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Old 08-29-2012, 10:49 PM   #61
Steven Lyle Jordan
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You don't see the difference between an ad and a review? Seriously?
You're not from these parts, are you?

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If Locke or any other "author" wants to buy advertising space, fine, go for it. The problem here is that the advertising is masquerading as someone's legitimate, critical judgment. It's a lie, a deliberate, out-and-out lie. It tells me both that the author is morally bankrupt and that the author has no faith in his or her own work.
You're not from these parts.

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And I should turn around and support this charlatan because ...?
That's the thing: You don't have to. You don't like Locke... walk away.
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:02 PM   #62
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But for the most part they are an attempt to sway public opinion and extol or deride a particular candidate or ideal. Very seldom do they stick completely with facts and they use well-known techniques to "lead" the reader to specific conclusions.
I always thought that's what an editorial was supposed to be. Although if there was any part of the newspaper to be cut out, that's the part I would cut.

When chains started buying up local papers, one of the criticisms I recall was that corporate dictated namby-pamby editorials which won't offend anyone because they didn't say where the paper's editorial board stood. This of course was decades ago, as it would be absurd to claim there isn't enough bloviating (myself included) nowadays.

It's important to keep editorials clearly distinct from news, and advertising distinct from both of them.

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But I'm also sure that when a publisher is spending big bucks on ads, it does give them an edge in getting some books reviewed and noticed.
My recollection is that Vantage Press, the original vanity publisher, used to have advertisements in almost every issue of serious magazines that feature book reviews, such as the Atlantic, New Republic, Harpers, etc. It didn't get them any reviews.

If the New York Times Sunday Book Review favored advertisers, when writers left their employ, they would run, not walk, to a serious magazine and sell them an exposé. And I haven't seen any like that.

Note that they rarely if ever review books published by Amazon, even though Amazon's occasional Sunday newspaper stuffers (4 pages or so) probably make them a bigger advertiser than any of the dreaded Big 6 or university presses whose books they often review.

Failure to review self-published books may be an artistic mistake, but it's not cow-towing to big advertisers.
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:31 AM   #63
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Absolutely, especially these days. Most editorials are thinly disguised (or not even) propaganda.

Many authors have admitted to not reading the books they have blurbed. Many have said they've been pushed to do so. Some refused, some didn't.

Many reviews may not intend to be an advertisement, but they dissect the book in such as way as to extol its virtues or explain its failings. Much as an advertisement attempts to do.

In an ideal world an editorial would be an editorial. But for the most part they are an attempt to sway public opinion and extol or deride a particular candidate or ideal. Very seldom do they stick completely with facts and they use well-known techniques to "lead" the reader to specific conclusions.
OK, so now editorials are for sale to the highest bidder? Show me the documentation for this claim.
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:36 AM   #64
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You're not from these parts, are you?

You're not from these parts.
I'm thrilled that you and I are from different places. Because your little world is a bleak, ugly, pathetic landscape.

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That's the thing: You don't have to. You don't like Locke... walk away.
Yeah, that's a great policy. See something wrong, just shrug and walk away.
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:58 AM   #65
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Ads and reviews both fall into the same category: visibility generators.
Whether it be car magazines doing reviews and dishing out CAR OF THE YEAR awards to brands that "happen" to be their top ad buyers, or Kirkus pimping out their staff reviewers, both are channels that bring the product to consumer's attention.
Just as TV ads, corporate blimps, and swedish bikini teams or animated bullfrogs and geckos.
Are they *exactly* the same? No.
Do they serve a very similar function? Hail! Yeah!

I'm not ready to pass judgment on those that resort to paid reviews, either pro- or con-, especially since there are no proven-effective advertising venues for mass market books (other than Oprah Winfrey) but I've yet to see one paid review provider that doesn't give me the creeps.
(Then again, most of the traditional professional review venues give me the feeling of the stereotypical smoke-filled "Gentlemen's Club" where everybody knows everybody else and owns stock in their company.)

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Old 08-30-2012, 03:46 AM   #66
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You're not from these parts, are you?



You're not from these parts.



That's the thing: You don't have to. You don't like Locke... walk away.

The issue here is not with one writer, it is with what he has done to a system that all writers rely on. If none of the reviews on Amazon or any of the eBook review sites (Goodreads etc.) can be relied upon, what point is there is attempting to choose a book that a person might enjoy? What he is doing is turning book buying into a lucky dip. He is doing damage to tens of thousands of people, possibly millions, both writers and readers. Walking away is hardly going to help. It is not dissimilar to swapping the labels on packets or cans of goods in a supermarket - no one can be sure of what they will actually get when they purchase something. It might be just what they want, but it is far more likely to be something that they will not enjoy or find useful.

You surprise me, I had built an image of you over the past year of two of someone who is thoughtful and considerate, someone who has some real standards. It is often surprising to find that the little subtletys that go toward building an online impression can be so out of whack. I would not have expected you to be accepting of cheating in an industry that you have so much invested in. There are many ways to build a following, to gain attention. Your idea regarding offering free books to those who provide a review is possibly a good one. Another tried and tested on is the loyalty system - offering discounts for subsequent purchases by the same reader. Paying for reviews is not a good one, it damages everyone to some degree.
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Old 08-30-2012, 07:30 AM   #67
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Ads and reviews both fall into the same category: visibility generators.
That's a very writer/producer oriented viewpoint. From my reader/consumer viewpoint I see them as different and feel misled if they are treated as the same. And in case it needs spelling out, I don't buy from people who try to mislead me.
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Old 08-30-2012, 07:32 AM   #68
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Reviews are clearly just seen as another marketing tool, and while it'd be great if there were review sites that only allowed 'independent' reviews (if someone could work out how to police it), when it comes down to it, it's just someone's opinion and they might not have a clue about the product they are reviewing, let their own personal likes/dislikes/prejudices etc cloud their judgement, or have taken a dislike to it for a pretty feeble reason, so you have to take them with a pinch of salt anyway.

I'll continue to only bother with reviews if there a) a lot of them and b) take a general consensus of opinion from them and nothing more.
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Old 08-30-2012, 07:37 AM   #69
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Perhaps the retailer should provide an incentive for reviews?
Amazon contacts me by e-mail sometimes after I have made a purchase and encourages me to write a review about it. Like most everyone else, i don't work for free. If Amazon provided something, and they can attach that to the length or quality of the review, then perhaps you would get more independent reviews.

I don't think Amazon would care about a bad review, if it is for an eBook they sell plenty of the others. If it is for a physical good, then peprhaps they get a signal that they ought to focus their marketing on other goods.
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:14 AM   #70
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That's a very writer/producer oriented viewpoint.
Exactly my point.
Once in a while it's worth trying to see things from the *other* side of the market.
Competitive market transactions are a conversation: we consumers have the final word but the producers tend to have the *first* word.

With all the changes rippling through the industry, producers aren't the only ones that need to accept changes. That's one reason I'm not ready to condemn anybody on either side just yet.

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Old 08-30-2012, 08:15 AM   #71
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Perhaps the retailer should provide an incentive for reviews?
Amazon contacts me by e-mail sometimes after I have made a purchase and encourages me to write a review about it. Like most everyone else, i don't work for free. If Amazon provided something, and they can attach that to the length or quality of the review, then perhaps you would get more independent reviews.
Amazon does exactly that already.
(Great minds do think alike. )
http://www.amazon.com/gp/vine/help
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:18 AM   #72
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I haven't been invited so I still ranks as slave labor.
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:22 AM   #73
Steven Lyle Jordan
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I'm thrilled that you and I are from different places. Because your little world is a bleak, ugly, pathetic landscape.
Sorry to throw a little shadow over your rose-colored landscape. Enjoy your stay in te 21st century.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:03 AM   #74
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"The other guy is doing it too" is not sufficient justification for an obviously unethical act. The indie authors on this thread supporting his actions need to stop and reflect. This John Locke fellow represents the worst of you, you need to strive to be the best and not condone Locke's actions or make it seem as if he does represent indie authors.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:26 AM   #75
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OK, so now editorials are for sale to the highest bidder? Show me the documentation for this claim.
I'm not sure what you mean, but writers are paid to write editorials. They happen to push their agenda in most cases. They are propaganda meant to sway the reader to a particular opinion. They may be paid differently and presented differently than an 'ad' but they are still meant to draw attention to a viewpoint and sell a particular idea.

Editorials are opinions, just as reviews are. Most reviews are not paid for, but serve to advertise a book.

I don't like paid reviews. I don't pay for them. I have been offered reviews MULTIPLE times--and after I send the book have been instructed to buy an ad or send other "swag" such as books from that readers "wish list." I only wish the sites would be upfront about asking me to pay because in at least two cases I sent a print copy of the book--that costs me money and time.

I know of a couple of sites who purport to find "free" books for you, when in fact, they are paid-for-ads mixed in with a few "finds" probably so they don't get shut down by the FCC for not clearly marking the ads as ads. On some sites, these ads are not marked but cleverly APPEAR to be "endorsed" by the site as quotes from "reader" are provided (and these quotes by a drive-by reader may be easily mistaken as the opinion of the site owner/reader.)

Of course it's dirty pool. Of course it should be stopped. But who is going to police it? From what I understand, Amazon is hiring in the "review" area to try and improve the situation, but that's one heck of a lot of reviews to police.

And it isn't just in books. It's restaurants, hotels, etc. Last trip I took, I couldn't FIND a hotel that didn't have a complete mockery of reviews--bad ones from probable competitors and glowing ones from paid for trolls. The restaurants on the road trip that we tried obviously suffered from the same fate. The reviews were recent but in two cases, the restaurant in no way resembled the reviews from the cleanliness of the places to the marginal food. Sure opinions differ, but there's a baseline and if a place is a BAR more than a restaurant, that would generally be mentioned in a review or two because most sites have a check box for "kid friendly."

Some blogs still provide good reviews, but a lot of them are moving to paid ads as well. I realize people want to be paid for their time and general ads are probably a way to do this. But those who take money for ads from authors risk crossing that line into "this looks like an endorsement, but isn't." And guess what? Those that are clearly marked ads, don't sell copy! The authors talk about which sites work for them and it's generally the ones that cheat or don't make it as obvious that an ad is an ad.

That's my two cents. Only with inflation, I'm thinking of charging 3. And if you don't pay up, I'm going to insert an ad...
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