Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Writers Beware: Why You Shouldn't Pay For Book Reviews

I came across a very interesting article in the New York Times that talks about a hot debate in the publishing industry: paid book reviews. While reading the article, I recognized a familiar name - Todd Rutherford. A former author client hired (and then quickly fired) Mr. Rutherford due to his "questionable" ethics concerning marketing his book. My radar went up instantly and I dug around to find out more about Mr. Rutherford and his background. I quickly learned about the complaints against him, and told my client to steer clear of him. I always tell my clients never to buy book reviews.

For Mr. Rutherford, his once booming $28,000-per-month "fake book review" company took a nose dive,  which led him to close up shop and is now currently selling RVs.
"When Ms. Lorenzana found GettingBookReviews.com, $99 seemed reasonable. But the review did not show up as quickly as she expected. She posted a long, angry accusation against Mr. Rutherford and his service on several consumer sites, saying she had received better treatment from a reviewer whom she had hired for $5. (“You could tell that the person had really spent a few minutes checking out the information about my book and getting a feel for it before just diving into writing a meaningless review.”) 
Mr. Rutherford refunded her fee, but his problems were just beginning. Google suspended his advertising account, saying it did not approve of ads for favorable reviews. At about the same time, Amazon took down some, though not all, of his reviews. Mr. Rutherford dropped his first name in favor of his middle name, Jason, so that people who searched for him through Google would not automatically see Ms. Lorenzana’s complaints." (Source: New York Times) 
What's the moral of Mr. Rutherford's demise? Scammers don't last long, and fake paid reviews are NOT considered ethical book marketing. If you want to be taken seriously as a writer and don't want to damage your reputation and credibility, do not pay someone to write fake "five-star" reviews for your book. 

1 comment:

  1. If I knew someone paid for a review, I would throw out the review. The whole pay for thing with reviews feels like spiders crawling on my neck. I have also seen people on line who will "trade" book reviews. But what if one person loves the book and the other doesn't like the book? What then? If I like a book, I post it on Facebook and Goodreads. If I don't like a book, I say nothing. People and friends know they can depend on my book recommendations. I do not want to mess with that or cheapen it.


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