I have been getting a lot of book review requests that I assume are generated by some kind of "review bot" that has mined my name from Amazon. Here's an example:
Dear Lee Goldberg:
I got your name from the list of Amazon Top Reviewers. I’ve written a book, “When The Shadows Began To Dance.” I noticed from your Amazon profile that you frequently review spiritual fantasy books. If you think you might be interested in reading my book and posting an honest review of it on Amazon, I’ll gladly send a complimentary copy if you’ll reply with your postal mailing address. There is no obligation, of course.
I have never reviewed a spiritual fantasy book in my life, Yamaya Cruz. So I don't know why you think I would like to read your book, Yamaya Cruz. I hope, Yamaya Cruz, that you didn't spend a lot of money on this ineffective mailing campaign.
I also don't review get-rich-quick books, though that didn't stop me from getting this:
I got your name from Amazon's list of Top Reviewers. I've written a book, "1-800-Awesome: Tactics for Making $10,000 an Hour" and I noticed from your Amazon profile that you frequently review a variety of book genres. I have read some of your reviews and found them to be thoughtful and well written and I value your opinion.
If you are interested in reviewing my book, please email back and I will send you a free PDF version. I sincerely appreciate your help.
I'm sure Chris has never read one of my reviews. If he had, he'd know this is not a book that would ever appeal to me. I would much rather read "1-800-Awesome: Tactics For Not Getting Spammed for Reviews by Dimwit Authors."
Speaking of bots…
My brother Tod, who has been nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and has many published novels to his credit, recently got a solicitation from Kyle Oakeson, who is trying to raise money to fund a publishing outfit called CentsPress. The email read, in part:
I found your information from your website/blog. I like your writing, and I thought I would inform you about an upcoming publishing company that I will be starting this year that can help you to make a little change for your work.
[…]CentsPress will be an online marketplace for hobby and novice writers, and it bridges the gap between unpublished or self-published authors and professional authors. Essentially, authors will be able to list an ebook on the website of either a short-story, poetry, or short drama–anything less than 32pgs. Once listed, the work becomes available for purchase by the world. But that's not the cool thing about what CentsPress does. CentsPress is designed around socializing with, tracking, and gathering important input from audiences.
Right now I'm in the fundraising/financing business stage. I've started a crowd funding campaign online […] I encourage you to go check it out.
To which my brother replied:
Hi Kyle,I'm really glad you like my writing. What's your favorite part of my writing? Is it my hobby writing or my novice writing? It's important for me to know before I send you some money.Tod
Tod,Sorry about that, maybe you know of some writers who would take an interest in this project. Obviously it isn't for everyone–anyone who has already been published, like yourself, probably wouldn't take an interest in it…-Kyle