My mind these days resembles a large blob of jelly, and I can’t remember if I have covered this topic before. If I have, then just click delete (oh, you do anyway?) never mind. Can you click the ‘like’ button on the way out anyway?

I’ve always wondered what is the difference between – a finder’s fee and a bribe – an introduction fee and a bribe – a favour and a bribe. Is it just a matter of degree?

I first encountered this when I was working on the radio in South Africa, and my assistant knew this person was looking for a video company to make some programmes so she introduced us. I then presented to her company, they were satisfied and they then contracted me to work for their clients all over the country. This continued for 9 years, although each time, I would have to pitch for each project.

Every time I met up with this particular lady, in the meantime we had become good friends, for lunch, or even for coffee, we scrupulously went Dutch, paying individually for our Chelsea buns and espressos.

a_cup_of_coffeeWhy? Simple, because she had recommended my video production company to her own international corporate, and to a major bank, who in turn commissioned me to make

programmes for them.

The silly thing is that I wanted to treat her to lunch. We were friends (she may be reading this now) and I wanted to say thank you in some small way. BUT, would this be seen as a bribe? A payback? Collusion?

The original connection was there and this is what we were afraid of.

Years earlier, I remembered working for a producer who was making programmes for the SABC. There were rumours of producers paying their way into the programming slots and as far as I know this lady didn’t, but at Christmas she gave all the commissioning editors very expensive presents, Du Pont gold pens for example. At that time, I was a complete novice when it came to marketing and liaising etc and I was very lucky that my name was passed on without me having to do any promotion at all. – Wow, am I learning now in the field of selling books!

Introductions in business have been around since the Egyptian camel herders asked where they could get the best price for their spices – in fact an Arab won’t buy from a stranger, you have to get to know the seller first.


Which brings me, eventually, to reviews.

It’s accepted that Kirkus charge an arm and a leg to give you a review and if you get a good one you shout about it from the rooftops. It means something, it carries weight, it impresses your readers and other authors. There are dozens of web sites offering you reviews in exchange for money. Yet now, the big A are freaking out about this and taking down reviews they feel are not honest or if you are friends with the author. Will they leave the Kirkus reviews in place?

Is it OK to pay for a review as long as it comes in at one star? Is it then seen to be honest? Is it ethical to pay for a review if no one knows you and promises to be honest?

Currently the big A is now deciding who is friends with whom and who are enemies and sweeping the reviews off the board like breadcrumbs. Food for thought? Comments?


Now I really should use my blog occasionally to mention my books I guess. So a quick reminder that in 4 days, Amie and the Child of Africa hits the virtual bookshelves worldwide. You can pre-order it (please do) and here is the link to make it nice and easy for you. It’s another fast paced, action packed adventure like ‘wot they used to write!’

Amie 3 front cover jpeg

Back in time, James I had no such problems trying to flog his books. He simply ordered that every church should buy one and his ratings on Amazon soared straight to the #1 slot in all genres. Even today the King James Bible is found in millions of homes. Can you image his royalties?


However I have been learning you about Charles II and this is what was written about him.

We have a pretty witty king,

Whose word no man relies on,

He never said a foolish thing,

And never did a wise one”

But he replied “That’s true, for my words are my own, but my actions are those of my ministers.” This has become the new code of ethics for modern day bankers.

Photo of a marble bank
Photo of a marble bank

Well poor, old Charles (he was neither) had a sudden apoplectic fit (whatever the hell that is) one morning at the age of 54 and four days later he was dead. He was very apologetic about this and said “I am sorry, gentlemen for being such a time a-dying.” He was polite right up until the end when he was received into the Roman Catholic Church, not a popular move. But of course it was much too late to do anything about it. He was buried in Westminster Abbey (the Protestant one).


Time for the next king – next time.



  1. A reviewer gave Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni five stars on her review site but emailed to tell me A wouldn’t let her post it on their site. She tried a couple of times but no review appeared. We have never met – I can’t even remember how I came across her blog but she reviewed No More Mulberries and later did an interview with one of the characters from the book. I follow her blog, which I think is only polite when she does so much to support indie authors. Of course we don’t really know why A won’t post her review and they’re not telling.
    I have pre-ordered Amie 2. Looking forward to it appearing soon.


  2. Thanks Mary, hope you enjoy it 🙂 As to reviews I’ve lost a couple which disappeared and then heard that a couple of reviewers who are also authors had all their reviews taken off and they have no idea why. I wish Amazon would tell us exactly why, as no one thinks they have violated any rules. A puzzle.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s