Book Hub Inc. is a rapidly growing eBook publishing and distribution company looking to form long-lasting relationships with both emerging and established authors and publishers, book reviewers , and avid readers.
I am not ready to publish a book yet, but I like reviewing. I contacted the BookHub, who – letters had been actually signed ‘BookHub’ – sent me a cover letter, then a list of books available for review, then the book itself as a pdf.
The book was non-fiction, I’ll not mention the title because it has already had one reader too many. The book was appalling on many levels, the only professional part about it was the cover – simple but clean-looking title on gray background. The book – $4.99 for digital edition, $19.99 hardback – is 196 pages: 66 pages of the main content plus essays, which served as drafts and in some cases are more detailed than the finished product. No illustrations, no glossary. The content was essentially a non-amusing amateur rant, no fact-checking and no editing before publishing: the pamphlet is full of spelling mistakes.
I wrote a 600 words review in a week – Book Hub warns you in advance, that while there is no deadline, they will ‘remind you’ about your commitment. I sent the letter and received a prompt reply that, while my review is quite good, they will not publish it, because it is negative.
Some may think that a free book is a fair exchange for a review, published or not. But Book Hub charges its clients $150 for two reviews, and as a distributor the site gets the reviewer’s copy for free. $75 per review is not a bad profit for somebody’s work. I bet that quality of an average book on offer is close to that of your high school class essays – literary agents and, after them, publishers go through hundreds if not thousands of manuscripts to find one readable. So the reviewer is doing work of a sieve, and BookHub gets the gold.
Now, I don’t mind being rejected, even when I write for free. What I do mind is when I am not told the truth. Apparently, I should have been able to read between these lines:
If the review is positive, we encourage you to post it on your blog or on the customer review sections of sites like Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
that the Book Hub will pretend that the negative review has never existed . I think that soliciting unpaid reviews, carefully skirting around the fact that honest opinions are not required and refusing to publish what they don’t like as well as disguising ‘marketing material’ as a reviewers’ blog may be a loosing marketing strategy. I do hope that the number of gullible readers is not infinite, unlike the number of graphomaniacs.
I posted my negative review about the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble – I don’t think that the author’s money on marketing were well-spent and he will not become a millionaire.