I sent a review copy of my book ON REQUEST to a journalist…and he then tried to sell me an ad!
Let’s put this into perspective.
1. Media outlets are hurting for ad revenue. They’re competing with cable TV (hundreds of stations), a countless (but dwindling) number of print publications, and the Internet for a limited number of advertising dollars. This might make some ad-driven businesses desperate.
2. Even if he’s desperate for ads, he also needs good content. A book review is interesting to readers, especially if the book’s subject is very precisely targeted to his audience. Implying he won’t review your book if you don’t buy advertising dollars is beyond unethical. Even if you did fall for this scam and buy an ad, having an ad for your own book pop up under a book review for you book, or during a radio show highlighting your book, will tell all readers/listeners that YOU paid for the review (because….you did). This is no different from desperate authors who pay someone to give them a good book review. Your credibility could be destroyed.
3. If you want to buy advertising, you can probably find a much better place to do so. A company that’s willing to spend that much time researching and pitching to one potential advertiser, under suspicious methods, is likely charging WAY too much for ads anyway – and also likely has a very small audience (which is why he can’t get advertisers the old-fashioned way – by having tons of readers/listeners and great content).
4. You said he requested a copy of your book to review. If he was only intent on selling ad space to you later, what he’s doing is, in my opinion, fraud. He likely requested a free copy of your book so he could study it and more precisely target his marketing pitch to you. That right there tells me you DON’T want to do business with him. Sheesh – talk about desperate!
If I were you, I’d demand he immediately return your book since it was requested “free of charge” under fraudulent circumstances.