Indie authors and the book world have been abuzz this week over a New York Times article on book reviews for sale – and particularly positive reviews.
The article, about onetime review entrepeneur Todd Rutherford, raised awkward questions for authors, especially indie authors, who are tasked with finding attention for their books while finding that, frustratingly, many reviewrs still won’t touch self-published books.
Yet, in the same way you can’t get a job without experience and can’t get experience without a job, indie authors often find you can’t get attention for your book until you’ve gotten some attention for your book.
For some, the only way to get attention was to pay for it.
The difficulty for the reader becomes figuring out which reviews to trust. It’s not always obvsious – indeed, that’s the whole point of paid reviews that look authentic.
Mr. Rutherford is no longer in the reviews-for-hire business, but undoubtedly some people still are. They’re just not being written about in the New York Times.
Some people, some websites, may also be asking indie authors to pay for interviews.
So let me make this clear: No author has ever paid for an interview on The Bookcast.
That bears repeating: no author has ever paid for an interview on The Bookcast, nor will any ever be asked to pay to keep their interview alive on The Bookcast.
This is a journaistic endeavor for me, and the notion that coverage can be purchased is anathema to all that I believe in as a journalist.
The authors I choose to interview on The Bookcast are here by virtue of the words they have written, not a check they’ve written.
Now, aim I missing out on a lot of mondey? Apparently. Todd Rutherford was charging $99 a pop, up to $999 for 50 reviews. Wow, maybe I am in the wrong business.
There is nothing wrong with buying attention, but call it what it is: an advertisement.
This is a good time to disclose that I plan, in the near future, to begin offering authors various ways to enhance their visibility on The Bookcast, for a small fee. But to my readers I say those enhancements will always be marked as paid content. And – let me say it again – no author will ever have to pay to get an interview on The Bookcast.
Stock photo by FreeDigitalPhotos.net.