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Old 03-08-2011, 11:11 AM   #1
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Authors Paying for Reviews in Newspapers?

I heard the most astounding thing yesterday from an author friend. A reporter from his local newspaper selected the author's book to do a review and wrote an article about it for publication. Before it went to press, the author was contacted by the newspaper (not the reporter) and told that he'd have to pay them to print the article. It was going to be a few hundred dollars; he hasn't yet decided whether to participate in this... oddity.

Am I uneducated in this? Is it common practice? I've heard of authors offering to pay to get reviews done and printed, but never this arrangement, where the newspaper hold the review "hostage" for what amounts to ransom. Your thoughts?
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Old 03-08-2011, 11:17 AM   #2
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Does he at least get to read the review first, to see if it's worth the money?
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Old 03-08-2011, 11:22 AM   #3
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That is apparently up to the reporter, who was, according to my friend, just as astounded by the whole thing and freely shared what he had written.
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Old 03-08-2011, 11:29 AM   #4
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:28 PM   #5
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If you are going to pay for a review you might as well write it yourself and pay for the advertising space.
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:35 PM   #6
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If you are going to pay for a review you might as well write it yourself and pay for the advertising space.
No kidding! And what does it say about editorial/critical integrity, too?

I know newspapers are hurting for revenue, but things are getting beyond crazy with this stuff. Did you know it now costs $2000 to put an obituary in the Boston Globe, and $1400 for the Providence Journal? Used to be free, up to about two years ago. Sick, if you ask me.
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Old 03-08-2011, 02:05 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by cklls View Post
No kidding! And what does it say about editorial/critical integrity, too?

I know newspapers are hurting for revenue, but things are getting beyond crazy with this stuff. Did you know it now costs $2000 to put an obituary in the Boston Globe, and $1400 for the Providence Journal? Used to be free, up to about two years ago. Sick, if you ask me.
That's dead wrong (sorry, could not help it!)
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Old 03-08-2011, 02:19 PM   #8
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I hear about this sort of thing all of the time and it happends other places as well. Businesses regularly pay the Better Business Bureau for reviewes and reports about their company as well as the US Chamber of Commerce. There are very few publications these days that are not in the pocket of businesses one of which is called the Washington Checkbook which gets $0 from advertisers and gets no contributions from any business that they review, if you are not reviwed then you are free to donate. They are financed by a) subscriptions and 2) donations.
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Old 03-08-2011, 06:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cklls View Post
I heard the most astounding thing yesterday from an author friend. A reporter from his local newspaper selected the author's book to do a review and wrote an article about it for publication. Before it went to press, the author was contacted by the newspaper (not the reporter) and told that he'd have to pay them to print the article. It was going to be a few hundred dollars; he hasn't yet decided whether to participate in this... oddity.
Does he get to have editorial input on the review? (Joking)

There are a lot of places these days that'll review your book for money. Even though the newspaper review is already written, it's a bad idea for a serious author to pay for a review. If it comes out that he paid, that'll call into question the integrity of the review and of the author.

Last edited by Nada y Nadie; 03-08-2011 at 07:03 PM.
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Old 03-08-2011, 07:09 PM   #10
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It would be quite interesting to know how many of those five star reviews on Amazon have been written for money as well.
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Old 03-08-2011, 07:12 PM   #11
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such a thing is not uncommon here. i believe restaurants here do it too, but there was a case of a local blogger here blackmailing a certain good restaurant and said that they would write bad reviews if the restaurant did not pay up.
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Old 03-08-2011, 07:26 PM   #12
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And newspapers wonder why they're losing money...! It's hard to take seriously a paper that does this type of thing.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:13 PM   #13
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Sometimes I think in these times we should feel lucky when the author does in fact write his own book.

This strikes me as just what has been commonplace in other media (film, television) spilling over into books.
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Old 03-08-2011, 09:21 PM   #14
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It would be quite interesting to know how many of those five star reviews on Amazon have been written for money as well.
Hard to say really, but the observant review watcher can usually spy the fake reviews from the heartfelt ones.

As a general rule of thumb, take extra care when dealing with any work that has a large proportion of full star reviews.

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Old 03-08-2011, 09:22 PM   #15
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i usually read both 5 star reviews and 1-2 star reviews. gives me a balance of things to look out for.
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