The OF Blog: Remember when I went HAM in December 2011 on perceived pressure from publishers?

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Remember when I went HAM in December 2011 on perceived pressure from publishers?

In case you don't, read this link first.  Let the irritation settle in for a little bit, then ready yourself for something that is even stupider than that, likely by a magnitude of 10 or more.  Now read this post from a few days ago that I saw linked on Twitter by Reading in a Single Setting

Are Some People That Ignert?

I'm going to post one of the images from the original blog post here just to make it easier for me to let the bile rise up and the spew all over the paragraphs to come.

Oh, where to start?  It's pretty obvious that this "Aziza Publishing" has no clue at all (wouldn't surprise me if it's a vanity press for this Uzuri Wilkerson author) about that piece of writing called a review.  Reviews are never the property of publishers/authors and if a reviewer is stupid enough to sign over "rights" to use a review, then one might wonder if what that reviewer had written even constitutes a review instead of a promotional piece.

But then it gets worse.  Oh, does it ever!  Granting database, CD-ROM, and DVD transmission rights (What?  There are people who buy CDs these days?) in perpetuity?  Over a piece that's probably going to be a fluff piece designed not to be analytical but to be sycophantic?  I knew some "book bloggers" were getting a bit too close to authors/publishers for there to be any real critical distance, but this would surely be beyond even their ability to put aside any self-decency in order to grovel, right?

Then there is the clause about the "unbiased rating system" and the scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest.  What in the name of the recently-departed Don Cornelius?!?!?  That I have to bust out a multiple interrobang to reveal how I feel about this asinine demand ought to show just how dumb this entire "contract" is.  I would never sign such a stupid thing, but to think that there are people out there that think a review has to be on a Gamepro-style 1-5 ranking (and maybe subcategories for how the characters sigh lovely into each other's ears the trite platitudes of treacly love or domineering quasi-BDSM that have graced us since the days of Harlequin or Gor, if not longer) boggles the mind.

With the fourth part, we progress further into the fine art of the dumbass leading the potentially dumberass.  I am tempted to say, "It should go without saying that...," only to admit that for some, if that were to occur, that they'd have no clue at all (well, that is if they want to genuflect properly and not write a true review) on how to do this according to publisher/author desires.  If I were to describe this purported "contract" in five words for less, it would be "Epitome of incestuous sychophantic suckitude."

The final part speaks for itself.  Now if I could, in 400 words or more, be allowed to ream and eviscerate the sub-moron who thought this was a good idea and that even happy-go-lucky book bloggers/reviewers would agree to such dreck, I might be tempted to agree to a one-time anti-contract arrangement, but alas, I have bigger fish to fry (catfish, in this particular case).  However, if it is not clear by now, these sorts of missives seem to emerge from the gooey, murky depths of online relationships between book commentators (excluding for the most part those who try to emulate older, more independent reviewing models, although they too have their moments, as I'll readily concede), publishing houses (including this growing plague of self-published/vanity presses, print and e-book alike), and authors forced to do most, if not all, of the actual book publicity.  Although I doubt many would sign such a stupidass thing as the "contract" reproduced above, the temerity that some smaller publishing entities have is appalling.  Sometimes, I really think more people should go HAM on those engaging in such questionable practices, as it might make things a bit more bearable for the rest of us who want to read commentaries on books that aren't laced with the razors of publicist/author-approved platitudes.


S.M.D. said...

That's insane...

I've never seen anything like that before. The worst thing I ever had done to me was a publisher tried to send me a book for review (can't remember what it was now), but they thought I was going to pay for postage. It was never discussed, and I've never heard of that done to a reviewer before...Plus, I was a poor college student, so $8 was kind of not worth it.

It makes you wonder what people are thinking when they come up with these policies. But then you just have to remember that there are suckers everywhere. Someone probably fell for that contract...

James said...

On the upside, that blog you linked reviews books and sex toys and I feel the compulsive need to subscribe. Unfortunately, I have no interest in romance novels. More book blogs need to review sex toys though.

Anubis said...

Bullshit comes in all forms and sizes. Right now, the German blogosphere is laughing its ass off because a small publishing house threatened to sue a blogger over a negative review. Seems like the publisher saw the review as an attempt to smear the book, because the blogger said she couldn't bear to read more than 90 out of 900 pages (and she's right, it's incredibly poor writing), and because she tagged it as fantasy, while the author (who calls himself John Asht) prefers it to be labelled as "fantastic adventure" or "historical mystery adventure".

The publishing house turned out to be the Asht's personal vanity press, and over a month later Asht published a rant on his own blog, in which he suspects online reviewers to form a kind of syndicate in order to make authors pay for positive reviews.

Well, this is the funny part of the whole thing, but Asht's post also contained a scarcely disguised rape threat (now deleted but documented on screenshots) against the blogger. And he was shit-headed and stupid enough to link it on half a dozen publishing-related Facebook pages.

The shitstorm this caused has been going on for more than a week now. So yes, sometimes it really leaves you dumbstruck about what some "smaller publishing entities" are able to do.

K.R. Smith said...

"R/A agrees and understands that they will use an unbiased rating system and each Review/Article must include a rating from 1 through 5; 1 the lowest and 5 the highest."

This is the second time I've seen this kind of weirdness (though the other time wasn't in the context of a book review). Do lots of people really have a hard time understanding that putting something on a numerical scale doesn't make it "unbiased" or "objective"?

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