I have removed the positive review that MR. MONK GOES TO GERMANY received from Affaire de Coeur from this blog because I don’t want to lend the sham publication the slightest shred of credibility.
I’ve just discovered that their advertising director, Bonny Kirby, co-owns the disgraced Light Sword Publishing company with Linda Daly (a court recently fined Kirby and Daly thousands of dollars for defrauding authors). This explains why Light Sword titles consistently got positive reviews from Affaire De Coeur and why Daly was the subject of a cover story. No reputable magazine would review books published by their advertising director…or feature her partners on the cover. It’s a sleazy and highly unethical conflict-of-interest.
I also learned that advertisers get positive reviews and articles written about them depending on the amount of page space they purchase. That, too, is sleazy and unethical.
I’m notifying my publisher that I don’t want the review quoted on my covers nor do I want any of my books sent to the magazine. They aren’t a legitimate publication. They are sleaze bags.
UPDATE 7-27-08 It turns out that Romantic Times engages in unethical behavior as well, but not as outrageously as Affaire de Coeur. The Romantic Times will only review small-press books that advertise in their magazine. Editor Carol Stacy tells the Dear Author blog:
This has worked very well for small press/e-book authors who, for a
few hundred dollars, can get their name in front of our readers and
have a review of their book in the magazine. This may explain why there are so many Ellora’s Cave books reviewed
in our magazine. It’s because their authors do many group ads and in
turn they get reviewed.I want to reiterate that this small press/e-book review policy IN NO
WAY AFFECTS THE RATING of a book. It only ensures a review.
Whether that’s true or not, the practice is highly unethical and creates an unacceptable conflict of interest. It’s shameful. Advertising should never have any influence over editorial content. That’s a basic tenet of ethical journalism.