Raves For Sale

Primary sources exposed and explained.
Jan. 19 2007 3:43 PM

Raves For Sale

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

Vanity presses for amateur writers who want to see their manuscripts in print were once limited to a small group of publishers. The service, now called "books-on-demand" or "print-on-demand," has proliferated in the digital era.  Amazon.com's recently acquired print-on-demand division,  BookSurge.com, offers several tiers of publishing programs with menus of services starting at $99.

The most interesting add-on BookSurge offers is, for $399, a personally crafted review written by "New York Times bestselling author, Ellen Tanner Marsh." (Ellen Tanner Marsh's bodice-rippers Reap the Savage Windand  Wrap Me in Splendor graced the New York Times trade- paperback bestseller list in 1982 and 1983.) Not surprisingly, many BookSurge titles boast enthusiastic reviews by Marsh. "For anyone seeking a health program that really works ... a motivating and significant book," Marsh gushed about The Beer Drinkers [sic] "Diet"."We are drawn into this seaboard existence, seeing the stars pronging the sails at night, the flying fish that land on deck, and even the birds that fly, unaware, into the mast," Marsh cooed over The Last Voyage of the Cosmic Muffin. Some of these paid-for raves turn up on Amazon. "This well-organized, fun and fact-crammed guide will make any parent a hero … exploring and enjoying all that Long Island has to offer," Marsh enthused about  Be the Coolest Parent on Your Block: Your Guide to Long Island and the Internet For Families

Advertisement

Below is a sample Marsh review that self-publishing author Bruce F. Bowman purchased for his book, Exposed: Turn Up the Heat. Unlike most book reviewers, Marsh is receptive to input from authors. If you click onto the next page, you'll see an e-mail that BookSurge LLC's editorial services coordinator, Thomas Kephart, wrote Bowman regarding his "New York Times Review." Quoth Kephart: "Ms. Marsh agreed that your suggestions were more descriptive, therefore she used your wording to make the changes you desired." Kephart's e-mail makes that other New York Times reviewer, Michiko Kakutani, seem, in comparison, downright stuck-up.

Got a Hot Document? Send it to documents@slate.com. Please indicate whether you wish to remain anonymous.

1_123125_2137821_2156517_2156722_2157865_booksurgereviewg

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.