Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Writers paying for reviews?

I was going through my reader this morning, and I came across this post on Nathan Bransford's blog about a service where writers can pay someone to give good reviews about their work. And, it's expensive, but obviously people are doing it (the guy was getting 28,000 a month!).

Now I'm sure you've all heard about this by now, since it's been pretty loud this week.

Here are my personal thoughts, which I left in comment form on Nathan's post:

Generating attention is one thing. Getting your book out to as many people as possible to help spread the word about it is fine, in my opinion. Sharing good reviews in blurbs is also okay. Showing how other people liked it is fine - but I feel it must be genuine. 

I do read reviews. I'm a watcher of them. I like to research things before I do them so I'm prepared. I like reading reviews because they are what I thought were honest opinions of other people. While I've never passed on a book because of a less-than-enthusiastic review, I feel there's a sort of covenant there that reviews should be the honest feelings of a review. As a person who has reviewed, I'm appalled that people would lie, as I wouldn't. 

On the other hand, as a writer, I'm a little disgusted that people would pay for this service. Getting the word out is one thing. Paying for false praise is a little sad. I understand the temptation of wanting to have people say good things about your work. We work on hard on our stories, and it hurts when people don't enjoy them as much as we do. And it hurts when people don't know about them because there isn't a lot of news out there about it. 

However, I think a person's art should stand on it's own. If a story isn't good enough to deserve 50 stellar reviews on its own, then go back to the drawing board and write something new and better. Having fictions about your fiction is kind of tacky. If it's good enough, just getting the word out that it exists should be enough.

So, I'm curious, though. Do you guys agree with me? What are your thoughts on the whole issue? Please let me know!

Also, happy Wednesday, everyone!