Introducing Jessica’s Cranky Corner: Dirty Bloggers

I’m a naturally perky, bubbly, fun-loving girl. I love sunshine, furry woodland creatures and lollipops. But sometimes (typically on a full moon) I get royally PISSED! There are things in this world that really get my goat, and sometimes I just want share my angry rants with the world atop a mountain with a giant megaphone.  But alas, we only have scrubby hills in Austin and only the squirrels and grackles would be subjected to my soapbox tirades.

While enduring a painfully obnoxious scene at a free concert (picture gaggles of high school kids with iPhones), I got to thinking…the pen is more powerful than the almighty sword. So why not share my cantankerous ramblings with my lovely readers? When the mood strikes me, I’m going to vent about an everyday situation that probably pisses you off as well!

For my inaugural Jessica’s Cranky Corner post, I would like to vent about the seedy underbelly of book blogging.

When I created Chick Lit Café just a mere two years ago, I had no idea there were so many unwritten rules of decorum among my fellow bloggers.  Don’t emulate another blogger’s meme without permission. Don’t claim an alias without doing a thorough Google search first. The list goes on and on. For more about this, check out the sassy and unabashedly candid Bookish Brunette. This girl is always on the up and up about hot-button issues in the blogosphere.

As you can see, there’s a lot of room for error in the book blogging community. After the Story Siren plagiarism debacle, we all need to keep in mind that our actions will have consequences. So when I discovered a group of chick lit bloggers are actually charging authors $95 for “favorable” reviews, I was completely flabbergasted! Call me crazy, but book blogging should not be a moneymaker!

Not only did these yahoos try to scam the author into paying for a dishonest review, they also threatened to take legal action after she blew the whistle about their shady dealings on Twitter. Wait, what? They’re going to sue her for telling the truth? That makes a heck of a lot of sense – NOT!

The author, Michele Gorman posted a detailed a report of her correspondence with the bloggers on her site. Get a load of their “advice.”

“You are young and need to learn a lot about life still, especially when it comes to business practices. What you are doing is causing others (especially the people that matter) to see you as a trouble maker, and then they won’t want to work with you.”

Wow! Oh and it gets worse. Check this out:

Have you ever heard of kirkus, they charge $425.00 -$575.00 per review. There are a lot of companies that charge for reviews. Educate yourself before harrassing us next time. We have the ability to track IP addresses, so I would think twice before you begin to defame our name…That is illegal, and we will take action. Our attorney has been notified! And before you go accusing us of anything, open your eyes, our disclosure link is right there on our home page.

Here’s a fun fact: Kirkus reviews, distributed to bookstores and libraries, are unpaid. Kirkus Indie reviews are paid, and only go to a segregated, less visible part of their website.

In my humble opinion, the book blogosphere should be a greed-free zone. We should be so lucky to win the attention of authors like Michele Gorman and get free books in the mail! My “payment” is the community that I’ve built with authors and fellow bloggers. When authors offer to send me a book or post a comment under a review, I feel like a rock star! These people work hard and produce some quality books that sometimes, in this sad state of publishing, slip into obscurity. But sadly, I have no doubt some indie authors – desperate to get their name out there – are paying these losers for “favorable” reviews.

Hopefully after this sad news trickles through the online literary community, more authors will be savvy enough to take a pass on these money-grubbing turkeys.  The author was gracious enough to not disclose the name of the shady blog, which is a lot more than what I would have done! I do give her mad props for raising awareness about these sleazeballs.

What do you think? Is it cool for bloggers to charge for reviews? Feel free to post a cranky comment!

10 thoughts on “Introducing Jessica’s Cranky Corner: Dirty Bloggers

  1. Lolita

    That’s pretty awful. I base a lot of my book selection on “reviews” of people that I feel have similiar taste as me. I trust that they are leaving a truthful opinion of what they think of the storyline and authors style after reading the book. This is especially true of new authors. If a “reviewer” is being paid for a favorable rating, How do I even know they read the darn thing?! Furthermore, how do I know that the blogger/reviewer even has a taste or preference other than money?

    1. I agree! Honesty and integrity are key ingredients in a successful book blog. What’s the point if you’re just posting reviews for books you don’t even like? It’s very misleading to the readers who read OBJECTIVE book blogs rather than marketing websites. As Michele points out in this post, there’s a huge difference between a marketing website and a book blog.

  2. Jessica – Couldn’t agree more! A few weeks ago, I did receive a note from one of the ‘girls’ who wanted to promote my book. I wrote her back (this was before MG took on the ‘girls’ … and explained that the website was misleading, as it didn’t include information about charging for reviews. Of course, I refused to participate unless they waived the fee.

    The current backlash should be a lesson for anyone else who thinks it’s right to charge for reviews. xx, Lauren

  3. Oh no they didn’t try to charge Lauren Clark for a review! That really gets my goat! They are really missing out on some quality books and a genuine friendship with a wonderful author. Good for you for turning them down!

  4. Rebecca Pringle

    So glad to see the Cranky Corner & I can’t wait for your next post 🙂 I can’t believe people charge for “favorable” reviews! I’ll stick with checking out your un-biased and un-paid reviews for my future selections.

    1. I know, right? Totally bogus! The good news is that these sleazoids are few and far between and most of the bloggers out there are the good guys! Thanks for being a loyal patron of Chick LIt Cafe. 🙂

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