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book gourmet

First Course – The Amuse Bouche

Liam’s Lessons (by Alyssa Bailey) – Liam and Jocelyn have a second chance at love, but many obstacles to face, including Liam’s Lessons.

Cherry’s Jubilee (by Maggie Ryan) – Can a titled man understand the reality for a woman born to a lower class?

Cara Bristol 0914 smallSecond Course – The Appetizer

I went ‘round and ‘round with myself, trying to pick out a good book to feature in this segment this week. There are so many to choose from. I’m going to focus for a few moments on Cara Bristol’s body of work. From the “Rod and Cane Society” books, through her sci-fi books (Breeder and Stranded with the Cyborg are just two examples), she always provides excellent stories of great quality. If you like a good book you can really get into, books with spanking, romance, sex, and a plot line that doesn’t leave you hanging, I highly recommend any of Cara’s books.

cover the blacksmith's brideThird Course — The Entrée

You might have noticed from my Work In Progress Meter that I’m currently working on two books. This is unusual for me. I generally work on one book and do that until it’s complete and a contract is signed, then start another. For some reason — possibly because I’ve had such dismal luck finding drag queens to interview — I’ve gotten to a sticking point with “Fallen Queen.” It’s frustrating and disturbing. I don’t want to make stuff up about these interesting individuals, potentially get it wrong, and insult them. I’ve never been a drag queen, after all. I have been a performer, which gives me an edge, but not much.

So I started on a new book that I’m enthusiastic about: ”The Doctor’s Daughter.” I won’t give too much away here, but I will say it’s a historical spanking romance. The setting might remind you of my book, The Blacksmith’s Bride.

Fourth Course — The Dessert

You might or might not be aware of a kerfuffle in the industry right now. Amazon is suing over one thousand “paid reviewers” who have been falsely claiming to have read books they then leave positive reviews for. The majority of these “reviewers” (I use that term loosely) were found on Fiverr, a low-cost provider of author services on the internet. Fiverr has lots of legitimate businesses in their service, including cover artists, editors, promoters, etc. But, in this case, the reviewers in question were charging $5 for positive reviews. They never bought these books, they were never even given these books, but they left five-star reviews on them, which popped the books up very high in their catagories. It was totally unfair to those of us who actually earn their good reviews, and it’s a practice Amazon had the right and the moral high ground to stop.

I want you to know that I’ve never, ever paid for a review. My publishers sometimes give out Advance Review Copies (ARCs) of my books to get pre-release reviews that can be posted on the book’s first day online, but they are honest reviews. If a reader doesn’t like the ARC book, they have every right to say so. No one puts pressure on them to give reviews of any particular star rating. It is standard practice in the industry to give out these ARCs, and all publishers do it. We all want to start out with good reviews because — let’s face it — Amazon’s algorithm helps sell books with better and more reviews, but it is wrong to pay for those reviews. If you can’t sell the books after they’re online, if you can’t generate good reviews because you have a quality product, if you have to cheat, then you ought to reconsider your writing career.

2 Comments

  1. What a surprise. I came by to read your post about reviews and saw that you’d mentioned my books, thank you!!

    The Amazon book review situation extends beyond the book market. Paid reviews were posted for other products too–that was my understanding from what I heard on the news. It’s just not a good business practice.

    • It’s my pleasure to share your books, Cara. Introducing well-written work to my readers is important to me, and your books qualify big time.

      I agree that paid reviews is a dumb idea. Once you get caught, your credibility as a seller is dead.

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