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I don’t know that I’ve ever had any luck with Craigslist.  Almost every time I reply to an ad, with the exception of the apartment listings, it’s been some kind of con.

Yesterday, I scanned through the writing positions and there was a post about a “Book Blogging” position that also included an eventual website building/maintenance reference.  The publisher was called Harper Duz Books.  Naturally, the first thing I did was google the company.  Hits??? One — a wordpress blog reviewing a book called “Love in the Time of Cocaine.”  The review wasn’t all that well written, and for someone who began the page by saying they were reviewing the book for a “new publishing company out of New Jersey,” the analysis was not all that kind:

“…the writing itself leaves much to be desired. Alban’s first novel, it reads like an exercise in a creative writing seminar….it reads like poorly received comedy. Harvey and Luis’ friends are comically portrayed as stereotypes, while Luis and Pamela are generic figments of a fairytale….Unfortunately, the reader spends most of the time wondering whether or not this is a teenager writing in a fiction class or a horrendous translation.”  (author only identified as “Page Terror“)

I was skeptical, but decided to write to the address anyway.  I created an abridged blog about my experience in the publishing industry (which I will amplify slightly and add in a day or two — because it was fun).  As I walked around, I thought — they won’t reply.  I mostly mocked my publishing encounters.  Probably not the outcome they were seeking.

Lo and behold, this morning I receive an e-mail from Eleanor Orduz (could that be the Duz in Harper Duz?). Actually, it was signed Nicole.  The content:

“We have had some qualified candidates respond.  In order to select the best blogger for the position we are asking that you read one of our new titles and write a positive review of the book directly on Amazon.  We will select the best blogger for the position by comparing the reviews.  Please find, here attached, Love in the Time of Cocaine by Alvaro Alban.  Once you have read the book, please look it up on Amazon and leave your review.  Do not send your review to this email.  We will read your review and contact you directly.”

In some respects, one has to admire the cojones, the willingness to manipulate Amazon reviews to perhaps lead to more hits? More sales?  Needless to say, I’m not going to waste my time selling their book for free, but I felt compelled to write something here just in case someone else, like me, decides to google the publisher before going to work on their review.  Oh yeah, I’ll tweet this one too.  And maybe even print the letter as my Amazon review.

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