Arts Desk

Sucky Practice Alert: Local Author John Ferrer Will Pay You to Review His Vampire Novel

5887441Here’s a joke you may remember from your childhood:

Q: What did the skeleton say to the vampire?

A: You suck.

Well, there’s a new twist on it now:

Q: What did the WCP blogger say to the local vampire novelist who is paying for Amazon reviews?

A: You suck!

Turns out that D.C. area author John Ferrer is advertising on Craigslist that he will pay you (or someone else if you’re busy) $50 and give you an autographed copy of his book, The Immortal Ones, if you write a review of it for Amazon or Barnes and Noble, as well as his blog.

For anyone who has ever worked in the media, has an inkling of how the world works, or has a shred of morality—paying people to write reviews of your stuff is an absolute no-no. As in, you don’t do it. Ever. According to Ferrer’s bio on his website, he “works as a government consultant for a prestigious firm.” Now there have been innumerable government consultants and prestigious firms that have enjoyed long, prosperous careers built on their immoral activities, but it’s still frowned upon in most circles. You certainly don’t post Craigslist ads publicly telegraphing said immorality.

Apparently, though, Ferrer isn’t in the whole writing game for the riches he might be showered with if The Immortal Ones turns out to be the next Hunger Games. As he writes on his blog:

During the first week of August, I was giving away The Immortal Ones eBook away for free.  Some people asked me why I did that.  The truth is, I don't care much about money.  If I did, then I would be pulling my hair out because self-publishing is EXPENSIVE.

So there’s the rub. Not only did he pay to have it published, but now he’s paying to have it reviewed. As a published author, I know what a full-time job it is to get press for your book. And I know that bad reviews can be brutal, because I’ve suffered some myself. But all that being said, YOU DON’T PAY PEOPLE FOR REVIEWS! You just don’t. That just sucks.

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  • Gareth

    Being the vanity-published author of a vampire novel with a hackneyed title is its own punishment though, isn't it?

  • Feldman

    What's the big deal? There are so many services out there that provide book and novel reviews for up and coming authors in exchange for a fee.

    This guy just wants to get more exposure. You're so quick to judge somebody. I read his Craigslist post and he states that he'll pay the reward no matter what, good or bad review.

    Can't blame the guy just because he wants to spread his book's least he's trying. What do you do other than criticize things going on around you?

  • Nevin Martell

    What do I do? I write books for people who pay me. And I never -- just like all other self-respecting authors -- pay for reviews, whether they're good or bad. I have no problem with creative self promotion whatsoever and bravo to Ferrer for offering potential readers a free sample of his efforts (though the free sample shouldn't start in the middle of his first chapter, because it's disorienting and doesn't make any sense). I've done a fair amount of promotion for my books, so I know what an effort it can be to get out the word. But you just don't pay for reviews. That's like giving your teacher a huge gift before the grades come out.

  • Eric Jackson

    Hey Nevin,

    Glad I found you because I am, well was, the reviewer for the Immortal Ones. I've done a lot of ghost writing, writing positive reviews for books that would be better off lining bird cages. It's fast easy work. I found John's ad on Craigslist and took him up on his offer. I even offered to do an interview with him after my review was finished. He was excited until it was finally time to meet and he stiffed me on the money like it was no big deal. He said, not joking, he was strapped for cash because he just went to the beach. I told him no review without payment like we agreed. He said he would get back to me.

    I haven't heard from him since Thursday Sept 30th and I'm sure I never will. So don't even fault him because he's paying for reviews (he did say it needed to be an honest review) fault him because he's a liar and a cheat.

    The wost part is the book is unreadable. My friends and I read it allowed to one another because it sounds like a gay robots journal. It hyper focuses on material status symbols, women's clothes, and how confusing and strange normal human emotions are. Also its entirely written in the first person. The book might as well start every chapter with, "Dear Diary..." he needs writing classes and also should try reading books other than Anne Rice and Twilight. I liked him when we met until I read the book and learned a bunch about him through the main charater Derrek who is sexist, spoiled, status hungry, and has a complete inability to relate to the normal world. At best it needs an editor to cut the book in half.

    Many artists pay for reviews and promotion, but I've never been cheated before. Johnn Ferrer on top of being a terrible author is a liar.