Saturday, September 28, 2013

How Paid Reviews Have Hurt Everyone

 I have a Publishers Weekly review coming out on Monday. All five of my books have been reviewed by PW. I never paid for one. Of course you really couldn't pay for any until recently. My career was built by a starred review for my second novel Tobacco Sticks. I was virtually unknown and then one starred review in PW and wham. Movie sale. Paperback auction with seventeen publishers. . Book of the Month Club. Foreign Rights. Two book deal with Bantam  with nice advances. So...what is the situation now with a PW review.

Well when I posted the advance PW review someone asked me if I had paid for the review. I took offence. Of course not! But when I received my Kirkus review the same question came from someone else. Again I was offended. I would never pay for any review. It is not in my DNA. But the point is a lot of people do and because of this the reviews themselves have been hurt. Publishers Weekly has PW Select and Kirkus has a  program as well. So people who want to shell out some coin can get some sort of review.

But the damage is done to everyone. Publishers Weekly was the gatekeeper before. If you received a review in PW and it was good then everyone took this as a nod that this was a special book. I can attest because it happened to me. But now some people question the review itself. Doesn't everyone pay for reviews now? No. They don't. But it doesn't matter. People are having a hard time believing that a book can actually carry its own weight.

So if you get a review in PW or Kirkus the old fashioned way then you should feel very good about it and if someone asks if you paid for the review. Push out your chest and scream HELL NO!!!That should leave no doubt.
The Pitcher...sometimes a dream is all you have.


Books by William Hazelgrove