Cover of T. Kingfisher's Paladin's Grace

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Thread: This is nothing like an official FAQ

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  1. #11
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    2,093
    Q. Is it worth it to get reviews from sites you pay?

    A.
    No, absolutely not. It can only do you harm.

    At minimum, if you're lucky and the reader doesn't recognize the source you're quoting from, it will still make you look like you're hanging out at the low end of the market: a review from AcmeReviews.net was all you could get, and you were desperate enough to use it. It's better to have no review quotes than to give readers an impression like that.

    And that's the minimum. The effect is far worse if they recognize the source of your review: "You paid for it? Eeeeeeeeeeeuw!" A disaster.

    This is closely related to the principle that says that if you've been making low-money low-prestige sales to bottom-end magazines for the last ten years, and you think you've written your breakout story or novel, don't list all those publications in your cover letter. Pick out your three best sales from the last 18-24 months and just list those.

    If the reader doesn't know much about you, you could be anything, including wonderful. But once you make yourself look like a desperate bottom-feeder, it's hard to convince them that you're anything else. You do have to tell people something about yourself. But if what you're telling them is more disheartening than blank paper, you should seriously consider leaving it out.

    Second principle: Readers are most impressed if your quotes come from authors or periodicals they know and respect. If they've never heard of them, they're less impressed. If the source sounds penny-ante or irrelevant, or like it's trying too hard, the quote has negative credibility.

    Third: Never lie. If you're caught, it's a fact no one will ever forget about you.

    Fourth: If some piece of promotion wouldn't persuade you to buy a book, don't assume it will persuade anyone else.

    You know what actually helps? Good story copy. Tell the readers what kind of book this is, and what kind of things happen in it. Zero in on concrete, specific, illuminating details. Keep it short. Don't sound pushy. It's a lot like writing poetry.
    Last edited by HapiSofi; 04-17-2010 at 06:00 PM.
    Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.

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