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Affaire de Coeur’s Reviews Under Scrutiny

Karen Scott links to a post by Lee Goldberg who linked to a post here at Dear Author. Certainly that is some kind of circle jerk, but on an interesting and important topic.

Apparently Affaire de Coeur has a policy of providing positive reviews and articles to publishers based upon the amount of page space that is purchased. Additionally, and possibly more damning (I know! what could be more damning) is that according to Goldberg:

I’ve just discovered that their advertising director, Bonny Kirby, co-owns the disgraced Light Sword Publishing company with Linda Daly (a court recently fined Kirby and Daly thousands of dollars for defrauding authors). This explains why Light Sword titles consistently got positive reviews from Affaire De Coeur and why Daly was the subject of a cover story. No reputable magazine would review books published by their advertising director-or feature her partners on the cover. It’s a sleazy, unethical conflict-of-interest.

I’ve not ever read/purchased/seen an Affaire de Coeur magazine but I have seen them quoted multiple times in books and have been in business for over 26 years. It seems that the paid review is becoming more and more commonplace. I know that even Kirkus offers a pay review service.

Kirkus Discoveries, rolling out later this year, will allow self-published authors, long ignored by the trade journals, to buy a Kirkus review for $350.

The second new product is Kirkus Reports, set to appear early next month. It highlights titles that the editors feel are the best lifestyle books (health, parenting, personal finance). But to be included in this free e-mail newsletter for magazine and newspaper journalists, publishers must pay $95 per title.

It’s one thing, of course, to have advertising and still another to accept payment for the review itself or inclusion in a magazine or newsletter. What’s ethical?

  

Updated on September 2008.   I’m closing the comments.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

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