Lately I’ve been reading several comments about an article that appeared in the New York
regarding paid-for reviews. (

If you’ve already read the article and formed an opinion, you can skip reading my blog. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to click on URLs, I’ll try to quickly summarize the article. Basically a Todd Rutherford decided to start a business in which, for a price, he would write glowing reviews of a book. He charged from $99 for one review up to $999 for 50

In part the article is a warning to all of us. If you are buying a book based on the reviews, you should be aware that up to a third of those reviews are fake. In other words the reviewer probably never read the book and probably received money to publish the review.

Personally, I’ve never based the purchase of a book on a printed review. Word of mouth is what has often prodded me into reading a book I might not have picked up on my own. What I have done several times is looked at the review AFTER I read the book, especially if I was disappointed in the book. I know there have been times when I didn’t particularly like a book and I’ve wondered how it ever received 5-star ratings. Now I think I know.

It’s sad that the business of selling books is dependent on “Likes” and “5-star Reviews.” It’s made us vulnerable to deception. On the other hand, I think if you truly do enjoy a book, you should take the time to write a review and have it posted. Let the writer, as well as potential readers, know that what took weeks to years to write was enjoyed and/or appreciated.

That said, I still believe in what Thumper’s mother said: “If you can’t say nothin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”

By the way, last week I mentioned that A Killer Past was a finalist for the 2012 Claymore Award. Well, alas, my entry, didn’t win, but it was certainly nice to be a finalist. The winners were:

Claymore Award

Winner: Jonathan Stone for “Again”

2nd Place: V.R. Barkowski for “A Twist of Hate”

3rd Place Tie: Carol Baier for “Wicked Schemes”

& Mark Troy for “The Law of the Splintered Paddle”

Also, on Saturday, September 8th, I’ll be in Saint Joseph, Michigan for the first Harbor Authors’ Book Festival. If you’re in the area, drop by. Here’s an article with more information. (Also it has my picture and the cover of THE CROWS)

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5 Responses to BOOK REVIEWS

  1. Though I don’t tend to read many reviews, if I am going to buy a book based on reviews, I usually a read a few of the good reviews and a few of the bad. Sometimes a bad review will be about something silly or a personal preference, and good reviews might be the same. As with everything else, the truth is often in the middle, and in the case of books, it can all about perception.

    Great post, Maris!

  2. I did read that article and thought how it’s another bump in the road of publishing when a new author rely on reviews to help sell her book. My before I buy a book procedure is to read the sample chapters. Recently however, I did check reviews concerning an ebook that has caught the web’s attention- The marriage bargain and the billionaire, and is now being revamped by one of the big six to be sold as a series (not Fifty) plus a movie. I saw over 400 reveiws for this book and found it encouraging that while some readers loved it with five stars, many reviewers gave the thumbs down with one. another interesting note was the $signs of the hero. Does cash make a hero?
    Interesting post Maris. : )

  3. Annette says:

    Thanks for pointing that out, Maris. The variation of people’s tastes and preferences are bound to offer up both the good and the not so good in reviews. I’ll take my lumps before I mislead the public.

    You are right. If we liked a book, we should take a few minutes to point out the good stuff to help readers find it.

    All the best, Annette

  4. Diane Burton says:

    I always thought Kirkus was reliable–until I discovered you have to pay something like $400 to have your book reviewed by them. I guess you have to take everything written about your book with a grain of salt. I don’t depend on reviews–rather, like you, Maris, I depend on recommendations from friends and read the sample chapters like Teresa.

    • Maris says:

      Diane, there are two (2) types of Kirkus reviews. I’m not 100% clear on the second type (the ones you have to pay for) other than they were established for self-published books, and as you said, cost over $400. They also make no promises to give a good review. I think that type of review (one that costs and gives no guarantees) was to curb the requests from self-published authors. As for the regular Kirkus reviews, I certainly don’t see Five Star ever paying for a review and I know not all Five Star books are reviewed. That said, it’s still personal choice that determines if I’ll like a book or not, and my personal choice doesn’t always agree with reviewers.