52 PM
I think getting an earc is different from being directly paid by the author for a review.
I have done reviews for a blog where the reviewers received free earcs, and I have still given my honest opinion, and even quite some 2 star negative reviews on books I didn't like for various reasons.
If the author had paid me money to write the review, I'm not so sure I would have been able to be completely honest if I really didn't like the book. Now, if I write a review, I do so for my own and other readers' pleasure and as information rather than anything else. If I got paid by the author to write a review, I would feel as if I was writing the review for the author, not for other readers, if that makes sense.

Medievalist
03-19-2012, 08:00 PM
Paying for a review makes the review an ad, rather than a review.

Lexxie
03-19-2012, 08:00 PM
Paying for a review makes the review an ad, rather than a review.

Exactly!

Old Hack
03-19-2012, 08:06 PM
And the thing about paying for an ad is that the person paying for it will expect to have full editorial control over what's said in that ad.

backslashbaby
03-20-2012, 12:28 AM
I'd pay someone like Medi to review my work if we were in an alternate plane and she did that sort of thing ;) I really do think there are people who could be completely objective about it.

As it stands, nope. I would not pay for any nonobjective review. I don't want them for free, even.

Jeanette
03-20-2012, 12:31 AM
Interesting conversation. For those who see no value in paid reviews, what about Kirkus Reviews? As a writer, reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and Kirkus are important. And now, you can pay to have KR review your book.

Thoughts?

Richard White
03-20-2012, 02:19 AM
No and in fact, I no longer pay attention to Kirkus reviews because I know they're accepting payment. I "know" they're supposed to be separating the two services, but it seems like they'd want their reviewers to "promote" good reviews to draw more business to their pay services.

See, even when there's no exchange going on with Team A, because Team B is taking payolla, then Team A is tainted. Can't trust either right now.

Perks
03-20-2012, 02:46 AM
I also think it would be depressing as hell to pay for a review. I'm going to have a hard enough time just waving the expected social media flag for my book. I'm very proud of it, but it's frickin' awkward to smile and suggest a sale to people I know and meet.

I know that writers have to get comfortable with self-promotion, but it feels like a minefield anyway without the cowpies of paid reviews dotting the pasture.

bearilou
03-20-2012, 03:30 AM
I also think it would be depressing as hell to pay for a review.

It smacks very much of 'I couldn't get anyone to read my book to review it, so I'm paying for someone to do it'.

That may not actually be the case, but that's how it's perceived to me.

KathleenD
03-20-2012, 07:18 AM
- If I am aware that a review site takes money directly (as opposed to ads, see below), I stop reading it.

- Not that I read such sites often, or care about what people who aren't me/my friends have to say, to be honest. I have only twice in my life bought a book based on a good review, and both times it was the Time magazine reviewer. But usually, for a review to be relevant to me, it has to be from someone who shares my outlook and tastes. I suppose if I had more free time I'd find a reviewer who matches my evil heart and follow her slavishly. Until then...

- Admittedly, I have opted NOT to buy a book based on the one-star reviews. For example, the last book in the Earth's Children series. Ye gods and little fishes. I found Mammoth Hunters at age 12 and it rocked my world. At my present age, "cavewoman invents everything with the help of her boyfriend's giant dong" isn't exactly my idea of intricate plotting, but I was still willing to shell out the cash... until I saw reviews and excerpts from the last one.

- My least reviewed story is my best selling story.

I've really only researched romance/erotic romance publishing, so I don't know about other genres. I do know that in romance, you buy an ad, you get a review. If you/your publisher didn't buy an ad, you're not getting a review. The exceptions exist, but they are rare, and have more to do with the reviewer getting hooked by a spectacular blurb or premise. Otherwise, the review spots go to the people who are paying the bills.

Is that buying a review? Well, no, not exactly. The sites with a reputation for honesty are the ones who will still hand out a bad review even to their advertisers - but they know that they can only charge high rates for their ads if they keep their readers, and the readers vanish if the reviews are too gentle. They also know the publisher won't walk because the publisher needs the fogcutting the top review sites provide.

The massive number of middle tier review sites (and a few behemoths), however, do not bite the hand that feeds.

Al Stevens
03-20-2012, 07:35 AM
Accepting payment for a review gives the appearance of compromised objectivity on the part of the reviewer and makes the review itself suspect. Seeing a book reviewed in that manner raises questions about the ethics of both the author (or publisher) and the reviewer. Consequently, I believe you can hurt your book's reputation by paying for a review. Take out a google ad instead.

djf881
03-25-2012, 03:58 AM
Several of the major trade publications are offering to review self-published titles for a fee. The reviews are independent, and written by freelancers, and there is no guarantee that the assessment will be positive, though the author can ask them to spike a negative review, in which case, the publication keeps the money and no review is published. These are well-established and respected publications, and they don't review any self-published titles unless the author pays for the review.

The trades have adopted this business model because they're under intense pressure. Their publications are targeted at booksellers and librarians, but bookstores are closing and libraries are facing budget cuts from cash-strapped states. The subscriber base has, accordingly, shrunk. Charging self-published authors for reviews is a way to cover the shortfall. Kirkus nearly shut down in 2010, before the owner of the Indiana Pacers bought the magazine from Neilsen and saved it. Two years ago, a subscription to Kirkus cost over $400. Now, it costs less than $150.

A paid review costs the author something like $500, and it's arguably worth it because these reviews are considered to be legitimate, editorially-independent assessments. If they're positive, they might draw the attention of other media that might ordinarily ignore self-published work. Having these editorial reviews on an Amazon listing also gives a self-published book a veneer of legitimacy, the same way a professionally-designed cover might.

veinglory
03-25-2012, 04:07 AM
...and they "publish" these reiews on a separate website.

That said major reviewers (e.g. Romantic Times) do occasionally review self-published books even though they don't have an open door policy for them.

Typically these well reviewed self-published books are not branded with iUniverse, Lulu or Createspace. They are presented as small press books and treated according.

colealpaugh
03-25-2012, 11:43 AM
Perception is everything. If it was standard for submissions to include a fee, then who would blink? If all agents required a query fee to feed interns, there'd be some grumbling before life went on as usual.

I'm currently waiting on a Kirkus response with a perpetually open browser tab linked to their Twitter feed (rep points for anyone willing to stop by and rub my head for luck.) Jeez, there are so many versions of "no news" in this friggin' industry.

Has Kirkus Indie sullied the brand? Probably at first glance. But the last I knew, the search tools for librarians hadn't changed to include the pay-per-review database. And even writers not familiar with their new branch will catch the term "indie" and probably know it's something very different from a Kirkus Review. Hard to blame the folks at Kirkus after following some of their blog posts two years ago. They were dead and then they weren't.

veinglory
03-25-2012, 08:00 PM
I really feel that of they asked a fee, I just wouldn't get reviews.

For certain academic journals it is considered normal to charge a fee. But I don't submit to them.

I object to them because it reverses the flow of commerce from where it should be, and unfairly exploits the "worker", and unfairly favors the rich over the poor regardless of talnt (yes, I am a socialist), not just because it is 'customary'.

Tom from UK
03-28-2012, 03:24 PM
And what about those glowing endorsements on the cover? Is it true that they come from other authors published by the same publishers working on a 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' principle? I read that this was so and was quite shocked. Perhaps I was lied to.

And what about Richard and Judy who (since they left the BBC) have (again according to press reports) charged significant sums to put titles in their Book Club.

And how is it that the first edition of a new book can have 'The #1 Best Seller' printed on the jacket before anyone has had the chance to buy one?

I can't help feeling that there's a lot of rotten stuff going on in publishing. Paying for reviews seems the least of it. Or am I just cynical?

Torgo
03-28-2012, 03:52 PM
And what about those glowing endorsements on the cover? Is it true that they come from other authors published by the same publishers working on a 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' principle? I read that this was so and was quite shocked. Perhaps I was lied to.

And what about Richard and Judy who (since they left the BBC) have (again according to press reports) charged significant sums to put titles in their Book Club.

And how is it that the first edition of a new book can have 'The #1 Best Seller' printed on the jacket before anyone has had the chance to buy one?

I can't help feeling that there's a lot of rotten stuff going on in publishing. Paying for reviews seems the least of it. Or am I just cynical?

I think you may be a trifle cynical, or perhaps I'm a trifle cynical myself, but it doesn't seem terribly rotten to me.

Blurbs on covers... Well, yes, they're often from writers who are published by the same publisher. It makes it easier for an editor to approach them for a blurb; it's more likely that the two authors might already know and like each other; and also the publisher may feel it's better to have one of their own authors promoting another than to have one of their authors promoting a book from another firm.

There is a certain amount of back-scratching and log-rolling that goes on - the Christmas book roundups are always a good source of amusement, watching authors reciprocally recommend each other's books - but it's kind of hard to separate cynical motives for that from, you know, mutual liking and respect.

Richard & Judy - that's a rate-carding thing. If you're picked to be in the club, then you're expected to pay some money towards the in-store marketing of the book. It's not that much unlike the way you would pay to be featured prominently in a bookstore, which is standard practice, and I'm not sure it's 'rotten'. (WH Smith say the books aren't picked based on the publisher's ability to pay.)

Are you sure that with the '#1 Bestseller' coverline you're not looking at a book that was a #1 bestseller in hardback?

Pippi
05-14-2012, 07:39 PM
If you were going to get paid to review books, why would you even read the books at all? It would just slow down your output. Just stick some glowing, five-star hyperbole on the net. The author's happy, you're happy 'cause you got paid, and somewhere an angel has just lost its wings.

Personally, I prefer to read the first couple of pages on Amazon or a random part in store, than go by anyone else's opinion. Otherwise, I'd end up reading 50 Shades of Grey.

eggs
05-15-2012, 07:55 AM
I always read the one star reviews first as they are usually the best. Anyone can say a book is awesome, but it takes more effort to articulate why something sucks. I will still buy a book with bad reviews, as long as the bad reviews are about hating the plot, not hating the writer's lack of craft.

If I were going to pay anyone for a review, I'd be paying for a frothing-at-the-mouth, over the top, one star rant about how much they hated and loathed the book. I bet that would generate more curiosity sales than "The most awesome book I ever read. Five stars."

Jamesaritchie
05-15-2012, 09:43 PM
And what about those glowing endorsements on the cover? Is it true that they come from other authors published by the same publishers working on a 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' principle? I read that this was so and was quite shocked. Perhaps I was lied to.

And what about Richard and Judy who (since they left the BBC) have (again according to press reports) charged significant sums to put titles in their Book Club.

And how is it that the first edition of a new book can have 'The #1 Best Seller' printed on the jacket before anyone has had the chance to buy one?

?

I know a lot of writers who have provided blurbs, but never once have I know a writer to write a good blurb for a book he didn't like.

Books often sell a LOT of copies before the first book is actually printed, which is why many books debut at number 1.

Nymtoc
05-15-2012, 10:48 PM
I've been offered money for reviews frequently.

I don't do the review or take the money.



Yes! Yes! Yes!

I posted earlier in this thread, and I repeat: Do not pay for reviews or accept money for them. It is a noxious practice and should be shunned by any of us who have ethics with respect to our art or craft or, for that matter, our personal integrity.

:animal

veinglory
05-15-2012, 11:06 PM
Well, I have accepted money for reviews--from the magazine publishing them. It is not the money per se that is a problem.

Nymtoc
05-15-2012, 11:28 PM
Well, I have accepted money for reviews--from the magazine publishing them. It is not the money per se that is a problem.

Well, of course, in my condemnation of money for reviews, I am not referring to money paid by newspapers, magazines etc. to their critics and reviewers, who are presumably objective. I am talking about money or other benefits paid or received with the clear intent of giving a favorable (sometimes even unfavorable) opinion about a work.

I include "other benefits," because it is just as whorish to accept, e.g., a new iPad for a review as it is to accept a check.

:animal

Stacia Kane
05-16-2012, 04:09 AM
And what about those glowing endorsements on the cover? Is it true that they come from other authors published by the same publishers working on a 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' principle? I read that this was so and was quite shocked. Perhaps I was lied to.


I can't help feeling that there's a lot of rotten stuff going on in publishing. Paying for reviews seems the least of it. Or am I just cynical?


1. No, it's not true. Often they are from authors with the same publisher, but that's because the editor of the book in question has contact info for the blurbing author.

I've been given blurbs from authors with other publishers, authors I either did not know or barely knew; I've been asked to read books to blurb from other publishers for authors I don't know; I've never given a blurb for a book I didn't like and to my knowledge have never been given a blurb from an author who actually didn't like my book.

Does it happen? Sure, maybe. But keep in mind that when I blurb a book--when any author blurbs a book--they're reinforcing their own brand and potentially affecting their relationship with their own readers. If I think a book sucks but go ahead and blurb it--effectively telling my own readership that I think they ought to buy and read it--I could be harming my relationship with them and the trust they've given me. I'm not willing to do that, frankly, and I don't think most authors are. If I don't genuinely think it's good and that my readers will like it, I'm not going to basically recommend it to them. I'm not going to let an author whose work I dislike use my name to promote themselves.

(In fact, along similar lines, not too long ago I discovered a self-published author on Amazon had tagged my books--and the books of many others in my genre--with her name; essentially trying to make people buying my books think hers were similar, and that my readers were recommending her books to other readers of mine. I pretty much hit the roof. I don't lie to or manipulate my readers; they are not just wallets to be opened and exploited, and I definitely do not appreciate someone else trying to do use them to promote their own books without their permission. You bet your ass I complained to Amazon and got her tags removed, and pretty much every other writer I know would do the same. So no way am I going to damage the trust they have in me by telling them to buy a book I myself don't like.)


2. Of course there's some rotten stuff that goes on in publishing. It's an industry full of people, and sometimes people can be pretty scummy. But the vast majority of people in publishing are not scummy; we are real people who love books, love writing, love readers, and are sincere in our desire to please those readers and make them happy. And personally I think for the most part, the scummy people in the industry are found out and end up lurking on the outskirts.

I won't say what you're talking about with blurbs never ever happens, but I believe it's very rare indeed.

Unimportant
05-16-2012, 04:17 AM
And how is it that the first edition of a new book can have 'The #1 Best Seller' printed on the jacket before anyone has had the chance to buy one?
The same way that the publisher knows to print 100,000 instead of 10,000 copies of the book. Pre-orders.

Unimportant
05-16-2012, 04:20 AM
But keep in mind that when I blurb a book--when any author blurbs a book--they're reinforcing their own brand and potentially affecting their relationship with their own readers.
Yes, this. It's kind of a given that an author will write what she likes to read, so if an author whose work I like says "this book is great!" I assume the blurbed book will be similar in type and quality to the author's own books. And if it's not...yeah, I'll notice and remember it.