Buying Reviews & Harlan Coben Says

Two quick things: On Facebook today I saw Michael Kelly link to this ridiculousness. Now, this isn't surprising at all -- I've seen similar "services" offered elsewhere -- but every time I see something like this it makes me sick. I mean, I can't decide what's more pathetic -- the "reviewers" doing this work or the writers desperate enough to shill out a few bucks for a fake review. Yes, yes, reviews are important, but most semi-intelligent consumers can spot a fake review from a mile away. When ten people give your book all five-star ratings, and none of those people have ever reviewed anything before, it does raise some eyebrows, ya know?

Finally, Harlan Coben has a new thriller out called Stay Close, which I'm looking forward to reading at some point (my TBR pile, as I'm sure is the case with you, is out of control). The Wall Street Journal published an article on him a few days ago worth reading. A lot of writers bitch and moan about promotion, saying all they want to do is write, and while that would be nice, the truth is these days writing has become maybe half the writer's job. But as you can see from many of the major authors out there, they're heavily involved in their own marketing too, which makes sense, because they understand publishing is, first and foremost, a business, and the more readers (i.e., consumers), the better. Anyway, Harlan Coben has two great (and very true) quotes I want to share with you:

  • "The most annoying and full- of- crap thing a writer says is, I write only for myself, I don't care if anyone reads it. A writer without a reader doesn't exist."
  • "Only bad writers think they're good."

Now read the rest of the article.