Reviewing books that are free
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Author:  Pete [ Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:34 am ]
Post subject:  Reviewing books that are free

A time ago I asked if we should be reviewing books that have sold out, and the opinion of the panel seemed to be that we should.

So what about those that are free to download? Not those where the freebie is a temporary promotion, but cases where free is the default price.

And assume that I mean giveaways from writers with a respectable track record, not self-published authors intent on being an Amazon/Smashwords bestseller no matter what.

Author:  Ray [ Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reviewing books that are free

In principle I'm all for it, though without a kindle or whatnot I personally won't find them useful - unless said text becomes available later in a printed version.

Author:  Roy [ Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reviewing books that are free

Ah, my login is working again. So I vote yes.

Author:  Jim Steel [ Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reviewing books that are free

I don't see a problem with it, Pete. Most TV programmes are free but people review them all the time.

Author:  Ian H [ Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Reviewing books that are free

A friend of mine has written 4 Sherlock Holmes-like e-novellas and his publisher occasionally promotes them for free, as well as several other titles that I've picked up on my kindle so I'm for it.


Author:  Journeymouse [ Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reviewing books that are free

I'm for it. Good writing deserves recognition whatever its market value. Bad writing needs a warning sign :)

Author:  Cameron [ Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Reviewing books that are free

I can't see a problem with it. People are looking for a good read, and if it's free then all the better.

With regards to self-published authors, quite rightly you can't spend your time reviewing them when you don't even have the time and space to review lots of professionally written, edited, and published material. Saying that, there must be some overlooked gems out there. I find myself thinking that I wouldn't be adverse to seeing something interactive, like a once a year competition for self-published authors as a way to promote the magazines (markets being what they are): pick a shortlist based on a well-written intreaguing blurb, post an excert of each on here and let us all vote - with maybe two or three winners getting reviews. Just a thought.

Author:  Roy [ Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reviewing books that are free

I'd agree with that Cameron except when the Guardian do something similar for their Not the Booker Awards they get loads of author's mates voting and its hard to be sure if the finalists are deserving of their place. Over the years its all become quite complex to try to limit the effect.

Author:  Pete [ Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reviewing books that are free

Interesting result. I recently accepted for review a book that is free to download, and then wondered if I should be doing that. I contemplated protests along the lines of I'm a writer/publisher with books that are for sale and dependent on getting the news out via reviews etc, so not happy you're passing over my titles to review stuff that anyone who is interested can download and sample for themselves at no risk as they're free.

You people are much nicer than I thought, or you're planning to give lots of stuff away :wink:

My policy on self-published books is that I will review them as long as the author has some previous track record. For example, when Andrew Hook launched Elastic Press he tested the water with a collection of his own work, so in effect he self-published, but most of the stories in that collection had already been previously published by other people. Similarly, my only foray into self-publishing was with a novella that had already been accepted by a publisher, who then closed down the month before it was due to be released. The self-publishers I want to weed out are those who probably can't get work into print by any other means, and yes, a few omelettes get thrown out with the bath water, but you can't make babies without breaking eggs. (See what I did there?)

And, if you're desperate for a review I'm easy to fool - if I get a request from Big Boy Publishing Inc to review the latest novel from hot young talent Joe Bloggs, I don't have time to check on BBPI to find out if they're a front for Joe Bloggs, so I'll probably say yes if you ask nicely and nothing else sets the alarm bells ringing, though once the book gets to me there's still a fair chance it won't get reviewed anyway.

Author:  Journeymouse [ Sat Mar 16, 2013 8:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Reviewing books that are free

Hey, Pete. I propbably should add that I think the not-free books have automatic proirity. After all, most of us want advice on whether it's worth our hard-earned pennies - I'm less resentful of wasting time on something I didn't pay for, basically. But there's an awful lot of words out there these days and it would be easy to miss or not see a decent book just because there's a sea of not-so-good books in the way.

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