Thanks for the reply Stacy. But surely if you got a review in the NY Times in all these years, you'd have a link to it, wouldn't you? You don't say how you actually got the reviews. Did you get them or did your publisher get them?
I don't think any author should have to pay to get a review either, but it isn't a matter of choice. PW, NY Times, et al, WILL NOT review a SP author. Period. You beg the question when you say "I'd think SP authors would want more respect from reviewers." It's not that we don't WANT respect from reviewers. We do. Please explain to me how we get it.
As for paying for reviews, publishers pay for them all the time. They pay for ad space in PW and the NY Times. If they didn't, their books wouldn't be reviewed. It all comes down to money. And if you want a professionally written review, it's better to go ahead and pay an entity that PAYS their reviewers.
I"m happy to hear that you're plugged into the black author network. I have a close friend who recently published (in a university press) a memoir about her grandfather who was the first African-American in the U.S. cabinet (Asst Sec of labor under Eisenhower). What's the best way she might plug into this network?
Actually, if you use Create Space, it will cost you less. Forget how much, check the CS website. But to address the question about paying Kirkus for a review. I paid Kirkus Discoveries for a review of my (self-published) first novel in 2008 because I believed in the book. I see a lot of negative comments here about this, but the fact is, no self-published author will have his/her book reviewed ANYWHERE unless they pay for it. I'm not talking about blogger reviews or online reviews, I'm talking about reputable review entities like Kirkus, NY Times, Boston Globe, etc.
Have the nay-sayers taken the trouble to READ any of the reviews on Kirkus Discoveries (or whatever they call it now)? If you do, you will find that they are quite critical of many of the books. Just because the review is paid for doesn't guarantee a rave review. Or even a good review.
Moving on to the so called "reviewers" who post on blogs or whatever. What expertise do they have? Have they worked in publishing? Are they editors? No. Hell, I'm willing to bet some of them haven't ever taken a writing course, in college or out. Most of them are novelists who write reviews because they like reading novels and can't seem to finish writing their own novels. So what are these reviews worth? Do the people who read these reviews care?
And what about authors who rope every friend and family member into writing reviews of their books on amazon? Just because they aren't being paid, does this make it okay?
Oh yeah, forgot to mention, Kirkus almost went bankrupt a few months ago. So much for the venerable review business. And it is a business. They do PAY their reviewers, don't they?
It's good to hear from a realist from time to time.
I think the nay-sayers here are frowning on the $425 price tag because so much of the industry is parasitic on the authors. Paying for a review is just another way companies are trying to make money off authors instead of readers. You may have recouped much more than you paid Kirkus, Susan, and that's a good thing. But the majority of authors don't make back what they pay for these types of services.
HI Benjamin, yes I feel that what I paid was worth it ... in fact I'm tempted to post the review here in its entirety. Perhaps I will when I get the time. To quickly address your comment about the book biz industry being parasitic on authors. Paid review sites are only one of MANY entities preying on authors (as I'm sure you know). Look at all the people out there shilling their wares: let me make your book cover for you; let me edit your manuscript, let me help market your novel, etc.
Why is this? Because there are millions, yes millions, of Indie authors out there, and they have no help from a publishing company so they have to do everything themselves. The ones who have money, pay for these sorts of services. Others can't afford them. I fall on the low end of the budget scale. I did my own cover. I did my own editing. [I have published non-fiction ... for Scribner's, and am familiar with Strunk & White; there are no errors in my books] Thus, I have saved what little $$ I have to spend on marketing. The paid review was but one aspect of this.
Well, I think I'll stick with fan reviews on Amazon then. However, I do sympathize. Many authors have never been published and don't have old print reviews to fall back on. My publishers may have given me a raw deal in many ways, but they did send out ARCs. I can rely on those reviews now.
As for doing the work yourself: I pay for formatting, but I do everything else myself. And there is an error in latest novel. My fault. I read books from big publishing houses all the time. They all have the occasional typo or mistake. A novel is huge. It's very easy to overlook a word here or there. I have forgiven myself.
Paid review sites are only one of MANY entities preying on authors (as I'm sure you know). Look at all the people out there shilling their wares: let me make your book cover for you; let me edit your manuscript, let me help market your novel, etc.
I am curious what constitutes preying on authors. I have a PR firm. I have a little bit of experience in book promotion - not a lot, it's not an area of PR I pursue. However, if I take on an author, I'm certainly not preying on them. They know what I will do and how much it will cost before any work begins.
We need to be careful of how we word things. Some will say a $425 Kirkus paid review is preying on authors, yet you had a positive experience and felt you got your money's worth.
If there is no deception, there is no prey in my view.
My use of "Preying" was a quote from someone else's post. And I agree with you, up to a point, Clay. "They know what I will do and how much it will cost before any work begins." That's fine. But do they know what the RESULTS will be? No. And I'm sure you make no guarantees, right?
Went back and found the post: Reply by Benjamin Sobieck I think the nay-sayers here are frowning on the $425 price tag because so much of the industry is parasitic on the authors. Paying for a review is just another way companies are trying to make money off authors instead of readers.
Yes, I felt I got my money's worth w/Kirkus review, but I will restate here, in case my point wasn't clear the first time, that Kirkus pays ALL of their reviewers, whether or not they are reviewing self-pub or trad published books. Do we worry that Publishing companies that advertise w/Kirkus might influence whether or not their books get favorable reviews?
I'm positive advertising influences how they review. Friends and peers who review my stuff are also influenced by my interactions. But they don't charge me to be biased. That's the difference in my eyes.
I actually give them a realistic expectation of what the results will be.
There's an indefinable line everyone knows not to cross, Clay. Your PR firm is on the kosher side. An outfit like PublishAmerica is most likely on the other side. Both will say exactly what they will do and how they will do it. Yet only one has the reputation of "preying."
I don't know PublishAmerica so I don't know why they would be considered predatory. If they tell you what they will do and how much it will cost, and then fulfill their side of the agreement, why is it preying?
You could say they take advantage of people's desire to be published. But doesn't every business take advantage of your desire for something, whether it is being published, or for a coca cola, or life insurance, or what not?
I know this is an area where I'm in the minority on CrimeSpace and that's OK. I do have a problem, though, when authors agree to something without really considering it and then claim they were bamboozled.