August 27, 2012
Wow! Wow! It’s been one of those weekends when you discover some not so surprising yet still are shocked and saddened about some of the things that go on in this business of publishing.
On August 26, New York Times posted this article, The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy which discusses how Todd Rutherford started a very, very lucrative “business” that for a fee – $99 (1 review) , $499 (20 reviews), $999 (50 reviews) –he would get you positive reviews for your book. The article states “Before he knew it, he was taking in $28,000 a month.” The article goes on to name a certain very successful self-published author who used his service.
Now the very notion of buying reviews leaves most of us squirming in our seats. It reeks of something very underhanded and deceptive. Most of us in some shape or form, depend or at the very least, consider reviews when shopping not just for books, but for all sorts of product. The notion of someone buying good reviews for a product that may or may not live up to the consumers expectations is unconscionable, IMO, even if the end result is the consumer being satisfied with what they bought.
But Mr. Rutherford isn’t the first and certainly won’t be last of businesses receiving money for good reviews. Even though others may not be as forthcoming with their rates and the transactions are in form of advertising dollars etc, I’m sure there’s more of it going on than we’ll ever be able to prove. BTW, Mr. Rutherford’s business was a short-lived endeavor, but he’s got ideas and I’m sure we’ll be hearing about him again.
So speaking of reviews, a brouhaha erupted this past week of which I had no inkling of until my sister informed yesterday in the form of a tweet (It was a very, very productive writing weekend and when I’m writing, I don’t stay on top of publishing goings on). Getting back to the brouhaha, it also had to do with reviews and an author’s response to a negative review. Now this issue has been talked about pretty much to death on various blogs, Facebook and Twitter so that’s not what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about fans and how you would react if you discovered your beloved author had done something pretty bad, something that didn’t sit well with you, something that showed a side of them you couldn’t get on board with.
Could an author’s personal behavior cause you to stop purchasing their books? And if so, what kind of things would they have to do?