A recent article in the New York Times reveals the fallacy behind some of the book reviews online, how some authors create buzz by paying for favorable book reviews. The book review service described in the article, www.GettingBookReviews.com, commissioned 4,531 reviews, sometimes without reading the books.
Ms. Walters-Bearden, one of the prolific reviewers employed by this service explained her process.
“A lot of the books were trying to prove creationism”, she said. “I was like, I don’t know where I stand, but they make a solid case.”
For a 50-word review, she said she could find “enough information on the Internet so that I didn’t need to read anything, really.” For a 300-word review, she said, “I spent about 15 minutes reading the book.” She wrote three of each every week as well as press releases. In a few months, she earned $12,500.
“There were books I wished I could have gone back and actually read,” she said. “But I had to produce 70 pieces of content a week to pay my bills.”
While it seems that some of the book reviews are created by the writer, her friends, her publicist and services like gettingBookReviews.com, there are a lot of bloggers out there that write book reviews with no other motive than to share their thoughts about the books they read. How can you tell the difference?
- Beware of reviewers that produce book reviews too frequently – Reading takes time.
Writing a thoughtful review takes time. Most adult books are over 300 pages. Some are 500-700 pages. There’s no way anyone can read 9 books a week, let alone read and produce 9 reviews.
- Quotes – legitimate reviewers often include a quote or two and always refer to the content of the book. As an example, in the review of the Language of Flowers, www.literaryadventure.com included two quotes from the book. Even if no quotes are included, the review should give you enough “taste” of the book for you to decide whether to bother with it.
- Favorable reviews don’t mean dishonest reviews – www.literaryAdventire.com is not paid to read and review books. If I don’t enjoy a book, I will not bother reading to the end, let alone spend the time reviewing it. As a result you will only find highly recommended or recommended books on this site. I would recommend the reader to follow my example and abandon books they don’t like. Life is too short to waste on bad books.
I cannot guarantee the frequency of publishing new reviews, but I can guarantee that any books reviewed on this site would have been read cover to cover, that the review would be honest and truthful, and that it would give you a taste of the book – enough for you to decide whether it’s worth your while.