Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Want a review, anyone?

Amazon now has a Print On Demand division, called Booksurge. and Booksurge offers - for a mere a $US 399, a wonderful book review. It doesn't matter what your book is like, the review is gonna be great. (For that price, it had better be.)

Of course, I immediately thought "Just what I need". I mean, how could one resist such deathless prose as this:

"We are drawn into this seaboard existence, seeing the stars pronging the sails at night, the flying fish that land on deck, and even the birds that fly, unaware, into the mast," offered by the reviewer about a book called The Last Voyage of the Cosmic Muffin.

Now let me think. If I was a POD author, just how many copies of my book would I have to think such a review would sell in order for me to get my $399 back?

And readers, if you buy a book based on a paid-for review, then I have a lovely set of twin-towers for sale, situated at the present moment in downtown Kuala Lumpur, but easily portable to a new location, bargain price...drop me an email. Don't be put off by the fact that I live in Nigeria.

9 comments:

Patty said...

*grin*

Services like this, in various forms, have probably existed ever since people started writing.

I'm wondering, though, as author how much notice you take of reviews?

Personally, I never look at reviews when I decide to buy a book, knowing that my opinion usually varies wildly from 'public opinion' anyway. Should one care about Amazon reviews if you're an SF writer with a niche reader base?

Glenda Larke said...

I pretty much read all reviews, wherever they are, but I am not at the stage of say, Robert Jordan, and the sheer number is off-putting.

I do it for two reasons, because if they are good, they give me a boost (sure, I'm pathetic, I'll admit it); and if they are bad, then I will consider them to see if I can learn anything. I try to take both the good and the bad with a grain of salt. Fortunately for my fragile ego, there haven't been too many of the bad and only one really, really, awful one. I rackon that's pretty good now that I have 6 books out there.

Up until now, the "official" Amazon reviews from their staff reviewers, or their paid part-timers, have not been paid for by the author, but by Amazon. They are therefore a little suspect - but not half as suspect as ones paid for by the author surely.

The Amazon reviewer of one of my books has also written a review for a SFF magazine, and I compared the two. The first was marginally better than the second, which was aimed at a more niche market, but only very slightly.

hrugaar said...

Heh. 'Just what you need' is the four hundred bucks for writing someone a review on amazon (honest opinion guaranteed, natch). That could be a nice little earner.

Satima Flavell said...

I do think that's shocking. If Amazon is really sponsoring such a service they should be ashamed of themselves.

Glenda Larke said...

Hrugaar - want a review? I'll send my price list. More expensive ones get most praise...

I wonder Satima - is it much different from Publishers paying a store to put particular books in the most accessible spots, labelled best seller when they are nothing of the kind?

Valerie said...

Glenda,
Promotion, promotion and more promotion. Book marketing is all about creating a buzz. Thank you. While a review is a review - a good review doesn't hurt. So I paid $399. Was it worth it? Well, I have found several blogs talking about my book, The Last Voyage of the Cosmic Muffin. Pick up a copy from my site and do your own review. I won't pay you for it so feel free to provide your candid and honest opinion. Valerie Perez, author
The Last Voyage of the Cosmic Muffin

Valerie said...

Glenda,
Promotion, promotion and more promotion. Book marketing is all about creating a buzz. Thank you. While a review is a review - a good review doesn't hurt. So I paid $399. Was it worth it? Well, I have found several blogs talking about my book, The Last Voyage of the Cosmic Muffin. Pick up a copy from my site and do your own review. I won't pay you for it so feel free to provide your candid and honest opinion. Valerie Perez, author
The Last Voyage of the Cosmic Muffin

Glenda Larke said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Glenda Larke said...

Sorry Valerie - I didn't revisit these comments for ages, so didn't see that you had dropped by and left a comment.

I am fascinated by this whole concept. I want to know if it really works, because I honestly doubt it. I have the uncomfortable feeling that authors who use the service are being ripped off. (Please note that I have not made any comment about your writing,or your book, merely about the review and the whole idea of a paid review).

To give you some examples:

as I said earlier, my Amazon/Barnes & Noble reviews/ online/magazine reviews generally have been great, five stars all over the place. And yet I don't seem to be selling like the proverbial hotcakes. The inference seems to be that reviews really don't make that much of a difference.

Look at The Da Vinci Code for the opposite. I haven't read a good review of it yet and we all know how well it sells!

And I am not sure that buzz always works either. Janine Cross's "Touched by Venom" sure got a lot of buzz in the sff world generally, and on Amazon and other review sites, but I don't see a corresponding surge in sales.

Have you any evidence to suggest that your book is selling because of that review? Would you do it again? Do you feel you have been ripped off? Do you think the review was an honest assessment by the reviewer?

I dunno - the concept makes me feel uneasy. Anyway, good luck with the book. Anyone who would call a boat the Cosmic Muffin deserves to go far!!