Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Friday News: Another author goes self-pub; Yelp must unmask anonymous reviewers;...

“There are huge changes coming to the world of publishing – a revolution that will make the ground almost unrecognisable. The end of physical books is not yet in sight, but the inroads ebooks are making into the market will penetrate deeper and deeper. More and more established writers will turn to ebooks, whether self-published or through their agents. Book agents will all but disappear, turning themselves into electronic publishers and working as editors in order to survive, with their clients getting 50 or 60% share of the ‘cover’ price instead of 10%” The Guardian

“It seems like a bit of a fishing expedition, wrapped around a catch-22: Hadeed suspects that the reviewers aren’t customers, and if they’re making up facts, they lose First Amendment protection and are liable for defaming him. But Hadeed can’t possibly prove that until he knows their identities, which requires a court to rule that First Amendment protections don’t apply.” Gawker

“And finally, Foss says he gave Brown permission to remix his work, while Foss was distracted by working on Stanley Kubricks A.I. and didnt notice what he was agreeing to. Foss apparently regretted this afterwards, once he saw Browns work getting nominated for the prestigious Turner Prize in 2000.” i09

“As Time reported in September, this isn’t the first time a public library has opened without printed books. In 2002, the Tucson-Pima Public Library system in Arizona opened a book-free branch, providing Web-based services and job training. But after just a few years, the library phased in printed materials. Its patrons demanded them.” Los Angeles Times

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!


  1. Lynne Connolly
    Jan 10, 2014 @ 07:49:24

    Newman is a game-changer, and what he says, he means. The UK “Law and Order” isn’t related to the US series, which came a couple of years later, but was a brutal expose of police practices. It depicted the police as people with weaknesses and strengths. Coming after the reform of the Met, after numerous malpractices were brought to light, the series can be said to have had a profound influence on the way the police were policed. “The Nation’s Health” had a similar affect on the NHS. He has written some “bread and butter” series like “Judge John Deed” that give him a foothold in the establishment. He co-owns a successful independent production company that does very well, so indie isn’t exactly new to him. So what he does is very interesting.

  2. Lynne Connolly
    Jan 10, 2014 @ 07:59:50

    BTW, a lot of authors pay for reviews, or more often do favor for favor. Some are reasonably legitimate, like the groups where you are not allowed to review anyone who reviews you, and you are allowed to not like the book, and some are not. But publishers have been doing this for a long time. “This is the best book I’ve ever read” says US Today author who happens to have the same publisher as Newbie Writer.
    The networks also account for a lot. RWA chapters, where big name authors generously help out (I mean that), by giving classes and help to new authors, for instance.
    Or an author who cultivates her fans, gets her family to put rave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Usually it’s easy to filter the raves out, especially if there are a few not-so-good but well thought out reviews. But reviews matter, and the number of reviews, so what they say is irrelevant, next to the ratings given. They persuade Amazon to feature books, and once a book gets into the lists, the potential readership is wider. Bookbub demands a certain number of reviews before taking a book and charging a pretty penny for advertising it. Readers pay more attention to a book with more reviews. So not unnaturally, authors set about getting as many reviews as they can.
    Publishing has not, nor has it ever been, a level playing field. Some practices are worse than others, that’s all.

  3. pooks
    Jan 10, 2014 @ 09:08:27

    The article on bookcovers becoming fine art… I notice that the blog on the Scientific American site tosses around the word “plagiarized” even though, as your quote shows, this was done with permission.

  4. Sunita
    Jan 10, 2014 @ 09:34:56

    @pooks: Plagiarism is about attribution, not permission. Copyright infringement is about permission.

  5. hapax
    Jan 10, 2014 @ 10:32:26

    @Sunita: Although there are an awful lot of post-modernists (or, to be more correct, people who *call* themselves “post-modern”) who don’t bother with attribution because they don’t believe that plagiarism is even possible, since “nobody really creates anything original anyhow, Shakespeare stole plots blah blah blah.”

    They toss around words like “deconstruction” and “death of the author” without having any idea of what these literary criticism theories were actually talk about, and use them to justify self-indulgent snark and outright theft.

    It’s enough to turn anyone who cares about modern artistic movements off critical theory altogether.

    (Whoops, I went off into a bit of a rant there, didn’t I? Sorry about that!)

  6. Kate Hewitt
    Jan 10, 2014 @ 11:00:58

    It is distressing to me that it is fast becoming the norm to pay for reviews, or even just ask friends or family to write reviews for you, even if they haven’t read the book. No one seems to blink an eye at this. I’ve never paid for a review or asked someone who hasn’t read my book to post a review, and yet, bizarrely, I have some reviews of my books that read like paid ones. Things like’ great product! Came quickly!’ or five star reviews where it is painfully obvious they have no idea what the book is about, and even mention names of characters who are not in the book. Since I haven’t solicited these reviews, I am *really* curious as to why people are posting them–and I’d like to get them removed, since they look fake to the average reader.

  7. Joy
    Jan 10, 2014 @ 11:01:12

    @Lynne Connolly: ““This is the best book I’ve ever read” says US Today author who happens to have the same publisher as Newbie Writer.”

    I’ve always gone on the assumption that this is an excerpt from a sentence that went more like: “If I had read nothing else in this genre, I might say that this is the best book I’ve ever read, but I’ve actually read other books, and it isn’t.”

  8. Sirius
    Jan 10, 2014 @ 11:17:30

    @hapax: Yeah, Shakespeare wrote fanfiction and so can we, don’t you know? Every time I see that explanation I want to throw something against the wall, repeatedly so.

    And yes, we need more paid reviews too. Sigh. Distressing.

  9. Willaful
    Jan 10, 2014 @ 11:31:09

    There have always been unpaid phoney reviews, bizarrely enough! I used to rage against a well known review service that used volunteers — some examples I saw were a “review” that was simply the advertising insert that came with the book, and one that got the sex of the main character wrong. (A girl with an ambiguous name — obviously a misinterpretation of the back cover blurb.) The saddest part was that no one ever gave a damn. I felt like the only person on the internet who cared about the integrity of reviews.

  10. Sirius
    Jan 10, 2014 @ 11:37:26

    @Willaful: Huh, that’s interesting, so basically they were doing same thing as paid fake reviews – writing the review without reading the book? Funnily enough that never entered my mind that such services may exist too :). I mean, I get that friends and family of the author may do that, but so strangers will bother without any award. Interesting and yeah very annoying.

  11. Sunita
    Jan 10, 2014 @ 11:54:08

    @hapax: Riiiiight … and feel free to rant away, but it is still useful to distinguish between the terms. That was my only point. Accusing the blogger of “throwing around” the term plagiarism when the term is not incorrect in context doesn’t make sense.

    As I know you know, appropriation has been part of art for a long time, long before these Young Folk On The Internet started saying nothing was original.

    @Sirius: @Willaful: Never underestimate the desire of people to see their name in a public forum, irrespective of how many people will actually notice.

  12. hapax
    Jan 10, 2014 @ 12:44:07

    @Sunita: Yes, of course!

    Sorry, it’s been a button-pushing kind of day. :-(

  13. Sunita
    Jan 10, 2014 @ 13:50:10

    @hapax: It’s January, you are entitled to rant. I am short-fused from too much snow and not enough fresh air. ;)

  14. Tiffany
    Jan 11, 2014 @ 01:28:19

    Great posts! Seriously interesting and even as a reviewer I wasn’t aware of the fact that people pay for reviews. That little FTC disclaimer that many blogs like mine have on them stating that they are not paid to review makes a difference to me. It means integrity and honesty. If someone is being paid to review a book, how can I trust what they have to say?

  15. Carolyne
    Jan 11, 2014 @ 07:57:17

    @Lynne Connolly:

    “This is the best book I’ve ever read” says US Today author who happens to have the same publisher as Newbie Writer.

    To be fair, those are the authors who 1) the publishing house can easily contact and ask to take the time to read and comment on a book, and 2) won’t get their publisher miffed by blurbing another house’s book.

    I think I’d start ignoring blurbs from authors who blurb too much and give everyone the same sort of nonspecific wording–a generic “it’s a great book” as opposed to a specific reason why she liked it that I can relate to the type of books she herself writes, and whether I like those. But I don’t have to start ignoring the blurbs because I already do ignore them. I’d rather read review blogs that I’ve come to know and like!

  16. Lindsay
    Jan 11, 2014 @ 18:42:06

    Speaking of book blurbs, I saw one today with a typo in it and felt awful for both the blurbed author and the one whose book it was on the front cover of! It was Never Have I Ever, and looking at Amazon etc it has been removed from the cover image — unfortunately it’s on all the copies at our bookstore. Oof. I don’t even know what people do in that situation.

  17. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Oh, no, not time to come up with another linkity title already?!
    Jan 17, 2014 @ 02:01:25

    […] Book and publishing news from Dear Author. […]

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