the Little Red Reviewer

Thought Experiment

Posted on: October 8, 2017

Instead of a review, I have a thought experiment for you.  Like glitter slime, this was a fun idea to play with, and one I didn’t want to let go of until I’d tortured some people with it.  I have no idea if this is a funny idea, a dumb idea, or a cruel idea. For all I know, it has already been attempted.




A forthcoming book is getting a ton of hype. It is the author’s debut novel, the author’s website doesn’t have a ton of information because this person hasn’t written very much. A short and vague bio, a photo of the author, maybe a picture of their dog taken at the beach, or their cat sleeping in a sun spot. Lots of excitement about their debut novel!

Publicity e-mails start going out, showcasing stunning cover art, intriguing back cover copy, promises of a book that will blow your mind with unexpected twists and turns. The publicity e-mail requests that if you are lucky enough to receive an ARC, that you do not talk about the book until the release day, and that under no circumstances do you spoil any of the plot twists.

Book reviewers patiently wait for ARCs to arrive. The publisher has chosen not put the book on Netgalley, citing lack of control of when reviews are published as their reasoning. High profile book reviewers assume they will be the first to receive the ARCs.

There is more and more hype on social media. A book trailer that looks like the best scifi movie preview you’ve ever seen. Posts that are guessing about the plot, discussing images and pictures that are in the cover art – what could these possibly have to do with the characters and the plot that is mentioned on the back cover copy?

The release date gets closer.

Bloggers and reviewers begin to grumble on twitter that they haven’t rec’d an ARC yet. Hundreds of people mark the book as “want to read” on Goodreads. The book is available for pre-order on Amazon. NPR even mentions the elusiveness of the author, whose debut novel is has the book reviewing community all a flutter due to so few ARCs being available.

Two days before the release date, reviews start to show up on high profile reviewing sites, the places that do not have the reviewer’s name as a byline. The reviews are beautifully written, and promise that this is indeed the book we have all been waiting for, the book we didn’t know we needed, the book that will break our hearts and change our lives forever. Character’s names are mentioned, no plot points are spoiled.

On the release date, a flurry of five star reviews show up on Amazon, GoodReads, and a few dozen smaller book review blogs. High profile book review bloggers are pissed as hell they didn’t get an ARC. Some of these high profile people publish posts that they will no longer accept review requests from this publisher, interview this elusive author, or have anything to do with this book, author, or publisher.

A week goes by. Since we are all online, none of us notice that brick and mortar bookstores are having trouble with their orders of this book. The customers waiting for their book orders are the kind of people who have toppling TBR piles and patience. They have plenty of wonderful books to read while they are waiting for their order of this one to show up.

Here’s the kicker:

The book never existed. The publicist trolled everyone.


The publicist is now looking for an author who will ghost write a book that has all the characters, plot points, scenes, and twists and turns that are mentioned in all the book reviews that were published.


How’s that for a plot twist?


6 Responses to "Thought Experiment"


And if there was justice, the publishing house would go under and everyone participating in the scam would starve to death.

But there is no justice in our world anymore….


It’s a very unlikely scenario, but if it did occur, I’d say failure on some level would be inevitable, probably the publicist would be blackballed, the as-given publisher would have their name smeared, the readers would, in the end, be angry. But I guess that’s all obvious.

One does wonder, however, if the stunt might lead some writer to mull it over and use the elements as plot points in a book.


Quote from Young Frankenstein: “it could work!”
Haha. Made me laugh. What a great twist. It puts me in mind of the book reviews on Goodreads for books that haven’t even been written yet!!
Lynn 😄


like that scott lynch novel we all look forward to…..

Liked by 1 person

For a minute, I thought this was going to be about *Handbook for Mortals* by Lani Sarem.


Now you have me curious about Handbook for Mortals?


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FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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