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Reviews > Paying for reviews

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message 1: by Robin (new)

Robin (robinsullivan) | 71 comments Mod
I ran across a GR author recently who was showing me how good her review(s) were. When I looked it was a Kirkus Discoveries review (paid) not a Kirkus review. Not that I could afford the $400 - $550 they charge - I think it is just plain wrong to "buy" a review. How do others feel?

message 2: by Alan (new)

Alan Baxter | 62 comments Never, never, never pay for a review. If you pay and get a bad review you feel cheated - if you pay and get a good review, you just bought it.

No reputable reviewer/review site will ever charge. That's one of the reasons reviewers are so selective about what they'll look at. I've spent a lot of time finding reviews for my books, but they're all honest, unbiased reviews and I never paid a cent for them.

message 3: by Jim (new)

Jim Cherry (jymwrite) Actually, there are so many venues to find reviews you don't need to pay for reviews beyond the price of a book and your presskit. I was shocked when I learned of Kirkus' "program," what kind of program is that except to use their reputation to fleece writers & puts in question their future integrity.

message 4: by Robin (new)

Robin (robinsullivan) | 71 comments Mod
Jim wrote: "Actually, there are so many venues to find reviews you don't need to pay for reviews beyond the price of a book and your presskit. I was shocked when I learned of Kirkus' "program," what kind of pr..."

Yep I agree wholeheartidly

message 5: by Leslie Ann (new)

Leslie Ann (leslieann) | 48 comments Wow!! Why would an outfit like Kirkus tarnish their reputation by starting a paid review program? That doesn't make sense. This is affiliated with the Kirkus?

message 6: by Jim (new)

Jim Cherry (jymwrite) Yes. The Kirkus.

message 7: by Alan (new)

Alan Baxter | 62 comments Getting reviews in advance and paying for reviews are two very different things. Even advance reviews shouldn't be paid for.

message 8: by Alan (new)

Alan Baxter | 62 comments Getting people to give you favourable reviews is one thing. Everyone's mates and their mum are happy to review you and these things are recognised. People at amazon know who the unbiased reviewers are more often than not. Regardless, they're taken for what they are.

That's still different to paying for a review. Apart from buying a good review, which most people will see through, you're being personally ripped off. You don't just avoid paid reviews because they're no good for your book - they're no good for your pocket either. And god knows, our pockets as authors are shallow enough!

message 9: by Robin (new)

Robin (robinsullivan) | 71 comments Mod
I remember looking into a book by a fellow author and saw a nice review by someone called Geri Ahern. Since our books were similar I was going to contact Geri about reviewing my husband’s book The Crown Conspiracy. When I googled her I found a blog where she reviews book – which was great until I saw that she charges a fee – Grrrr I just lost all respect for the author and now doubt the quality of the book.

It might be a good book and Geri might be a good reviewer but there is no recalling that impression that the review can't be trusted.

message 10: by Alan (new)

Alan Baxter | 62 comments ^ Perfect example.

message 11: by Phyllis (new)

Phyllis Twombly (ScifiAliens) | 47 comments These days it's just not enough to be an author, is it? The self-published author has to do his or her own marketing and publicity while the traditionally published author might not be aware that traditional publishers will do very little of it.
However, reviewers get their credibility from being paid by someone other than the author; vested interest and all that. It should only 'cost' the author the price of a copy of the book and postage. Ironically, a review the author paid for is deemed of less worth thereby adding credibility to the actual cost.
Review: $400-$600
Loss of Credibility: Priceless

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm new to writing. In fact, my first book was just published in January. I've been looking at ways to publicize my book and splitting my time between working, family and trying to get my book noticed. I'm in the process of looking for reviewers and have found a few thanks to some great posts and discussions on Goodreads.

While doing my research, I also came across pay for review sites and there is just something that does not feel right about paying for a review. I don't know enough about the business to comment based on experience, but my gut feeling just urged me to keep looking.

As if it isn't enough we have to make names for ourselves in the industry, but we also need to navigate around pitfalls such as these. But I'm learning as I go and I truly enjoy the persuit!

message 13: by Robin (new)

Robin (robinsullivan) | 71 comments Mod
There certainly is a lot to learn Carl - I've been blogging on "business" pitfalls at: you might want to watch it for some good tips.

message 14: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 25 comments At the risk (wry grin) of being lambasted - here are some facts:

Money always flows toward the author. Paying for reviews - someone's getting rich off your dreams, and laughing all the way to the bank. If you are paying "fees" for genunie copy-editing or proofing, or some actual aspect of production, this is a SERVICE, and not at all the same thing as a "fee" to "get your work seen" or get your work "published."

Distribution is the key to sales, not reviews on Amazon. To find your book on Amazon, someone has to have heard of you, first. Your book being seen, your name associated with it means far more than a review. A well read and respected blog with reviews would be the exception.

To get distribution - the bare truth is, it is EASIER today for a new author to break in. Publishers are cost cutting. They want to grab new talent - cheap. Every editor's dream is to bring in the next star - and in today's very tight market, it's more likely a middling writer will get dumped in favor of a NEW author - the key being, you'd better perform at the gate.

An agent is needed to submit - no. A submission must be SOLICITED. A well written query, thoughtfully done, will gain response where the editor Wants to see your story. What is thoughtfully done? RESEARCH THE EDITOR AND THE PUBLISHER'S LINE: know who they are, what they produce, and why, and when you write your query letter, HAVE DONE YOUR HOMEWORK. If you tell the editor, "I know you acquired this, this, and that title, and here is EXACTLY why you'd like my book, will you take a look?" - they will look. You've bothered to go the second mile and know them, first. Be sure your reasons are well founded.

"Somebody knew somebody" - how did that happen? Simply, the author to be traveled to a VENUE where those somebody's were speaking/giving a workshop/presenting a panel - there are such venues all over the country - bit and small. There are also a SCANT FEW reliable writer's workshops, done by writers, with a RESPECTED REPUTATION for teaching fiction technique with the clear aim of breaking in. Odyssey and Clarion come to mind. The list is short for a reason.

Conventions such as World Fantasy or DragonCon always have tracks with writers and editors helping with advice for newcomers. This is not the little local con where no editor ever shows up.

Read the blog posts on Miss Snark - they are sarcastic and funny, but extremely informative.

Read the site Predators and Editors.
Read the page for Writer Beware at the SFWA page.

I put more detail on a blog on my author's page at Redroom. Many writer's pages also have TIPS on their websites - it's sound, free information - check out your favorite authors and see what they have to say.

Please don't presume I am "against" people who choose to produce their work themselves. This post is for the purposes of discernment, not for urging anyone not to follow their own preferences. Make your decision, but by all means, do that based on sound INFORMATION.

There is, sadly, and army of scammers out to rip you off, and too many glitzy ads designed to lead aspirants in directions that are badly misleading, costly, and also, too many sites where people totally bitter and ignorant about the realities of the field post up stuff as if they are "experts" - they aren't a bit "expert" - just blowhards trying to pull you (the crab) back into their bucket of self-pity.

There is an enormous amount of big corporate shifting going on today, and a new order is sifting out with alot of angst and difficulty - I'll not deny that. I'm not here to argue the merits of how to navigate that morass for your work and your efforts - but (in case I can be of help) to offer information based on a few years (wry grin) of experience.

message 15: by Alan (new)

Alan Baxter | 62 comments Great post, Janny.

message 16: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 25 comments Alan wrote: "Great post, Janny.


Alan, you're welcome.

message 17: by James (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 2 comments Alan wrote: "Great post, Janny."


Now, for what it's worth from a "small-time" reviewer:

I write occasional book reviews for the Kankakee Journal (a six-day a week newspaper that covers - more or less - a six-county area south of Chicago). The paper doesn't reach millions of readers, more like around 30 to 40 thousand; and I'd be surprised if half take the time to actually read my reviews unless the book's cover art or the review headline draws them in. The newspaper doesn't pay me for my reviews, nor do the authors or their publishers (unless you count the fact that I get to keep the books I review).

Now that may sound like a bit like I'm complaining, but I'm really not. I do reviews because I like to read anyway, so why not help out other readers in choosing what to spend their time with?

How's that valid in this discussion? Well, it really isn't until you look at the big picture. Let's say, for instance, an author turns loose 50 review copies to reviewers like me, then those reviews for his book reach roughly one and a quarter million newspaper readers (maybe more). If one in five thousand (okay, yes, I'm sure that is a quite optimistic best-case scenario) subsequently purchase a book based on those reviews, that's about 1250 books sold with the added potential benefit of "word-of-mouth" publicity accounting for a few more sales.

Then there's the likelihood that some of those reviewers also blog or post reviews on the Internet, as well...

My suggestion would be to just be careful how and who as you select your reviewers. Reviewers can be just as important in the post-publishing phase as your editor or proofreader are before your book hits the presses.

message 18: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 25 comments Jim wrote: "Alan wrote: "Great post, Janny."


Now, for what it's worth from a "small-time" reviewer:

I write occasional book reviews for the Kankakee Journal (a six-day a week newspaper that co..."

Jim - it's nice to see your insider's perspective, here, and surely no one in their right mind would denigrate an honest reviewer working for a newspaper, who chooses the material they want to write up, without solicitation enhanced by - let's call a spade a spade - bribery. I applaud your efforts and your integrity.

As an interesting viewpoint (not one bit to denigrate Jim, but to look at a controversial angle) - I just finished reading two books on the high finance end of the fine art world - The $12 Million Stuffed Shark The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art and also Seven Days in the Art World. If you want your mind totally blown - about what makes what happen in the big leagues - it's more about blitz style snake oil salesmanship and chutzpah than anything else. Both books, alike, contended that reviewers had nothing to do with the critical part of the equation.

What people buy or pick up to look at, what creates word of mouth - these books unveil a lot of myths. A lot has to do with image, both on the part of the buyer and the seller. This has everything to do with reassurance of acceptance, to coax (or hoax???) the buyer's commitment.

What has this to do with books? The psychology would have some marked similarities.

It's a fact that like attracts like - that birds of a feather, etc...If a blog slams a book, what they attract, mostly, is comments along the same lines. It takes a courageous poster to "turn" against the prevailing pack. Many won't. Most don't. If a person stands up and presents a contrary opinion, many times discussion slams to a halt. This is why advertising works. People want to agree. It's not "safe" to disagree when the prevailing opinion runs against (or for) the title in question.

Reviews seek to influence an opinion.
They affect readers who seek to be influenced.

Then who reads a review before buying the book? That would be someone, I'd suggest, who is afraid to venture into the unknown, who wants somebody else's take to reassure them, ahead of the game. If comparisons are drawn to a title they already find acceptable, they might notice a book they want to read. I wonder how many of the people here (let's check?) bought a book (or didn't) because of a review? How open are readers to being influenced, when they are an audience of one?

An author I know ran a poll, once - and 90 percent of people pick up a book by an unknown because of word of mouth from a friend, and the signal phrase there, was, "a friend whose opinion I trust." You would run with the pack where you feel secure.

A review does indeed provide name recognition - the book, encountered later, might then be noticed as "familiar." Reviews in the library journals, yes, do affect purchases by librarians.

But to take a review seriously, this requires context - the value lies in knowing whether the reviewer's taste and comprehension of that particular title follow your own inclinations. Is that reviewer part of your comfort zone crowd, or not.

This, immediately, kills the concept of a "prepaid" review campaign. The determining factor would not be the book, but the purchase of advertised content.

Which is why I suggested such a practice borders upon scamming to rip off your money. The innate honesty of reviewers like Jim is thrown over, and the value returned to the author - exaggerated beyond measure. You can't insinuate a paid review into Library Journal - and probably, papers who publish reviews like Jim's would be unlikely to carry the article.

To get name recognition, there are surer routes, better ways, a lot of them free of cost.

message 19: by James (new)

James (james_k_bowers) | 2 comments Exactly.

Which is, perhaps, why I mostly ignore reviews in publications that reach large audiences. If reviews are of any use, I believe they are ones targeting slightly smaller audiences where there might be some chance that word of mouth has already done the preliminary task of "selling the reviewer".

"I wonder how many of the people here (let's check?) bought a book (or didn't) because of a review? How open are readers to being influenced, when they are an audience of one?" This is a tough question, Janny. So, since we're narrowing this to an individual level: I've let reviews influence me to purchase.

The key? If a book gets largely glowing reviews (and it fits in a genre I enjoy), I will try to get my hands on a copy to see if the reviewers are correct vs. my own opinion. On the other hand, If a book gets largely scathing reviews (and it fits in a genre I enjoy), I will try to get my hands on a copy to see if the reviewers are correct vs. my own opinion. That's right... I want a book that is more likely to cause me to HAVE an opinion. It's the books that appear in that "no man's land" of it-was-okay reviews that I tend to skip (but, perhaps, try later).

I don't want a synopsis; I don't want hype blurbs... I want a review that says the book is recommended or not, (the why is always a plus). I MUST know only one thing: Is this book worth my time? It must appear to be worth my time simply as a pleasurable read, or as another (occasionally painful) installment of my continuing education as a reader/reviewer/writer.

Janny mentions that "reviewers had nothing to do with the critical part of the equation". Well, true. But, while we're sort of poking around the fringes of this paid vs. free concept, let me suggest my opinion of the very best places for an author to put his/her money (outside of purchased marketing). (1) Don't skimp on a good editor (he'll help you avoid some of those bad reviews); (2) though this next is an unlikely event, if you DO have any control at all over the cover artwork, don't for a moment think that it doesn't really matter; and (3) HARD WORK and what cash you can spend for good effect AT SELF-PROMOTION (Hey, after all, who knows more about you and your book than you?).

As a side-note to point (3) in the previous paragraph, it's important to remember that most authors don't bite. I've met and spoke with Neil Gaiman and Jody Lynn Nye, each of them exceptional both as authors and as "real people". I knew them first through their work as authors, then only later discovering that they were pleasantly human. From my brief recent contact with Janny Wurts through Goodreads, I have no doubt that she easily fits in the same "exceptional author" and "exceptional real people" categories, although in this case I'm both pleased and honored to "meet" the human before the author. Anyway, I guess what's important to mention is that any author who deprives his/her fans of an opportunity to discover a little about "the non-author human" is probably not doing enough of that aforementioned self-promotion.

In my own experience as a book buyer, if you happen to spot me at the book store here's the process:
(1) You will think he's going to spend most of his time haunting his favorite SF/Fantasy/Paranormal/Horror area of the store. Think again. However, it IS an area never ignored during any visit that isn't a quick stop to buy (40-ish) "baby sister" yet another cookbook for her birthday.
(2) Eventually, he wanders into the SF&F section. Now he's going to choose by "genre" or "favorite author(s)" or "title" or some other predictable means. Not so. So, what does attract him like a moth to flame? EYE CANDY. Cover art. It's what prompts him to pick the book up for that critical "decision moment". It's what gets him to read the blurbs and a GOOD description (as opposed to "Famous Author Bob says this stuff's a hoot!") of what he's holding in his hand. If you've got him ensorcelled now, while he's got that warm puppy in his hands, he'll buy it. If you don't snag him immediately, you'll have to rely on the reviewers, bloggers, and other sundry influencers of the masses to prod him to take another look some other time.
(3) And, let's not forget the wonderful state of our economy these days.... is there enough in the wallet, checking account, and/or (why in the world pay 25% interest?) on the credit card to support this guy's addiction to the written word? I don't know about everyone who might read this, but I do know I'M on a limited budget. So, sometimes I have to make some really difficult choices when it comes to new books (which are the ones the authors really want to sell - I've often thought if I ever win the lottery, I'm gonna figure out which books I bought at secondhand book stores and write out checks to all those authors.) Increasingly, these cash-conscious individuals are the sort of people who CAN be influenced by reviewers and other creatures of the netherhells, simply because they NEED to know where to "invest" their hard-earned, overburdened greenbacks -- Little Timmy Average doesn't want to waste his money on the latest truly sucky novel.

God, I love this discussion. Maybe I should've taken time to organize all of these thoughts a little better, but I rather like the feel my ramble has... sorta like a combined economics/sociology/psych course gone awry.... :P

message 20: by Paul (new)

Paul West (firstcauseproject) | 29 comments First of all, this has been a helpful discussion; thanks everyone! :) anyone on here presently accepting requests to review new books?

message 21: by S.M. (new)

S.M. Carrière (smcarriere) This is a great discussion.

To answer the initial question, paid reviews will always make me think less of the material it has reviewed. There is a sense that if the review was a good one, then it must have been bought, whether or not the reviewer was being perfectly honest.

I tend not to pay too much attention to the reviews, honestly, but I am immediately turned off material if I think that any review was paid for.

It can be death for a book.

message 22: by D.B. (new)

D.B. Pacini (DBPacini) Robin,

I've posted about this issue before and I have a blog about it in my Goodreads blog. My advice to all authors: NEVER EVER PAY FOR A REVIEW.


D.B. Pacini

message 23: by Kevis (last edited Aug 29, 2009 03:58PM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 71 comments Paul wrote: "First of all, this has been a helpful discussion; thanks everyone! :) anyone on here presently accepting requests to review new books?"


I regularly review books for other authors so long as the author knows ahead of time that my review will be honest and critical if need be. However, I make it a strict rule never to post a review if I cannot give the book at least 3 stars. The only exception is for a book that was not submitted to me by an author or if the author wants me to post my negative review. It does no one any good to give a rave review to a book that doesn't deserve it. In fact, it only undermine's the author's integrity.

One of the reasons why I make certain that the author knows my review process, is because I like to give the author as much exposure as possible and post my reviews at a number of sites including this one.

message 24: by D.B. (new)

D.B. Pacini (DBPacini) Paul, Please visit my Goodreads blog and read the posting titled: Reviewing Book Reviewers. It will fully share with you why I am with Kevis regarding not posting low star reviews.



message 25: by Paul (new)

Paul West (firstcauseproject) | 29 comments Hey Kevis and D.B.,

I haven't read your blog yet, D.B., but I fully understand. While I believe there's value in reading a negative or critical review about one's work, I also think it can be detrimental and/or discouraging to have it posted--at least until the author's had a chance to read it.

Kevis, I'll check out your page in a bit; thanks for your replies, guys!

message 26: by Hugh (new)

Hugh Howey (hughhowey) | 4 comments As both an author AND a reviewer, I have conflicting feelings about this topic. It's difficult for authors to appreciate how many books we get a week, all asking for a review. One of the best ways to determine who REALLY believes in their work's worth is to charge a reading fee. I've never personally done this, but Publisher's Weekly and Kirkus both do, and both are reputable.

Getting a review is difficult for a small-time author. There are too many top-shelf books coming through the pipeline to drop what we're doing for a new author, or someone that is using a POD service. For these authors, amateur reviews are best. Having your readers review your work on Amazon is about all you can hope for.

The spread of blogs is slowly changing this, as many small-time reviewers are so excited to have contact with an author, even if they are self-published, that they will review anything.

This is just my two cents as a reviewer. As an author, I feel the pain, but I also have a bit of knowledge for what it takes to get a good review. Establishing contact, respecting the reviewer's time, selling them on the book before they ever hold it, these tactics are necessary and easiest to learn by being on the other side.

message 27: by Jim (new)

Jim Cherry (jymwrite) The "if you really believe in yourself" line is kind of hackneyed, and usually good at seperating writers from their money. You can believe in yourself and still risk without being seperated from your money. & Kirkus and Publisher's Weekly are doing it to take advantage of this new generation of writers who have self-publish. Someday their reputations may suffer for this pay for play attitude.

There are plenty of places online you get reviews you have to look around.

message 28: by Hugh (new)

Hugh Howey (hughhowey) | 4 comments I think Kirkus and PW do a great job of distinguishing solicited reviews from non. They both have a great reputation for fairness and they return the reviews prior to listing, allowing authors to decline the publication of poor reviews.

There's a problem here of supply and demand. Demand for quality and trusted reviewers is extremely high and the supply is dreadfully low. Most reviewers dabble for a year or so before moving on to something else. I know quite a few that do it just for the ARCs and steady supply of free books. I don't see how that is different in kind, just quality.

message 29: by Kate (new)

Kate Jonez (katejonez) I was really surprised to learn that PW has paid reviews. I was recently impressed to see that a writer I follow was reviewed in PW. What I had considered a giant leap forward in his career now seems tarnished.

message 30: by Elena Dorothy (new)

Elena Dorothy (elenadb) | 1 comments Hi, everyone. My novel The Gatekeeper's Realm is listed as number 14 in the Grab A Reader Contest in Lost in a Good Book with the Writers and Readers of Distinctive Fiction (WRDF)

I would greatly appreciate any and all votes for my novel. Actually, I really would like to win one contest before I leave this planet if that is in the stars. :-)!

message 31: by Chaeya (new)

Chaeya | 44 comments I like honest reviews. If I'm paying, I'd think they'd only report the positive and then it becomes nothing more than an advertisement. I'd like to hear from someone who has read the book and I get a yay or nay then why they felt the way they do. It does an author a disservice just to get all high marks because it misleads the public and then you really get blasted. I'd rather put that $500 in a good ad somewhere.

message 32: by Tod (new)

Tod Langley (TodLangley) | 74 comments Janny, Jim, Hugh and Kevis - thanks for the honest perspectives.

I learned a great deal in just one thread. Some of it was informative, some very helpful and some ... unfortunately, discouraging. And through this mini-sob comment, I've learned a little more about what I need to do.

I won't pay for reviews ... that was obvious to me before participating in this discussion.

I recently read a Kirkus review on the back cover of a book in my genre and immediately wondered if this was a "paid for" review or an "honest" review. It DID influence my personal decision (but only by 50%...the other 50% was due to the back cover description; I simply wasn't pulled into the story).

However, one of the comments about the possibility of getting quality reviews when you are a new/POD writer is a realistic but dismal look at the current state of affairs. Perhaps I was too impatient. Perhaps I was tired of tweaking query letters for agents that simply "weren't focused on that type of story". Whatever the case, I felt I had a great story and wasn't going to wait one to two more years to find the right agent and publisher.

Reviews are an integral part of establishing credibility ... my struggle is how (as a self-published writer) to focus limited resources on those things that will give me the best chance of spreading quality information/recommedations about my book.

I found Jim's perspective on regional reviewers helpful in my situation and had not considered it before. Thanks, Jim, I'll give that a try.

Thanks again...this is a great forum/discussion.


message 33: by Abramelin (last edited Oct 05, 2009 01:03PM) (new)

Abramelin Poetry (abramelinjournal) | 1 comments the cottage industry around writing is perhaps the most disgusting as writers are perhaps the most desperate in the artistic field - though i'm sure many painters and musicians would disagree. i feel you should never pay for publishing in any way. i've come to feel that even poetry chap contests are bogus, though the fees are small.

message 34: by Chaeya (new)

Chaeya | 44 comments Paying for publishing and paying for reviews are two different birds. Just because a writer pays for publishing such as POD doesn't mean they are desperate. Some writers just don't fit the run of the mill standard NY print criteria. A writer could have the best story in the world, but if the agent or publisher garners no feeling or has any evidence that the story would pay off, they won't take it. Self published authors are beginning to get more respect. Oprah picked a few self-published books for her book club last year. Also, some of us just don't want to go through the bullshit (sorry no nicer way to put it) of querying someone about our story. I've been in the music industry for over 20 years and the people I saw who made it did it because (a) they just happened to meet the right person; (b) they knew someone; (c) they elbowed their way there through unethical means. There's a huge luck factor in there. There's nothing wrong with a writer marketing themselves, it's HOW they do it. Many of them do come off like they're tripping over their tongues, but a number of them have been pretty good.

Yes, many writing contests are bogus, BUT there are some which have helped authors get some attention, so I wouldn't write them off entirely. Poetry I don't know.

message 35: by Gary (new)

Gary Tenuta (code9) | 15 comments I can back up Chaeya's comments regarding the music industry! Man, the doors into that industry are not just tightly closed, some of them are practically nailed shut and guarded by attack dogs. LOL. But back to books....

With regard to paying for publishing, I don't see a lot of advantage in going through the endless hoops required to land a publishing contract with a traditional publisher. A new author could (and probably would) spend years trying to get something published that way. What's the point, really? Even if you do get a contract from a traditional publisher it could still be another year before the book actually gets published. And then what? As a new author you're still going to be saddled with having to do most of the promotion yourself. The only difference of any significance that I can see is that a traditional publisher can probably get your book into the bookstores more easily than if you self-publish. But even then it's not likely that your book is going to get displayed on a front-of-the-store table with a big poster promoting your book. It will more likely just get stuck on a shelf gathering dust with all the others. Again, what's the point? These days "indie" musicians and "indie" film makers are what's happening. "Indie" authors are the new wave in this marketing revolution. Yes, the marketing and promotion is a time-consuming task but it can pay off if you're 100% dedicated to that task. For example, the Kindle version of my POD novel, The Ezekiel Code, just reached "best seller" status on amazon in two different categories, "Occult" and "Religious Fiction". This, in turn, boosted my paperback sales into a best-seller status in the "Occult" category as well. Okay, so it's not exactly the same as being a NY Times best seller but if I'd waited years to get published by a traditional publisher it's not likely that as a new author I'd find my book on the NY Times best seller list anyway. Again, when it comes to going through all the BS of trying to land a traditional publishing contract, I have to ask: What's the point? Go Indies!

message 36: by Anna (new)

Anna Walls (annalwalls) I don't have the money to shell out for reviews. Besides, if I'm going to hire someone to review my book, I might as well write it for them too. After all, I want the review to be a good one don't I? No, I'd much rather have an honest review. Only through honesty can my writing or storytelling improve.

Gary, I'm not getting what Indie is. I tried to google them and got all manner of oddities. Do you have a link?

message 37: by Chaeya (new)

Chaeya | 44 comments He means independent self-published authors. ;o)

message 38: by Anna (new)

Anna Walls (annalwalls) Yeah, that's what I did. Now I am trying to dig myself out of the self-published-author slop bucket.

message 39: by Chaeya (new)

Chaeya | 44 comments I know what you mean. But the published-author slop bucket is only a tiny bit better. Ha Ha.

message 40: by Anna (new)

Anna Walls (annalwalls) I'm beginning to agree. I've seen some pretty awful books from traditional publishers.

message 41: by Hilary (new)

Hilary McLean (hilarymclean6) | 9 comments This has been a fascinating topic to read. I have skipped over this one many times and happened to trip down the rabbit hole and read every single post in this thread. Thank you for the positives, the negatives, the cautions and the advice. I am a POD author who is closer to gleaning the "Big Picture" about the mysteries of book publishing.

message 42: by Anna (new)

Anna Walls (annalwalls) Well step on in and contribute you 2Cents worth.

message 43: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 25 comments Hilary - nice to see your positive appreciation.

90 percent of Anything is Cr* Sturgeon's Law, bless the SF writer for saying it like it is.

I get increasingly tired of the sparks that fly in posts, condemning indies/condemning traditional publishers/damning self pub - it's a waste of angst.

If we could all see the angles and listen better, we'd educate each other, and the most advantageous decision would be made by each individual author - with the end result, that works would reach the marketplace in a more professional fashion, better suited to attract the right readers.

Let's learn from each others' short-sighted mistakes, and drop the bandwagon of profitless prejudice.

I've always hated crabs in buckets...done my best to fling the rope to let the successful attitude climb out.

Publishing is changing so rapidly, and the grab for WHO OWNS THE RIGHTS to your creations is heating up (note the contested Google Settlement ongoing RIGHT NOW) - we have to protect our author's initiative, or risk a way of life that Can Become a viable livelihood, for those who want that.

It's important to share experience and work together more than ever.

message 44: by Anna (new)

Anna Walls (annalwalls) It's also important for authors, especially self-published authors, to take a little care in what they put out there. In the last few months, I've read several self published works and unfortunately few of them were well written. I myself believe my published book is not my best work but then I'm my worst critic. Now, if someone would just grab onto the rope I'm trying to throw out of this crab bucket, I'd be thrilled. I really would like to make a living at this. Nothing grand mind you - just passable.

message 45: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 25 comments Anna wrote: "It's also important for authors, especially self-published authors, to take a little care in what they put out there. In the last few months, I've read several self published works and unfortunate..."

Anna, besides the earlier posts, set out above, here's one rope thrown out for anyone.

message 46: by Paul (new)

Paul Nice one, Janny. I agree with all your points. Thank you for reminding me of Ted Sturgeon's Law.

I'm not published yet, but I will be.

Because I'm writing and learning and improving. Because I take the trouble to get a panel of authors and readers review my output so I can improve it yet further. Because I take the trouble to produce correctly formatted manuscripts. Because I actually proofread and edit my work to a high standard.

Early next year, I'll be approaching reputable agents in a polite and professional manner, with a well written query, synopsis and a few sample chapters. OK, it may take several dozen attempts to gain representation, but so what?

I may have to do several more rewrites till the agent is satisfied. That's fine; the agent knows what (s)he can sell to a publisher better than I do. It's in both our interests for the work to be as good as it possibly can be. The agent wants to make me money so they can get their percentage.

No one should ever have to pay for an agent or a publisher. Personally, I won't pay an editor either, though others may want to use professional services like that.

I have considered POD via e.g. Lulu, but I'd only go down that route to present difficult-to-sell material such as novellas, and only after the characters or settings have already been established with the reading public via more traditional mechanisms; and only after consulting my agent and/or publisher first.

Meantime, I'll just carry on writing and editing and revising, because I actually enjoy the creative process. It's great to aim for a destination, but you ought to appreciate the journey as well.

message 47: by Anna (new)

Anna Walls (annalwalls) Good for you Paul and thanks for the link Janny, it was great.

message 48: by Pam (new)

Pam Riggins | 8 comments Hugh wrote: "I think Kirkus and PW do a great job of distinguishing solicited reviews from non. They both have a great reputation for fairness and they return the reviews prior to listing, allowing authors to d..."

I think that makes it worse. One one side, they have the "real authors" who get free reviews. And on the other, the smucks that couldn't get a real publisher and have to pay ($500!).

message 49: by Keiji (new)

Keiji Miashin I'm going to play a bit of devil's advocate here.

When someone asks me to take the time out of my day to make a drawing/painting for them. I charge them.

When someone asks me to take the time out of my day to write a short story/poem for them. I charge them.

So when someone asks me to take the time out of my day (or in the case of books, several days) and then on top of that write a full bodied concise review, why should I NOT charge them? That's time I could have spent doint other things and making a living afterall?

message 50: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (TomStone) | 18 comments This is a great idea and I wonder why I haven't thought of it already because I am a part-time English teacher and lifelong unsuccessful novelist. I'd like to announce that am now offering my review services for, oh let's see, a paltry $1,000 for an unguaranteed review and $2500 for praise worthy of Olympus. Please drop me a line soon. Rent's coming up again.

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