Dear Young Reviewer:
Thank you so much for writing in! Your writing samples are acceptable, which is saying something, seeing as how they’ve been published on one of those goddam blogs. However, we are under constraints to reduce our expenses and demonstrate to our shareholders that we can turn this rag into a profitable joint. Sure, we could compensate you for some piddling price that reflects the wages of someone who works in an export processing zone. But desperate times have had us thinking outside the box. Therefore, I hope that we can insult your intelligence by selling you on a new idea.
As you know, Books Daily is one of the most important publications for books. Sometimes, we even put a star next to a review! In a mere 100 words, we feel that we can encapsulate a book’s essence. Therefore, any reviews assigned after June 15 will undergo a stunning new business model: one that I believe you’ll find acceptable under the circumstances. Instead of paying you to review the book, we’d like you to pay us at the rate of $25 per review. Please know that we value the work you do for us. We value it so highly that we really think that you should be paying us at this juncture. Your astute reading and writing are what make our magazine so valuable in the industry and we regret this necessary action. All of us here are experiencing change. Some of us, in fact, are sleeping with the money men so that we can pay our rent. This is the only way we can justify our jobs as our magazine remains on the selling block. Our offices have, in fact, become a haven for drug trafficking. We figure that if we can’t hook the kids on books, we can certainly hook them on a particularly addictive form of Ketamine.
But we trust that you’ll understand why we’re doing this. After all, if you’re willing to expend seven to ten hours on a book and write a capsule on it for $25 (wow, you’re working for a mere $2.50/hour!), then surely you’re willing to pay us for the privilege of writing in our esteemed pages.
And just so you have an extra incentive, we’ll be happy to ship you some Benzadrine and other sleep supressants so that you can finish up your reviews for us. Hell, we’ll even give you a 10% discount if you’d like to buy any drugs.
With your modest financial sacrifice, we are committed to being the gold standard in book reviewing. And we hope that you will continue to enjoy our metaphorical violation of your pristine orifice. We really appreciate the way you’re stretching it out for us.
Very truly yours,
Editor, BOOKS DAILY