Here’s a joke you may remember from your childhood:
Q: What did the skeleton say to the vampire?
A: You suck.
Well, there’s a new twist on it now:
Q: What did the WCP blogger say to the local vampire novelist who is paying for Amazon reviews?
A: You suck!
Turns out that D.C. area author John Ferrer is advertising on Craigslist that he will pay you (or someone else if you’re busy) $50 and give you an autographed copy of his book, The Immortal Ones, if you write a review of it for Amazon or Barnes and Noble, as well as his blog.
For anyone who has ever worked in the media, has an inkling of how the world works, or has a shred of morality—-paying people to write reviews of your stuff is an absolute no-no. As in, you don’t do it. Ever. According to Ferrer’s bio on his website, he “works as a government consultant for a prestigious firm.” Now there have been innumerable government consultants and prestigious firms that have enjoyed long, prosperous careers built on their immoral activities, but it’s still frowned upon in most circles. You certainly don’t post Craigslist ads publicly telegraphing said immorality.
Apparently, though, Ferrer isn’t in the whole writing game for the riches he might be showered with if The Immortal Ones turns out to be the next Hunger Games. As he writes on his blog:
During the first week of August, I was giving away The Immortal Ones eBook away for free. Some people asked me why I did that. The truth is, I don’t care much about money. If I did, then I would be pulling my hair out because self-publishing is EXPENSIVE.
So there’s the rub. Not only did he pay to have it published, but now he’s paying to have it reviewed. As a published author, I know what a full-time job it is to get press for your book. And I know that bad reviews can be brutal, because I’ve suffered some myself. But all that being said, YOU DON’T PAY PEOPLE FOR REVIEWS! You just don’t. That just sucks.