PW review sellout – goin’ K-Mart

**Warning** this is a rant

Profit center…the magic words that delight the bean counters who worry about keeping the lights on. It’s a fact that magazines are hurting. Many have closed their doors, shuttered their windows and gone home. Others are looking for ways to increase their bottom line in order to keep the wolves at bay.

I’ve had the annoying encounter of being invited to PAY for a friggin’ review by a magazine, which I politely demurred (no, really, I was polite)… to which the editor came back at me with slings and arrows for not taking out ad space in her mag – something she’s done to numerous other publishers. As long there is breath in my lungs, I will never send them another ARC.

Ok, so we have mags making money off of paid reviews, or blackmailing publishers into taking out ads. But now we have the illustrious Publishers Weekly writing a soppy “we lurve you self pubbies” article that offers to list self pubbed books for $149. What squeezes the jam out of my jelly doughnut is that self pubbed authors will FLOCK at this chance in the mistaken belief that this will sell books.


Nothing sells book other than creating demand, and that requires distribution, marketing, promotion, and a damn good book. Many, many self pubbed books aren’t damn good. Most aren’t anywhere near good. They’re raw, green, unschooled, poorly written things that need a lot of work. So authors are going to see the offer and think, “PW? Myohmy, hello fame and fortune!” and put good money after bad.

Sorry, but I think it’s irresponsible of PW to stoop this low. I realize magazines need to stay in business, but the self pubbed author is especially vulnerable to all kinds of riff raff because they have no advocate. And it makes me cranky. It also makes me cranky that a magazine that has worked very hard to become the premier pubby magazine in the industry has gone K-Mart.

Why now, PW? You’ve ignored self pubbed authors for all these years, refusing to review or acknowledge their existence, but by gollygosh when your own bottom line looks a bit too red, what do you do? Prey on the very group you’ve disdained for years. Meh. It makes me choke on my margarita because little good will come of this.

And you know what? This disturbing trend that PW, Kirkus, ForeWord, and others are buying into will change the face of reviews. They are cheapening themselves and selling out while great review sites like BiblioBuffet rock it by maintaining their integrity and dignity.

Self pubbers – save your money and use it for your promotion instead.

I couldn’t be more disappointed.

9 Responses to PW review sellout – goin’ K-Mart

  1. angie says:

    A-men! Bluelight specials. Ug.

  2. Lauren says:

    OMG, thank you for that compliment, Lynn. I just blogged about this too:

  3. Sort of gives you goosebumples considering our phone conversation, eh?

  4. Lauren says:

    Indeed! Amazing. And discouraging.

  5. R.J. Keller says:

    I’m a self-publishing author. I share your concern that there are insecure writers who will be taken in by this, but I can also report that most self-pubbers I know (and I know a lot of ’em) are smart enough to see this for what it is. We’re spreading the word and educating as many newbies as we can, so hopefully there will be considerably less flocking than PW hoped for.

  6. RJ, all I can say is THANK GOD!! Making money off the backs of authors in this way is unconscionable. Good on you. And best of luck to you.

  7. NinjaFingers says:

    Brilliant. So, now a PW review won’t mean what it used to, and I always considered them to be a good source. Fantastic.

  8. R.J. Keller says:

    Thank you, Lynn!

  9. zoewinters says:

    I, too am an indie author.

    Unfortunately, anyone can publish their rough drafts, which means people like me and R.J. Keller have much more stigma to fight through.

    I was happily surprised to see several threads in the Writer Cafe for Kindleboards and so many indie authors spreading the word about this BS to educate those who might fall for it. I was also pleasantly surprised to see the fallout on the PW announcement page itself.

    I guess this assumption that indies are all “bitter morons” is something that even PW has fallen for. One would think after the Harlequin Horizons debacle and the fact that many self-publishing authors opposed it because they were trying to sell self-publishing services to their slush pile, that PW could buy a clue.

    Maybe they can’t afford a clue until they’ve scammed indie authors out of $149 a pop.

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