Todd Rutherford is a man of enterprise. After years of being paid to churn out press releases for a self-publishing marketing service, he decided to go into to business for himself. Given that over 600,000 self-published books appear in print each year in this country, he knew he’d have job security. Never mind that the number of self-improvement manuals and vampire stories have so glutted the market that traditional media and book bloggers have turned away from the buzz. Rutherford had a solution. He created a media site called, GettingBookReviews.com. In the beginning, he charged $409 for 20 online reviews to be distributed via the web. For $999, he’d distribute 50.
Business grew so fast that Rutherford hired others to work for him. No reviewer was required to read the books he or she critiqued. Rutherford gave them stock phrases that could be applied to any plot or subject. He paid his critics, gleaned from Craig’s list, $15 per review and pocketed the remaining money for himself. In time his staff grew to 75 and he was on his way to his first yacht, or Lamborghini. Then a disgruntled client blew the whistle on him and his career as a book critic came to an end.
When I read Todd Rutherford’s story in the New York Times*, I was appalled. Serious writers work hard to build credibility with an audience. Scams like his taint us all. May he rot in unsolicited manuscripts.
*The Best Reviews Money Can Buy” by David Streitfeld, The New York Times, 8/28/2012, Sunday Business, pgs. 1 & 6
(Todd J. Rutherford courtesy of www.newyorktimes.com)