Become a Fan
Do you remember the Made in USA promotional concept that used to be touted so proudly at Wally-World? Do you also remember when it began to dawn on you that that statement was no longer exactly the truth?
Welcome to the new world of book reviews! There are a zillion books now being released using technology and marketing that did not exist in 1997, and every author of these books is looking for someone (anyone?) to review his or her new contribution to the World's Greatest Novel Contest. Where there is a buck to be made, there is an American ready to make it. No, these reviews are not actually sweated out of children in China like the entire electronics department at Wally-World, but they may as well be. There are at least seven types of sources for reviews of the multitude of POD and small-press books. Don't forget the many new, individual authors who have come upon the brilliant idea to create their own imprints just so the potential reviewers and booksellers will not recognize the publisher's name. I don't have much respect for this sneaky little horde, but that's another story. (1) There are the traditional print sources that will laugh as they take advantage of the author's desperation by selling her book on the Used page at Amazon for selfish profit. If you think they want to read your latest iUniverse book, I have a bridge to sell you. (2) There are a few well-established online sources that might be interested, if you're very lucky or put Anna Nicole Smith's name in the title. (3) There are numerous small, genre sites that will review your book if it meets their specifications and interests. Some of them will even post a copy of the review at Amazon, or allow the author to do so. (4) There are the genuine sweatshop equivalent pay-for-review sites. Many of these disguise their real purpose by offering free reviews, too, but how accurate can these free reviews be? If it walks like a duck.... (5) There are reviewers at Amazon that post thousands of reviews. Are they paid? Who knows. Have they actually read every book they review? Who knows. (6) How many of the reviews posted at Amazon and elsewhere are by friends and relatives of the authors? How many of these have actually read the books? (7) At the end of the trail, there is the De Facto POD Review Ring. The reviews of POD books at girlondemand.blogspot.com and iuniversebookreviews.blogspot.com and the other Ring members have nothing in common with Chinese sweatshops, the profit motive, or favors from friends. These two blog sites have very little in common with each other, either, and there is nothing wrong with choice or variety. Each site handles the task of slush pile management with a methodology indigenous to the goals set by each of the website proprietors. POD-dy's site requires the author to request a review via an electronic submission of the material. If POD-dy likes the first line of the first page, she may read the rest of the page. If she likes the first page, she may read the first chapter. A very few of the books submitted to her are actually read to the end, and a very few of these receive reviews posted on the website. In contrast, Tabitha explains many detailed elements required for review acceptance. When a request is received, the author and her book are immediately researched online to see if the requirements are met. Once these are found to be satisfactory, Tabitha notifies the author for a copy of the actual book to be submitted. As a reader, I would not hesitate to accept whatever book has been reviewed by Tabitha or POD-dy as having a genuine Made-in-the-USA label. Much like those ever-more-elusive reviews in established publications, the books have actually been read with critical eyes by POD-dy and Tabitha. More and more of the reviews of POD books we see from those other sources every day may actually be coming from China.