Interesting but depressing take on book reviews from the NYTimes:
Okay, I just tracked down the article and read it. I understand that this article is geared towards the self-publishing industry, but this sort of thing has been going on for years, especially with product reviews. And Kirkus has been offering paid reviews (at a price of $400 each) for years.
The most telling part of this article is that one disgrunted author (named Ashly Lorenzana in the New York Times piece) almost single-handedly destroyed this guy's "paid review" business. Unlike Kirkus, which is still around and still charging for reviews, the problems arose when Amazon got wind that this guy was ONLY writing favorable reviews. It means something to have some integrity in this business.
As for myself, I generally do not post negative reviews. If I hate a book, I usually won't review it at all. But I do make an exception if the book has serious grammar and formatting issues. I think buyers have a right to know.
Can I just say THANK YOU for that amazing blog you have? I used your Yellow Pages of reviewers to contact book bloggers to review my novel. I had a 10% hit rate of people agreeing to accept my novel for review. However, it appears that most of them are very busy and have yet to get around to it.
I've actually had more success contacting Amazon top reviewers. I just wrote a post about the various sources of my reviews on my blog at http://www.jadekerrion.com (under the tab An Author's Journey) if you're interested in reading about my journey soliciting credible reviews for Perfection Unleashed.
"Mr. Rutherford tried to start another service, Authors Reviewing Authors — a scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours approach. Authors preferred receiving over giving, however, and that venture failed."
So... does anybody know what the difference is about bookblogs that allows it to apparently thrive?
Whilst we probably all agree that paying for a fake good review is unhelpful to author and readers, I don't see that this is the same as exchanging honest reviews with authors. Also what about all the endorsing that goes on in publishing that readers may not be aware of? E.g. that publishers pay for so-called staff picks in book stores; that some publications won't review books if the publishers don't take out advertising with them; that publishers also pay to have books featured on for 2 for 1 tables etc... Seems unfair to pick on self-publishing as an easy target.
I don't know what to think. I'm a horror reader and writer, and I'm well aware that most horror novels are reviewed by friends and colleagues of the authors in a 'scratch your/my back' deal. If you are honest, you risk being viewed as someone who isn't a team player, because goodness knows authors need to stick together and maybe some guy whose book you panned will take issue with you at the next Werewolf Con. And who knows - maybe the piece of crap you panned has been written by the top guy in the genre, and how dare you criticize his everyman style?
On the other hand, who the hell can you trust if most reviews aren't legit? I go back and forth on this issue all the time.
Hey, Mac. I wrote a horror novel and am looking for reviews. Would you be interested in reading it? If you've written something and want a review as well, I'd be more than happy to oblige. If you're interested, let me know and I'll get a copy of the book to you.
Here's the link to Amazon just to get the synopsis and stuff:
Hi Jerry and others!
There is a similar thread on Goodreads at the moment where I have suggested trying to get a small group of authors (4 or 6) together for HONEST review exchange. It would work like this:
A reviews B's novel
while B reviews C's novel
while C reviews D's novel etc.
There are 2 of us signed up already. We would agree parameters mutually (eg review length, where and when posted, if any author won't review a particular genre); other than that, the review must be honest.
If anyone else is interested in participating please email me at hotelalphabet at gmail dot com.
Hi there. I'm Ashly Lorenzana, the person named in this article.
I couldn't agree more with Christy. It obviously pays to have integrity. BUT, you also get what you pay for. That's the lesson I learned. In the case of buying reviews that are not just mindless praise (as in the case of Mr. Rutherford) you should expect to pay a premium and opt for a more reputable service like Kirkus.
Personally, I have had way more success by pitching book bloggers to review my memoir than with any paid promotion (aside from a press release I wrote when I published).
" He once asked his wife to review one of his books. To his disappointment, she refused."
seems like the wife doesn't approve of his devious scheme. Smart woman.
(Mr.Sutton, not Tood Rutherford)