Book Trailer The Noble Train

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Paying For Reviews

Big article in the business section (aptly so) of the NY Times about a man who made quite a bit of money selling reviews to writers. He found out that writers would pay up to a thousand bucks for five star reviews in online publications and at his peak he was making 28 grand a month. The self published writers forked out the money happily and some were driven onto the Bestseller List of man sold a million ebooks of his CIA novels. Not bad for a thousand dollars. And of course the Times was very factual and pointed out that this man was fulfilling a need. (SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND SELF PUBLISHED BOOKS THIS YEAR) and he made some really good money in the process.

Which leaves us with a strange taste in our mouth. Book reviews are a final arbiter of sorts for your work. Or they used to be. A very personal moment between you and that faceless reviewer who is NOT PAID but is rendering an opinion on the work. It is the nail biting moment. And if you have received a great review by Publishers Weekly or the New York Times then you know that warm glow. And conversely, you know the feeling of wanting to hide in your basement when the reviews are bad and how they tear at your soul.

I remember a woman coming up to me in a grocery store once. So sorry to hear about your bad reviews in the Sun Times she she said, almost gloating. It was a bad moment, but that  comes with the territory. And so you take the good with the bad and you move on. Now in our age of instant gratification (SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND SELF PUBLISHED BOOKS) we have a way to go around any sort of judgement at all on our work. The Walmartification of publishing if you will. We can all have a book and we can all be well reviewed now. I can have everything I want and not pay the price seems to be the message.

But of course we all know dont we? We know who is the real thing and who is the phony, the bought for accolade, the plagiarist, the also ran, the artist in posing. Cream still does rise to the top and people still gag on sour milk. And whats more YOU know. Even if no one else does. And so the man who made a killing on selling reviews is no longer. Seems there was a disgruntled author who received a bad review and his operation was shut down by Google and Amazon. But there are others who are taking his place. You can still buy a five review if you want too.

But you will know what your book really is even as you read that glowing paid for review; a one star effort by no star person.

Books by William Hazelgrove