Monday, August 27, 2012

On Reviews

There's been a lot of chatter in the past day around an article in The New York Times which talks about authors buying reviews for their books. The title of the article, "The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy" rather neatly sums things up. There are any number of depressing quotes one could pull from this article. Among them:
  • One author estimates having spent $20,000 on review services in an attempt to "make the difficult leap ... to 'being a recognized author'"
  • One paid reviewer said that for 50-word reviews "she could find 'enough information on the Internet so that I didn’t need to read anything, really'"
  • Robert Locke, one of the first widely-touted e-book self-publishing success stories, bought reviews and while he doesn't credit them with a large portion of his success he does say: "it’s a lot easier to buy [reviews] than cultivating an audience."
And on. And on.
Reviews obviously come from any number of perspectives, motivations, etc. Many are undoubtedly completely honest. Others come from someone with an axe to grind or other motivations. And maybe I should have expected there to be a cottage industry of people who would supply reviews to people anxious to get a boost in the appearance of their work's credibility. But I didn't think it was as widespread as it apparently is.

So. A pledge to my readers. I will not buy reviews, now or in the future. If you see a review for something I've written, then you don't need to wonder if it was a purchased opinion.

1 comment:

  1. I was really surprised when I heard about that article (blame it on naivete, I guess), but you're right--probably should have expected it in this day and age. Everything's for sale! It's tough to hear things like, especially from the mouths of successful authors, but it is what it is, I suppose.

    I'll echo your pledge though! I don't think reviews garner as many sales as some people seem to think anyway.