Paying for Book Reviews

Dollars in the books, isolated on white background, business traAn online friend and I recently had a somewhat heated debate about paying for reviews. He told me about a website, where he had signed up, that has a requirement to provide gift cards in exchange for potential reviews. I said something like, “I’m unwilling to pay money to get reviews.” For him, since it wasn’t a direct exchange, money for a review, it was completely fine.

We all get to decide, thankfully, where our personal line of ethics lies.

I have been asked by other authors to “post a review” in exchange for a review of my book. I wouldn’t even have to read the novel and they would tell me what to write. Of course I declined. Is it wrong that I want to sink or swim on my own merit?

There are people on FB that offer reviews for a fee. I’m completely against this. My debate partner tried to equate giving my book away for free with paying for a review. I completely and vehemently disagreed. Yes, we can place a value on an eBook (although it costs me nothing to provide one) or even a paperback but I don’t feel like I’m BUYING a review by providing a reviewer with a free copy.

You can find plenty of websites where you can pay a rather steep fee to get to be reviewed on their site. To me a book is either good or not and there are so many different free sites to get your book noticed that I don’t want to pay my hard earned money to support an industry that exploits its writers.

I became rather irritated during the debate and I realized why it happened after the fact. I’m perfectly okay with having a difference of opinion with people and many people who read this post will probably think there is nothing wrong with paying money to get your book promoted any way they can. It’s a business, right? However, when someone argues with me as if their position is the only one that makes sense; I want to slap the imagined smirk off their face. Not truly, since I’m the non-violent creative type, but I think I’ve illustrated my point.

Where do you fall along the divide? Please share your thoughts with us.

Warm hugs to all my readers and a special hug to my debate partner,

Blakely

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10 thoughts on “Paying for Book Reviews

  1. I totally agree with you on this one Blakely. I have recieved books free for an honest review but also kept purchasing their books after the fact because i enjoyed what i have read. i would never ask an author to pay me for a review. Some authors do not like that i am THAT honest at times but there is no guarentee that i will enjoy ever single genre out there so i will leave that point and then my review. I love your My body series!!!!!

    • Thanks so much for the comment Tami. Honest reviews are the way to go, that’s why I think it’s important to keep money out of it.

      Warm hugs,
      Blakely

  2. I completely agree with you! I have no problems giving a book in exchange for an HONEST review, and I do expect honesty because how can we grow as authors without it? I refuse to pay for reviews. I know an author in one of my marketing groups who paid $300 for a review from a trade review company. There’s also a website out there where you can pay for amazon reviews, and you have final say on what the review says. That is a huge reason why readers are starting to not put any faith into reviews.

    Trusted bloggers are a great way to get free reviews. (By trusted, I mean those you can trust to be honest) To pay for a review, to me, is shady business and can hurt the author’s branding.

    • Very well said, A.L.! I couldn’t agree more. If reviews are for sale, they become meaningless. Thanks so much for your comment.

      Warm hugs,
      Blakely

  3. I think if authors are going through a publishing company then however they decide to “promote” their books, whether by gifting gift cards for reviews or ebook giveaways for reviews is ok. BUT if they’re a good publishing company that can get people to “buy” books shows that they’re able to “promote” without (ahems) “bribes” and still get reviews. It’s a matter of finding the right publishing houses or bloggers to really “promote”.
    For me, I’ll accept gifts or play giveaways in other genres other than any romance genres to share my reviews. Because I hardly ever buy other genres. I’ll get freebies in most genres, mostly buy most romance genres.

      • I might know the site, or one similar. Ebooks are offered as free downloads for a period of time. Of the reviewers, only those that read and post reviews are entered in a raffle for various items (GCs, Paperbacks or an e-reader). It’s not their practice to buy reviews – that would just plain wrong.

        There are quite a few questionable sites out there, but I would NEVER pay for a review. Giveaways, raffles, features associated with blog tours and such are great promotional tools, when used ethically. Authors just need to be wise, as well as knowledgeable, in their marketing choices.

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