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To Book Review
Or Not To Book Review

/

QUESTION:

I'm always answering other people's questions but today, I'm going to ask one instead.

A few years ago (2008-ish) I wrote some book reviews, posted them on my blog (the big 10 year old one with 6,000+ posts on it), posted them on a Squidoo lens, posted them on Space Dock 13 (the old original web site, not the new one still being built), and posted them on LibraryThing and Amazon. They were just random reviews of books I had read, some fiction, some non-fiction. Each review was 500+ words including details of what I did and did not like about everything in the books in question. There were maybe 15 or 20 books in all.  There was no motivation in any of this other than the fact that I read the books, liked them, and had nothing to say on my blog that week, so spent the week yapping about how much I had enjoyed reading these books. I had never reviewed books before that week and have never reviewed books since than either.

In the few weeks to follow, two of the authors of the books I had reviewed, contacted me to request I review other books of theirs, stating that in the days following my writing those reviews, they had seen a dramatic boost in sales (apparently due to the fact that I have a very large WordPress, FB and Twitter following and I had posted links to my reviews on WordPress, which bounced them to Twitter, which in turn shot them over to FB, which means that close to 20,000 people ended up potentially seeing those reviews.)

I declined, stating that I was not a professional book reviewer, I was simply someone who had a week of nothing to do and reviewed a few of my favorite books to pass the time.

Skip ahead a few years.

Since posting those reviews, I have been contacted by a few dozen or so authors, who stated they saw the old blog posts, where blown away by the in depth method I used at reviewing books and asked if I would review their books as well. In each case I declined, stating as before, I'm not a book reviewer, my blog does not make a habit of reviewing books.

With the server crash of Space Dock 13's host last July and it's being rebuilt as eelkat.com on a dedicated server able to host the massive bandwith required to host a site with 6,000+ pages full of 20,000 word blog posts, articles, images, and dancing banana gifs...I have been receiving requests from authors stating "You have a talent for reviewing books, people read what you say and than act on your words. Your words have more power than you are aware, please consider adding a book review section to your website."

My question is this:

Should I consider doing this? Should I consider setting up a section of my website just for reviewing books?

I certainly read enough books to be able to do such a thing.

Well, it occurred to me that the people who review books full time on their blogs, they do just that: reviewing books is their full time job. It is their source of income. They are being paid to write reviews. The past couple of weeks I have been asking around to various book review bloggers and on writer's forums, how does one go about getting paid to write book reviews.

In some cases they will review books they happen to read in their free time, and like I had done all those years ago, just randomly write a review because they felt like it.

However, most book bloggers I talked to the past few weeks have informed me that they rarely pick the books they review. They set up a guideline stating the type of books they will review and authors contact them. The authors than pay them to read the book and write a review.

I asked, how do you determine the pay, and a few reviewers had created charts and put a PayPal button on their blog, but in most cases, they pointed me to Fiverr, stating that they create a book reviewing gig on Fiverr and the author contacts them and pays for the review via that site.

Well, in researching this whole business of reviewing books, I also came across some shady downsides:

#1: I discovered that there are "review brokers" who have hundreds of people they hire out to, each with an Amazon account, and author hire the broker paying for 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, etc reviews to be posted on Amazon. The broker than contacts their "reviewers" who each log in on amazon and post a fake glowing review, usually rather short, under 100 words, and not giving any details, just stating "I love it", without saying why.

#2: I also discovered that on Fiverr, there is a sad trend in fake review gigs. For $5, you the author write your own review of your book and than you pay the "reviewer" to post it via their Amazon account. Most offer to post it as a 5 star review, but I saw a few which stated they'd post it as a 4 star review so it would "look more real". A couple of them posted samples of a past "successful gig" and I went to the Amazon page to look at it and was horrified to see the book had seven 5 star reviews, all of which said almost identical wording, were obviously written by the author, yet each was posted from a different account.

I found this last one particularly disturbing, because it is nothing more than the author writing their own reviews. Well that's just cheating your readers.

I went to various writers' forums AW, KB, KDP, etc, and did a search for "book review" threads. I found very mixed feelings on this. Some authors feel it's okay to ask for reviews if you are submitting free copies of your books to a blogger but say paying for reviews on Fiverr is unethical.

Others see nothing wrong with paying for Fiverr reviews if the reviewer puts the review on their blog or Goodreads but not Amazon.

Others are okay with paying for reviews no matter where they end up.

And still others are dead set against asking for reviews (free or paid) altogether.

There were a few threads where all out battles were argued between the authors on each side of the issue.

Many of these threads posted to blog posts filled with sordid accusations and long lists of author names, decrying the fact that all the authors on the list were crooks and criminals because they had paid for reviews.

It's enough to make one's head spin, trying to sort it all out.

Well, my question once again is: Should I or should I not set up a book reviewing segment for my site, while it is being rebuilt?


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The Dungeons & Dragons Articles:



Meet My D&D Player Characters:

 The Chaotic Neutral Mind Flayer Wizard-Priest

(ZooLock the Great)

Lawful Good Space Cat

(Empress EelKat)

The Chaotic Evil Faerie (Phooka/Unicorn) Illusionist Necromancer

(King Gwallmaiic aka BoomFuzzy the Unicorn aka The Elf Eater of Pepper Valley)

The Chaotic Good Gnome Illusionist/Thief

(BeaLuna the Faerie Hunter)

The Chaotic Neutral Half-Dwarf/Half-Troll Barbarian

(Bullgaar the Vulgar)


Sadly I've not played in a D&D game group since I was beaten up at Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) November 14, 2013 and left paralyzed for 5 months, relearned to walk for 18 months, and am still now in 207 crippled and with very limited mobility. A 4 door white truck left the scene.

The FBI believes this attacker to be the same person who blew up my house with a bomb on October 18, 2006.

The 4-door white truck has Maine plate #: 1459 US.

More information can be found HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE.

If you know the driver of this truck, they are wanted for 2 counts of attempted murder, the bombing of my house, the kidnapping of my cats, the murder/beheading of my cousin, and more than 200 terrorist attacks on LGBTQ residents of Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Please give any information you have to the identity of this very dangerous criminal to:

FBI Agent 
Andy Drewer 
@ (207) 774-9322  



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Please Note: The Quaraun Series Is Rated M18+ and you must be 18 or older to buy it.

Most pages on EelKat.com are about writing Yaoi, and thus probably is NSFW; reader discretion is advised.

Why is the Quaraun Series Rated M18+?


Top 50 Most Visited Pages

  1. Medieval Servants: Their jobs and their place in historical fiction.
  2. Amphibious Aliens: The Story of Etiole & The World's Most Haunted Car
  3. On being a handicapped CosPlayer at PortCon Maine 2017
  4. Flamboyant Nipples: The KKK's New Gay Hating Site About Old Orchard Beach
  5. The GoldenEagle: An Auto-biography of the World's Most Haunted Car
  6. How Long is 50,000 Words?
  7. Writing Mute Characters
  8. Autism, Asperger, PTSD, & Mad Cow: What is wrong with Quaraun? (Writing A Clinically Insane Character Accurately)
  9. Writing Dares Random Generator
  10. Stephen King's The Thinner and The Gypsies Of Old Orchard Beach, Maine
  11. The Saco River Curse
  12. Don't put flyers on people's cars...
  13. Our Primary Site Topic Is Small Penis? Reaching #1 on Page 1 of Google.
  14. Why Crude Adult Comedy and Pink Humor Yaoi Is Not Erotica
  15. Quaraun Free To Read Online Complete Chapter Index In Chronological Order
  16. Albino Races - Moon Elves In The Quaraun Series
  17. Help FBI End Anti-Gay White Power Terrorist Attacks of Old Orchard Beach
  18. Autism, Asperger's, And The Danger of The Self-Diagnosis
  19. 600 Pages: Epic Big Super Sized Novels and Why You Should Never Write One
  20. The Jiggler & The G-String Teddy Bears | The Adventures of Quaraun The Insane
  21. Spell Casting Side Effects: Magic In Quaraun's Universe | Author Interview
  22. Necromancy: Fact Vs Fiction; Or How Can You Be A Necromancer In Real Life?
  23. The Dazzling Razzberry aka EelKat's Autism Awareness Car
  24. The Gypsies of Old Orchard Beach - page 1 (Online Release of Banned Book)
  25. Markiplier Jacksepticeye and Pewdiepie Play Resident Evil 7
  26. What Type of Music Does A Gypsy Listen To? My Top 10 Favorite Bands
  27. World's Most Haunted Car Merchandise
  28. Is It a Novel, a Novella, a Short Story or Something Else?
  29. I Am Not GhoulSpawn | Excerpt From Rose Garden of The Pink Necromancer
  30. BoomFuzzy Chapter 1 (Novel Excerpt - Quaraun The Insane)
  31. Psychedelics In A 'High' High Fantasy World (High Elves Getting High)
  32. World-building In The Quaraun Series: Creating a Fantasy World
  33. City of The Slushies | Chapter 7 | Quaraun The Insane
  34. How to Handle Writing Fantasy-Horror That Features Violence Against Children
  35. How To Write A Stage Play Script Frenzy 2010 Writing Dialogue
  36. Quaraun GhoulSpawn and The Lich Lord's Lover: The Lover's Triangle
  37. An Elf Gone Mad: The Rise of The Pink Necromancer
  38. A Field of Poppies On The Road To Witch Pond | Summoner of Darkness
  39. The Banshee Sisters: Bean-Nighe and Ben-Neeyah In the Swamp of Death
  40. Amphibious Aliens: My health since the stroke and Etiole . . .
  41. Beware of White Men In Gypsy Clothing: Fake Psychic Scams
  42. Online Income: The Reality vs The Fantasy
  43. OtherKin: My 30th Anniversary of Being Transgender
  44. Autism and the Stigmas - Why Can’t You Accept Me As Me?
  45. Old Orchard Beach Hate Crimes
  46. Suicide, Rape, and Abuse In The Quaraun Series
  47. Writing Racist Characters VS The Ku Klux Klan In Old Orchard Beach, Maine
  48. A Gallery of Fetish Shoes
  49. Custom Leggings - Designs By EelKat
  50. EGL: Elegant Gothic Lolita

Where to get ideas

  1. Story Prompts & Writing Dares
  2. Ideas, Ideas, Ideas (Where Do You Get Them?)
  3. Daily Writing Prompts June 2017

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The Quaraun Series On Amazon:

I am wondering why has Amazon moved the Quaraun books to the category "Transgender Romance" and also "Gay Erotica"? The base story is a deeply depressed, suicidal, drug addict Elf who's lover commit suicide and he's trying not to do the same. It's an old Elf in a tavern, monologuing a lot of flashbacks and back story scenes of his youth. These stories are dark, bloody, angsty, full of drug use, murder, rape, Medieval torture, mental/physical/emotional abuse, and references to depression and suicide - no romance in it, unless you count the occasional (and usually brutally violent) rape scenes that show up in nearly every volume - sorry - no clue what Amazon is thinking or why they moved these to Romance and Erotica, but these books are NOT even close to being Romance or Erotica on any level at all. When I published these books I put them in "Dark Fantasy" and "Yaoi". If they show up in any category other then "Dark Fantasy" and "Yaoi", it's because Amazon put them there without my authorization or approval.

~EelKat