I mentioned yesterday how an accidental Amazon listing of Not Quite so Stories as available months before release resulted in PBShop UK consistently offering my book for sale despite them knowing they didn’t have it and couldn’t get it, which I proved by repeatedly ordering only to have the orders cancelled. There was one order that wasn’t through PBShop UK that was fulfilled though, which was surprising because the book hadn’t been released. It was a reputable seller too, Powell’s Books Chicago. Turns out, some reviewer didn’t end up reviewing the book and ended up selling the ARC they’d been sent before the book was released.
How do I know? Well, not only was it the ARC, it had the press release my publisher included in ARCs they sent out. Only my publisher had those, and only included them in the ARCs they sent out to the bigger reviewers, places like Publisher’s Weekly. So what does this mean? Well, it means that one of the bigger reviewers, one you would really expect to know how unethical selling a review copy rather than reviewing it and before release date no less, sold an ARC rather than review it before release.
Now, I sent ARCs to some smaller places. Smaller places I wouldn’t necessarily hold to the same ethical and professional standards. However, the places my publisher was sending ARCs weren’t the smaller places. Whoever sold the ARC prior to release date without actually reviewing was really someone who should have had the ethical and professional standards to not do this. That’s what everyone would expect. Don’t decide to review? Fine. However, don’t sell the ARC…particularly before the book releases.
It’s just dishonest, as well as unethical and unprofessional.
Frankly, I wish my publisher had put some kind of unique identifier on the press release that was included with the ARC. Then we’d know what reviewer did this. Believe me, I wouldn’t send them ARCs anymore. Even if they decided to review later books, that just isn’t someone I’d feel comfortable being associated with.