Reviews, proofs, and marketing untruths

I began putting short reviews of books I had read here on my blog so that when I inevitably forget what I thought of such and such a title I can check! Yup, I really am that vague. Now I review for several different places, which is kinda a mixed blessing.

When buying books I am careful, I know what I will probably like, I avoid what I’ll probably loathe. One of the reasons I signed up to read and review proofs for work was to force myself to read outside of my usual range. Most times my impulses are right and I have to force myself to grind on through, hating it, and yes, frankly resenting the fact that somehow the author has managed to get a book deal. Once so far, out of say 15 books, I have read something that I would never have picked, and I thought it was okay, good even. I can see there will be a market for it. Big whoop.

What is fascinating to me though is the marketing that goes with these as yet unpublished books. They come with covering letters and blurbs hailing the author as a fresh, new talent, the next [add name of famous author], an exciting voice etcetera. I usually roll my eyes and ignore. However this latest made me really quite grr.

“This is a true word-of-mouth bestseller and a classic bookclub read.”

Now call me pedantic, but to be a ‘true word of mouth bestseller’ I would have thought that the book would have had to be published, no? And talked about? And to be a ‘bestseller’ erm, wouldn’t it have had to have sold a lot?

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