Authors Held at Gunpoint

I received a note from a friend recently that asked me a very disturbing question. She wanted to know if I would offer my opinion on whether or not I thought she should pay to have her books reviewed.

It seems there is an independent bookstore that requires “certain” authors to have their books reviewed by this specific service in order to be carried in their store. They have been carrying the author’s books, but now have decided that they will remove the books unless the author meets this new requirement. Furthermore, the author must PAY to have those reviews done.

Once the reviews have been done, the store will then take the books into the store on consignment only. It would seem that the store also receives a fee for the books reviewed.

Now, I fully understand that some stores (mostly chain stores) charge for shelf placement, but even under those circumstances it is prime shelf space, not the difference between in the store or not.

Is it just me or have the chances for an author actually selling books become as dangerous as driving through gang territory? There seems to be a constant barrage of bullets flying from all directions determined to take out the authors that some booksellers deem unworthy.

What of the readers? Don’t they deserve to choose the books they want and not have to settle just for what booksellers tell them the should read?


6 responses to “Authors Held at Gunpoint

  1. Reggie and all,

    NEVER EVER be that desperate. Do not pay for something that has no true potential for return. You should not have to pay an extra fee for being in a store, that is why they get a discount in the first place. That is where they make their money. Remember that!!!

    Your money is far better spent at a festival or convention where you can meet readers face to face and let them see how swell you are.

    Seriously, don’t let me hear about you paying for reviews. I mean it, I’ll find you…LOL

  2. That’s just it, Reggie. The store doesn’t give the review. They are sending the authors to another company for the review. And honestly, who the hell are these reviewers that their review would justify it for the money and then the added consignment fees. The kicker is, the bookstore is doing nothing except issuing the ultimatum, someone else does the review and gives the store a kickback.

    It is NOT a bookstores place to decide where a boook is reviewed. The store can say whose books they carry, but in the same right, that authors friends and family and fans can say whether or not that store is worth a tinker’s damn to bother going to.

    I would think bookstores would worry about bad word of mouth for them by treating authors sthis way.

  3. Requires a review AND gets a kickback for said review? And if the author doesn’t pay up, the book doesn’t get carried?

    Talk about extortion.

    I’ve been noticing a lot of stuff like this cropping up more and more, and it’s a very disapointing development. I know times are hard, but good grief!

    Someone needs to market author bullet-proof vests. 😉

  4. I guess as a form of advertisement, a store givving two thumbs up could increase sales, and a review of the book would be needed. Of course the store owners are giving their time and effort in this review which might be concidered worth paying for. Indy authors need to be givin a leg up in the industry or they just fall through the cracks. I see many ebooks offered on the front page of amazon which is the equivalent of end shelves at the book stores to catch the eye of the buyer. I don’t know if the authors have to pay to get their book listed on that front page. As an unpublished author I really can’t say from experience but if it sells books and builds word of mouth than it might be worth it to pay for a review. Especially if good things are said about your novel and it is recommended and compared with other great novels in the same genre. I would pay to have Stephen King give me a good review to put on my cover.

    Reggie Ridgway

    author of
    In the Midnight Hour

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