Yes, this is filled with whisky

Yes, this is filled with whisky

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Rant: Paid book reviews


A friend of mine has a book releasing soon, and she made the decision to pay two-hundred dollars for a single review from someone who is, apparently, a respected NY book reviewer (I've never heard of him, but trust she's done her research).

He also offers a marketing package and uses his own review to promo the book. This was a red flag to me. If he's taking money for the marketing component, then how can you trust the review to be honest?

The other option is to use one of the companies where you pay a fee and the book is provided to random readers for a set number of reviews. If it were me, I would choose the latter, to be sure the reviews are honest.

Now for the question, which I hope will be appropriate for your blog:
What is your opinion of this practice?(1)
Do you suggest this to your authors (2a), or recommend against it? (2b)

Writing, publishing, and marketing books is a tangled road for most of us authors. Thanks for providing a road map.



1. This practice is a vile and morally bankrupt way to make money. It caters to writers' anxiety and lack of knowledge about how book publicity works.

2a. No

2b. Yes. In fact, it's stronger than recommend against. I'd insist that any client of mine NOT do it because it tarnishes every other legitimate review you might get.

You can't buy reviews worth getting.

You can't buy reviews from someone who actually IS a respected book reviewer.  Apparently you can buy them from someone who claims to be.

Paid reviews are done by shills, not book reviewers. They won't tell you that. I just did.

If your friend hasn't coughed up  the money yet ask if her research included googling the "reviewer's" name and his reviews appear on any site OTHER than his own.  A "respected" reviewer gets quoted. (That's the whole purpose of reviews!)

If you want to test that theory, here are some respected reviewers: Ron Charles of the Washington Post. Oline Cogdill. Lesa Holstine.

There are LOTS of others.

If you want an easier test: do you recognize any of the books he's reviewed? Shills often find their targets among people who don't have access to the trade reviewers, or legit book reviewers.

The purpose of a book review is not to get a review. It's to use that review to get attention from readers. Readers pay attention to people they know. Unless this shill has real name recognition (which he doesn't because YOU have never heard of him) a review of any kind, let alone a paid one, isn't worth anything.


Here's the rule: Don't pay for reviews.

It's very tempting to think "what can it hurt" and that's exactly what these flim-flam artists are counting on. They KNOW you want to sell books, and they know how to write a pitch that hits every anxiety you've got about your book being published.

It requires a lot of confidence to turn away from this kind of beguiling sales pitch. Be confident your book will find readers the old fashioned way: people who read it and talk about it.

You'll find those folks on book reviewing blogs; on Goodreads; on Twitter. You'll find them from working your mailing list and doing events.  It won't be easy. It certainly won't feel anywhere as certain as a "review from a respected NY book reviewer" but what it will be is real.






64 comments:

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Paying for a positive review is like paying for love.
To quote my dear departed dad, “The only love you can buy is when you buy a dog.”
And let me add, sometimes the most loving are free.

french sojourn said...


To echo Carolynnnnnnwith6n's comment.

My first thought was of the wealthy old man talking to the young actress wanna be.
He asks, "Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?"
She nods sheepishly, he replies.
"How about for 50 bucks?"
"What do you think I am a whore?"
"We;ve already established that, now we're just negotiating."

Amanda Capper said...

Glad I didn't succumb to Kirkus. A lot of authors have, but I guess what Kirkus does is give you the good and the bad. You just take the good and stick it on your book cover.

xnye said...

I remember a conference long long ago, where an agent repeatedly answered the same question in various guises, paying editors and marketers, and muses...." money flows one way,TO THE WRITER." My hopeful mantra, and words worth gold.

Lucie Witt said...

Do these reviews have to indicate they're paid the way bloggers and tweets have to acknowledge sponsored posts and ads? They certainly should. This practice pisses me off as a reader and writer.

I'm like 2N, give me that real love.

Amanda Capper said...

And a quick OT...Thanks Colin and R for the explanation in yesterday's comments. Got it!

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Maybe it’s because we are so battered by rejection, I’ve found that often the greatest thing a writer lacks is confidence. If we have done our job well we should not have to pay to be told that our work is worthy.
In life we learn that not everyone will love us, or even like us, so why consider the worlds we create any differently.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Hey Frenchy, I forgot, thanks for extra Ns. Around here I need them.

Donnaeve said...

When my son was about 20 he called me one day and proudly professed "Mom! I'm a model!"

You'd have to know Justin's history to know that I produced a dramatic eye roll at that, and then proceeded to drill him on just exactly what he was getting himself into. Yep. He got suckered into one of those scams. I tried every which way to talk him out of shelling out over hundreds of dollars. I even attended a meeting with him to confront the people who ran this supposed "modeling firm." I whispered (loudly) "Look around you, Justin. Open your eyes."

I then began to question the guy running the meeting. "So. How long have you been in business? That long? Wow. And, the modeling company name is Bellissimo? Interesting. I Googled it and I couldn't find a website. Do you have a website? How many of your "Models" have gone on to actually secure work? Really? That many. Huh. Will you have that list on your website, the website that you say you're working on?"

And on and on. The guy quit calling on me. I told Justin, "This is a scam. All of you, are being scammed." (loudly)

It's a wonder I didn't get a knock over the head in the parking lot. There was nothing I could tell him at the time. He had to find out his own way.

Anyway, no way on God's green earth would I pay anyone for a review. @xnye mentioned paying editors/marketers above, and for editing, yes, I did pay for that and that is okay if you aren't repped, and are paying a freelance editor to help you with your book. You just have to be careful in your search. There are a lot of good freelancers out there. I am not sure about marketers though - although I would think if someone is self-publishing, just like with freelance editors, there are legitimate marketers out there who can help with that end of the biz.

This was long! Oops.

Donnaeve said...

Amanda - I've thought all along that Kirkus reviews were what authors wanted...am I wrong? Maybe I'm confusing Kirkus with another review site...?

DLM said...

Donna: awww. A girlfriend of mine did that. She was 40 and they were all, "Oh you will walk in New York Fashion Week ... if you pay us x-amount of dollars for the package deal."

As to our "reviewer": the first thought that comes to mind (and second, and third) is that this guy is one of those who goes on FB and Twitter with nothing whatever human to say, just spamming constantly up to the quota of barfing he's promised for this $200.

Which will annoy a LOT of people, and turn them off. Or, if you are most fortunate indeed, the resounding response will be indifference.

So, for $200, you either just bore or piss off an entire audience, and guarantee zero sales with what little exposure a couple days' spam barfing will even gain.

Yeah, no, I saw a really cute vintage coat in my size. That at least will keep me warm. This "reviewer" can keep trying elsewhere.

Colin Smith said...

Ah, yes, this is why I like Janet's rants: so often I agree with them! (I can feel Janet glaring at me: "So often? Not ALWAYS??!"--hey, I want to leave open the possibility that sometimes, occasionally, perhaps after too much kale wine, you and I might not see eye to eye on some things...)

The way you earn good reviews is writing a novel that gets attention. A lot of this kind of thing sounds to me like an appeal to our inherent laziness. We want success without effort. Months of slogging away, crafting, revising, work, work, work, or pay some dude a few hundred bucks and you can get the limelight and all your dreams. Life rarely (if ever) works that way.

As has already been eloquently said, the most valuable love is freely given. That includes love for your book.

Awesome rant!! :)

Grace Wen said...

Donnaeve: "I've thought all along that Kirkus reviews were what authors wanted...am I wrong?"

Kirkus has two review arms: the legitimate one (which works in the usual way) and the scammy one where you pay between $425-$575. The whole setup feels designed to confuse authors who aren't trade published.

Amy Schaefer said...

Maybe it is my scientific background (or perhaps I suffer from chronic crankiness,) but my first impulse when I encounter anything presented to me as fact is to ask: who is my source? Can I reasonably trust this person's opinion or work? Book reviews, restaurant recommendations, news articles, scientific papers - the same test applies.

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Nefarious book reviewer must have a reputation.

Could it tarnish an author's career to be listed with Nefarious?

Everyday I receive emails to participate in pay anthology for artists, and emails to pay to have paintings auctioned off in real auction houses. (Artists do not auction their own paintings. No serious auction house would do that.) It doesn't look good to galleries and art agents when an artist pays for these anthologies because, usually, the quality of the other artworks is rock bottom and they are never taken seriously. I wrote an uncivil rant on my old blog about one of these anthologies where I published the actual email. I think it is my only blog rant.

I understand very well how hard it is to make a name when a creative person is starting out.

Almitra Clay said...

Thank you for this rant, Janet.

On the topic of paying for things that ought to be free, I have seen a few people looking for work as paid beta readers. Personally I would prefer the tit-for-tat route of swapping a beta-read for a beta-read with another writer. But this rules out, say, having a non-writer teen as a beta for a YA novel. I know beta-reading is a big job and everyone’s time is precious, and I do like the idea of somehow returning the favor . . .but with money? Is that ethical? Should I stick to beta-readers who will work for gratitude and baked goods?

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Good rant. Loins still where they originally started this morning. Even better. Hate the scammers. Especially because they tend to prey on those who can least afford to be duped. Great stuff.

Now who stole my coffee? Seriously, I am going to need it back. Dragging today and it's only Tuesday.

Melissa said...

Another way authors are getting reviews that makes me uncomfortable is the quid pro quo system. I recently had my activity book for kids published. I was sending out review copies to various outdoor parenting blogs when an author friend suggested I send it to her review list. I sent out a few books to her list. What I didn't realize at the time was all the reviewers were also authors.

The first one received her book and posted a five-star review on Amazon within only a few hours. She emailed me that she'd posted the review and asked me to review her romance on my blog. I have an outdoor blog so that really wasn't a fit for me and it made me uncomfortable as I felt like I'd just bought a review.

I shied away from sending anymore books to this list as I realized they all just gave each other five-star reviews.

Donnaeve said...

Diane, I bet your friend was mad at herself forEVER when it came about she'd been scammed. Yeah, I got better use for 200 smackeroos too! BOOTS!

Grace Wen - oh my word. I didn't know that. Thanks for answering the question! I'm going to be trade published, so that means a marketer w/publisher will work it out, but I still like to know these things, b/c you never know who might contact you and if some email dropped into my inbox from Kirkus (the questionable one) and I didn't know this? I'd have thought it legit.

Amy S - as long as your "chronic crankiness" doesn't result in "resting bitch face," you're good to go. :)

Timothy Lowe said...

When I win powerball tomorrow, I'm going to pay people 100.00 apiece to read my book. It might help it become a bestseller.

Colin Smith said...

Almitra: I think Melissa just hit on why we're suspicious of paying for reviews. When you pay for something, there's an inherent expectation of a positive result. Would you pay someone to tell the world your novel sucks? If you've just parted with $200 for a review, you'd be disappointed if that review appeared on Amazon with one star and disparaging comments on your writing ability. Even if those comments are true. If there are no strings attached to the review, the reviewer is free to be honest, and if you don't like what they say, the only hit is to your ego. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. :)

Theresa said...

Stellar advice.

Laura Mary said...

"The purpose of a book review is not to get a review. It's to use that review to get attention from readers."

This makes a lot of sense to me as a reader - I hardly ever read reviews, but buy so many books on recommendation!
An author friend of mine sometimes reviews other YA books on her blog, and whilst I don't often read the review, I trust that if she is gushing over a book, chances are high I'll like it too.
As mentioned in a few comments above - who is your source? I imagine who is doing the reviewing is as important as the review itself in terms of credibility.

Almitra Clay said...

Hmm, yes, thanks Colin. You've given me more to think on.

Dena Pawling said...


Love the rant!

>>”This practice is a vile and morally bankrupt way to make money.”

So nice to read this sentence and have it NOT be referencing attorneys =)

I review books on my blog sometimes. I don't make them look like normal reviews, partly because I like the way I do them and partly because I don't want to encourage people to ask me for reviews [she says, as if one day she'll be in demand]. If I like the book, I'll write a review. If I don't, I won't.

Almitra – here's how I found one of my beta readers. I reserved Donald Maass Writing the Breakout Novel at my library. I went to pick it up when it was available, and the check-out lady commented.

Library lady: So, you're writing a book?

Me: Yes. Well, I'm trying.

Library lady: Do you need beta readers? I love reading new books.

Me: Sure. When it's done, I'll let you know.

Library lady: Thanks!

Me: What can I do for you in exchange?

Library lady: Write a good book.

Tez Miller said...

Hi Janet,

What do you think of Romantic Times Book Reviews' "Review Source" (I think Kirkus and Publishers Weekly have their own similar programs), in which if authors pay a set free, they'll get a guaranteed review in the magazine? (Not a guaranteed "positive" review - just an unbiased review.)

I'm not an author, by the way, so I have no stake in this. Just curiosity.

Thanks.

Almitra Clay said...

Dena -- Donald Maass, you say? What a swell guy to write a book that comes with beta readers!

Jenny C said...

I am always adding books to my TBR list because of reviews on Goodreads and mentions from people I follow on Twitter. People want recommendations from their friends, or their virtual friends, or from a publication they respect - PW, Kirkus, the NYT Book Review, bloggers they follow and their local booksellers, among others.

Where would these reviews from this reviewer appear? How would I, as a reader, ever come across them? Would they be one of those reviews on Twitter that are obviously paid and very annoying and that I block?

By the way, Nicholas Petrie's thriller THE DRIFTER goes on sale today and it received a starred review from Kirkus. Check it out! (Unpaid promotion of local author)

Jenny C said...

I had no idea about Kirkus!! I thought it was a legitimate book review publication. People can pay for reviews?

Tez Miller said...

@ Jenny C: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/indie/ I think they still review what publishers send them, but this is how self-published authors get reviewed by Kirkus.

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Melissa,
Quid pro quo reviews.

I'm in a local writer's group who give each other stellar reviews. Some of the authors are very good. One recently sold the film rights to her memoir that's been published in 12 countries. I've done reviews for them and have also refused some.

In the cyber world integrity is one click away from viral.

I know lots of scientists who review papers and grant applications. Before a paper is published or a grant is awarded they are sent out to at least three reviewers. The reviewers are never paid.

QOTKU says a respected reviewer gets quoted. This is where a paid review might be bad publicity for the author. I'm not in the industry so I'm not sure if this is true.

BJ Muntain said...

Wow. 30 comments in 2 hours. I think a nerve has been hit...

Kirkus is a very respected book review magazine, and one that libraries use to choose books to buy. Getting reviewed in Kirkus - and especially if you can get a starred review - means a lot in this business. As in, a lot of sales.

They do have something called Kirkus Indie, which is the only way for a self-published book to get reviewed in their magazine. I know very little about that sideline. I left the library I worked at over a decade before that happened.

As for paying for editors... it's not a bad thing for an author to get their book professionally edited - which does mean paying for it - before submission. When a publisher asks you to pay for the editing the publisher should be doing - major red flag.

Tez's link to Kirkus Indie.

Stephen Kozeniewski said...

In my experience there's no shortcut to getting legitimate reviews.  Aside from hoping that random readers will actually review it, you can solicit reviews from amateur and professional book bloggers, trade magazines, and websites.  And much like going to the query mines you have to seek out reviewers that actually review your genre, reach out and ask if they'd be interested in reading your book, RUN (don't walk) away from the scammers who ask for money, and hope that the ones that responded actually follow through.  Maybe 10% of the reviewers I've solicited have actually come through with a review.  Reviewers can't read every good book offered to them the same way agents can't represent every good book offered to them.  I made a video about what's worked for me.

BJ Muntain said...

As an aside: I smiled when I saw Janet listed Ron Charles as a respected reviewer. I've been following him on Twitter for a long time (I've been on Twitter since 2008; I think I've been following him nearly that long), and I've always found him to be a very level-headed fellow, even when the industry hits a snag and starts running around yelling, "The sky is falling!"

Adib Khorram said...

I once listened to a former Kirkus reviewer interview an author, and they both agreed that Kirkus was "the meanest reviewer," so a Kirkus Star is definitely a coveted thing.

I was a little disappointed when I sauntered over to the Kirkus site and saw that they had the Indie branch, where people paid to have their work reviewed, but also offered editorial and marketing things to indie authors. It kind of rubs me the wrong way that they're doing that.

As regards Beta Readers, I have learned after much toil that the only worthwhile beta readers are those who are writers themselves. Whenever I've given my work to a non-writer, they've been unable to offer any insights to improving the work.

And it's not just that they must be a writer: they must be a writer I click with. I have two great beta readers right now and may be picking up a third soon, depending on how we mesh. I found them all on the Internet and they've made my work much stronger.

Dave Rudden said...

I have two books that I self-published that are getting good reviews and I am always willing to give a digital copy to someone in exchange for an honest review. I am also always on the look out for ways to promote my books, but the number of scams that are out there is insane. Recently I started seeing advertisements for a company that will pay for manuscripts as long as you turn over the rights to them.

There are 4 rules I live by when is comes to self promotion:
1) Never pay for publishing or readings
2) Never pay for reviews
3) Never trust a deal that sounds to good to be true
4) Listen to what the honest reviews are saying about my books

French - I love that joke.

Melissa said...

Angie, I'm not too worried about friends reviewing friends. If you feel their book warrants a good review then by all means review it. It's where the expectation is that you give me a five-star and I give you a five-star. There are author groups where it is quid pro quo and if someone publishes a subpar book, there would still be the expectation that everyone would review it highly.

Mark Ellis said...

Paying for a review: $200-$575
Paying for love: Expensive ;)
Getting a legitimate review that's positive: priceless

InkStainedWench said...

I would imagine a paid review would be about as satisfying as a new friend you make after you win the Powerball.

Lennon Faris said...

Maybe look at it from the reader's point of view? If I ever found out any of my favorite authors ever did this, I would feel betrayed and never buy another book of theirs. It smells corrupt or at best, gullible. I'm sorry, I know your friend prob. had good intentions, but that would still be my impression. Just a thought!

Janice L. Grinyer said...

1. Good writing is what matters most.

2. It takes time, effort and skill to build a career as an Author.

3. Money flows in, not out.

I'm pulling off my asbestos longjohns and enjoying the flames with a few marshmallows. Seems the Shark's advice, when handled correctly, prevents one from being burned...

Donnaeve said...

I do want to say in the history of QOTKU rants, this one wasn't so bad. We didn't see ANY f bombs, or the threat of sending off a ranty-pants email to some unsuspecting boob, only to have the Shark's minions hold off that epic email CHOMP that would surely have sent the UB's head into the stratosphere. And...we didn't even get a picture of an annoyed Husky.

Perhaps there was a bit of Scotch involved prior to writing it. (?) Or, hold on to your underpants! Could QOTKU and her flame throwing Hello Miss Kitty attitude be meeeeelting into a puddle of softness?

I was expecting HEAT, CUSSING, and my display to actually MELT as I read the rant. Okay, there MIGHT have been a tiny poof of smoke. Only - when I breathed out, it was gone.

Colin Smith said...

Donna: "Could QOTKU and her flame throwing Hello Miss Kitty attitude be meeeeelting into a puddle of softness?"

Should I go ahead and send you some Carkoon brochures? FuzzyPrint has some openings since Janet recalled us all... ;)

Kae Ridwyn said...

I breathed a sigh of relief over this rant. Considering that the prospect of it, looming since the WIR, had kept me awake at nights, it was a huge sigh - and huge relief! I'm nowhere near the 'ask for reviews' stage so this is something that, while interesting and definitely bookmarked for future reference, I do NOT have to spend any longer worrying my little-woodland-creature-head about, right now!

Which is good, because editing is about all my head can cope with at the moment. School goes back next week, and I want to get massive amounts done before the workload takes over...

Thanks, QOTKU. What a lovely rant, and extremely useful, as ever. Happy writing, everyone!

Kae Ridwyn said...

Oh, and @DenaPawling - that's a lovely story! I wonder where I can get a Library Lady like that? :)

Donnaeve said...

"Should I go ahead and send you some Carkoon brochures? FuzzyPrint has some openings since Janet recalled us all... ;)"

Well, of COURSE I'm going to say no, b/c I don't think that was Carkoon worthy - as in I didn't suggest to QOTKU any additional WORK.

I'm a little crazy at times - not THAT crazy. ;)

CynthiaMc said...

Sometimes it's a blessing not to have a lot of extra money to throw around.

Just had to replace my alternator today. Fortunately hubby is still off so he was able to ferry me back and forth to the mechanic. I did not get stranded. The car was still running off of the battery we replaced not that long ago.

Me: Sugar Bear, should I be worried about this red battery light?

Hubby: Don't turn it off until you get to work.

I think I need to make my writing pay before something else breaks.

xnye said...

What's wrong with resting bitch face, I thought that would give me a leg up as a writer, no?

BJ Muntain said...

xnye: Only if you write really serious literary novels. Which you might; if that's the case, go for it.

...says the person who never takes anything seriously, yet whose passport photo is all >>>:-| (I told the woman that I wasn't angry, really, and she just laughed.)

Audrey Shaffer said...

I do read reviews, but only from selected reviewers. When I run across a book on amazon, I usually read the 1 and 2 star reviews. I don't really trust 4 and 5 star reviews there.

I used to do some reviews, but don't have the time anymore. Now I write the rare review when I find a book that I just HAVE to tell everyone about. :)

kdjames.com said...

That's good to know about Kirkus. For some reason, I thought all their reviews were paid for, even though I knew they had a reputation for being a bit harsh.

Some of the questions over here surprise me, like this one. This person knows enough to send a question to Janet, which I assume means they read her blog, but doesn't know not to pay for reviews? These scammers must be very persuasive.

And I agree with Donnaeve, this wasn't so much a rant as it was a stern talking-to. ;)

DeadSpiderEye said...

The world of creative endeavour, while it may not be rank with it, is permeated with favour. I suspect this is an aspect of reality most of us are aware of, yet the paradox within this circumstance, means that it's difficult to openly admit that truth. This situation provides a fertile environment for those looking to exploit folk who, maybe through naivety, or possibly just desperation, are looking for that easily acquired favour to get a leg up. As far as I'm aware, no one will make you star for the price of a meal in an overpriced restaurant. let's face it, it couldn't work that way could it, because that price is within reach of everyone and if everyone could afford it, there wouldn't be any purpose to it.

I know that's a cynical view, so to offer some balance I will state that playing the favour game isn't a prerequisite for success, unfortunately that's where hard work and applying your talents come in. Oops, I better get back to stacking those shelves then.

Her Grace, the Duchess of Kneale said...

Nice rant. I love it.

As an author, I understand the desperation for reviews. The more reviews a book has, the more likely a reader will know what they're getting... assuming the reviews are legitimate.

I'd love my stuff to have more reviews. But I won't pay for them.

I don't trust paid reviews. Likewise, I don't trust reviews from the Mutual Admiration Society. And yes, I can spot a MAS review. They tend to come in batches and they don't ring true (even experiential true).

Because I value (and crave) honest reviews of my own works, I will give honest reviews to others. I review most every book I read--indie, commercial, library, ARC. And I will be honest. An honest three-star (or even one-star) review will ultimately benefit the author more than a dishonest five-star. I will give a review the way I'd give a crit in a workshop; I'll say what worked and what didn't.

Some day the universe will pay me back.

I figure if more genuine readers left reviews on sites like Amazon, Kobo or Goodreads, there wouldn't be such a ripe field for scam reviewers to harvest.

Mona Zarka said...

I've been thinking about this on and off all day. It's one (very bad) thing to pay someone, anyone, to give your book a 5-star positive review, regardless what they actually think. It's another thing, in my humble uneducated opinion, to pay a professional book reviewer for his services without control over the outcome (if he's an honest reviewer, and I understand that's a big IF in this case). This is just how marketing works (like Superbowl advertising). Aren't book reviews the way a reviewer makes a living? How does a well-established reviewer choose which books to review?

Or is the fundamental issue actually drawing the line between marketing and reviewing? You pay for marketing. You don't pay for reviews. But providing a blogger with an ARC is both marketing and a way to get reviews. Imagine my eyes spinning in different directions, and little birds flying circles around my head.

Am I thinking too much about this?

Honestly wondering. (And hoping not to be banished to Carkoon so soon!)

John Frain said...

I knew I'd be late to the rant because my Tuesdays suck, but it was worth the wait.

I like that the Queen sums this rant up pretty simply:

"Here's the rule: Don't pay for reviews."

Even after a long day, I get it. Thanks. Now I have to get to a point where I need this advice! Keep moving forward...

John Frain said...

Hey,

Did everyone else who posted here today get a greeting from the good folks (cough, cough) at GathaEditor? So tempting. Not!

DLM said...

John, I didn't but yeah, there is a redolence of spam.

BJ Muntain said...

KD James: This person might know enough to ask Janet this question, but her friend obviously doesn't. And when a friend figures they know what they're doing, you want to have an experienced, knowledgeable resource to back you up before you tell them they're wrong.

Mona - The way to be banished to Carkoon is to ask Ms Reid to do MORE work. She doesn't mind answering questions, and woodland-creature-worthy questions might get a funny look if she puts it into a blog post, but that's not a Carkoon-worthy offense.

But all the work she puts into this blog, on top of all the work she does for her clients, is a lot of work that we are all very grateful for. Asking her to do more than that is what puts you on Carkoon.

Mona Zarka said...

BJ - Thanks. This little woodland creature is grateful for the reassurance :)

Dotti said...

I know indie authors who've paid the $450 fee to Kirkus for a review. And, of course, Amazon lets those reviews (good or bad) stand, while taking down other reviews they assume were paid for or bartered.

tell me later said...

And when you add in all the genuine reviewers who have stopped reviewing entirely or become more selective in the books they review because of those bad-apple authors who think it's okay to stalk and harass critics...

Don't pay for reviews. Support genuine reviewers.

[Gets off soapbox]

Panda in Chief said...

I never wanted to pay for reviews because
A) I'm cheap
and
B) I'm cheap.

Good to know that it's also a very bad idea.
Huzzah!

kdjames.com said...

BJ, yeah, I know. And I wasn't trying to imply this was a dumb question (it wasn't), it just surprised me. Then again, I'm sure more experienced people roll their eyes at me all the time for stuff I don't know. Always better to ask when unsure.

BJ Muntain said...

KD - I've been in the position so often where someone will say something totally wrong about the publishing world because they heard it from someone who has an agent, or they found it on the website of a friend, or something. And if I try to tell them they're wrong, they look at me as though I know nothing.

So that's where I assumed the OP was - trying to find proof that they're right and their friend is wrong. Or maybe they lack confidence in what they know, so want to make sure by checking in with someone who really does know.

Isn't it wonderful that Janet's here, and so willing to share her knowledge and advice? And even from the most naive questions, I learn more about the publishing world and how to navigate it.