Paid reviews

I’m pretty sure I’ve had a rant about paid reviews before, but considering the email I received today, I felt the need to have another one. Then I re-read the email, and changed my mind. I’m not going to rant about people who get paid to read a book and then leave fake 5-star reviews, I’ve decided to join them.

The email I got today told me that for $150 + a print and Kindle copy of my book, this person would read and review my book. For $250, they would give me a guaranteed 5-star review. Now I can easily read 10 books a month given the time. (Okay, so I’ve been stuck on Haunted by Kelley Armstrong for weeks now, and I’ve only managed 4 chapters of Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs since I started reading it a couple of weeks ago, but I blame kids and having them at home. Holidays are over, I have time to read again! Yay!!) But say I do read 10 books a month – at $150 a pop (I can’t bring myself to guaranteeing 5-stars, especially if it’s utter rubbish), that’s $1,500 a month for reading and typing a few words on Amazon, then copying and pasting it on Kobo, B&N, GR, and wherever else. Sounds like a dream job to me.

Seriously though, I do understand why writers pay for reviews, but would you really pay $250 for ONE 5-star review that you know is fake?!?!  I couldn’t do that. I like the reviews Seven Dirty Words has had, even the less complimentary ones, because they are honest and help me as a writer to improve and connect with my readers. Plus, from a reader’s perspective, if I knew that someone had paid for a 5-star review, it would put me off buying their books.

I’m not going to say that I’m not in this for the money, fame, and glory because it’s certainly nice. Well, the money is. Fame and glory seem to have skipped me by. But, I don’t write because I want to be paid to sit on my backside in front of a computer. If that was the case, I’d work in telesales. I write because it’s in my blood, and I honestly get withdrawal if I don’t do it. (No, really, I do. I didn’t write anything over the summer holidays and felt sick and shaky – or that could have been 6 weeks with the kids and no break!) Fake reviews would ruin that for me. I’d feel like a sell-out.

Still, saying that… If anyone does want me to pay $X to read their book, email me!!

Genres, Pen Names & Christmas Planning

I’ve quizzed the subject of genres and pen names before, but here I go again.

Seven Dirty Words is pretty much finished now (watch this space!!), and while I am still toying with the idea of writing a sequel or two, my brain is absolutely buzzing with plots.  So here’s the question: Can you write to too many genres?  I think my heart still lies with crime and thrillers, although writing smut is fun and I do have a fascination with the paranormal and fantasy worlds.  But should I venture out of my comfort zone (currently adult / contemporary / erotic romance) and attempt at becoming the next female James Patterson, or perhaps try to rival Kelley Armstrong?  Or should I stay where I am and continue with my envy of E.L. James and her billions?  Decisions, decisions…

Of course, then there is the question of names.  Should I just use my name against any book I write, or like so many other authors, should I choose a pseudonym for different genres?  This is a debate I have with myself on a frequent basis.  As in almost daily.

I have started writing a fantasy / paranormal, which I suppose does have an element of chilling thriller in there.  Or it certainly does in my head.  But writer’s block has struck the Howard household.  I am blaming this on having the last 5 weeks off due to surgery and bed-rest.  Do I struggle on or do I start afresh?  My brain really doesn’t know where to start or end right now.  (Or should that be ‘write’ now??)

Planning for Christmas really isn’t helping matters.  With two young children, trips to see Santa, making and putting up decorations, and secret shopping is taking up plenty of my time.  I know many writers who take a break during the holidays but, as I’ve proven over the past month, taking a break for me means not being able to start again.  I feel a bit like a stalled engine in the freezing cold…  (ooh good analogy.  Nobody steal that.)

Oh well, I guess things will pick up in the New Year and eventually I will make a decision…

Merry Crimbo and Happy New Year to everyone!