Bookmachine | Faking it: When book reviews goes bad

BookMachine_logoA moment of great excitement has fallen upon me: I have a regular column!  Every other Monday, I will be posting over on the Bookmachine blog about publishing, social media, and the future of media industries.  Pretty gnarly, huh?

Here’s an excerpt of my first article, to read more head over to the Bookmachine blog.

At the FutureBook Conference 2014, Orna Ross presented a Big Idea to publishing: the new Ethical Author code from the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).  A week later, it was the theme of #FutureChat, where it became apparent that some of the biggest ethical quandaries for authors concern review practices.

What is the ethical author code?

Reviews are a crucial part of any publicity campaign, and sourced in ethical ways, they’re great tools to market your content with. A positive book review can help persuade someone your content is good enough to purchase. Multiple complimentary reviews in different places or from different sources assist in making a product memorable. Quotes from reviews make good content on social media and repeated mentions of your title can help make it a trending subject online.

Conversely, bad reviews can undo your other marketing and publicity efforts. But surely even a bad review is not an excuse for an author to stalk or commit acts of physical violence against the offending reviewer, right? Wrong.  [READ MORE]

‘John Saturnall’s Feast’ by Lawrence Norfolk

John Saturnall's FeastIn an attempt to embrace the changing times, it’s not very often that I recommend specifically buying a book in print anymore, but John Saturnall’s Feast is really worth getting a physicla copy of. If you can, get it in hardback. The design team worked a charm on this book, with crinkle-edged pages and sumptuous illustrations, that all go toward making the reading experience. But beyond that, this is a genuinely fabulous read: well-paced, well-written, well-characterised, and with an enchanting hint of destiny.

There are two protagonists in this novel: the first is the orphan-boy John Saturnall and the second one is food. Left with nothing after the death of his mother, John Saturnall is taken into the 1620s kitchen of a grand manor house. Living through times of great political upheaval and cooking feasts for both peasant and king, John Saturnall is a fire-filled protagonist whose passions for food and love light up the pages of the book.

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‘The Adjacent’ by Christopher Priest

gollancz-cover-for-the-adjIf you like novels which spoon-feed story and tie up all the loose ends in the final chapter, don’t read this book. If you want to read something to relax, wind-down and stop using your brain, don’t read this book. If you want to read a couple of pages before bedtime, don’t read this book.

If you like riddles, being gripped and staying up till five in the morning reading, only to find out that you have to bully your sleep-deprived mind into figuring out what the hell just happened, read this book.  The Adjacent has got a lot of flack from critics for this obscureness, but I loved it, and would highly recommend it as a quantum-physics sci-fi mind bender!

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