Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Paid Book Reviews – Credible or Expensive Trash?

Do Book Reviewers Actually Read the Material?

All the new indie publishing opportunities out there begs the question: Are book reviews functional or even necessary … especially in the digital sector where readers can just read the trailer or synopsis to find if the story may appeal to them enough to fork over $.99 to $1.99 (or a little higher).

I really don’t know. I’m a little conflicted on the whole concept of book reviews … especially paid book reviews.

Even in traditional publishing, book reviews RE fictional story telling, especially, were dubious to me at best. After all, reviews are just opinions … and you know what they say about opinions. Just because another author or other person of note says a story is good or bad, doesn’t mean another one million readers won’t disagree!

The only legitimate book reviews, I believe, probably exist in the science, math and technical areas when an expert in the field of the subject matter comments on its viability … But, this is something that can be politically motivated, so you have to be careful here, also! 

So, are book reviews necessary or good? I feel they might have a certain marketing value among those enamored with the reviewer … usually this applies to the adolescent, younger crowd.

Reviews will also be taken more seriously if the reviewing source has worked up a certain credibility (this seems very hard work) and track record amongst a particular niche. “I have enjoyed every single book that XYZ has reviewed and recommended! I will always read their reviews.”

If your e-book is good, it will get great word-of-mouth (or social media rush) and that is the best reviews you can receive … and they are free!

Here is a good insight and view on book reviews by indie author advocate Lynn Osterkamp, Ph.D. at

Are Paid Book Reviews Credible?

What if you could get 50 people to post positive reviews of your book on Amazon? For a reasonable fee?

I know the importance of having reviews of my books on Amazon. A mix of professional reviews and customer reviews is ideal. But for indie publishers and self-published authors, reviews–especially professional reviews–can be hard to get. Many professional reviewers still refuse to review books not published by mainstream publishers.

Sites that will review our books are increasingly charging a fee for what they term an expedited review or for posting the review they write on sites like Amazon and B&N. While most of these book review sites continue to offer free reviews, they warn that due to increasing numbers of submissions, a book submitted for a free review may take months to get reviewed or might not get reviewed at all.

So should you pay for a review?

Purists on author discussion groups and blogs continue to insist loudly that paying for a review with anything other than a free copy of the book, it is wrong. They say these reviews have little to no credibility and will ruin your reputation.

Read and learn more

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  1. While I don’t think ALL paid reviewers are bad, I do tend to steer clear of them. My biggest problem is that while lots of people are reading, using and saying wonderful things to me about my book; 98% of them will not post a review, even when asked directly. I get emails weekly about how much money my book has saved them, but when I thank them and ask them to post a review on Amazon or B&N, they say they but never do.

    I have noticed that many sites will not allow you to post a review for an item you have not purchased from them. Since many of my books are sold at book signings, it can be hard to post reviews on some sites.

    I am always looking for another book review, but without the dollar sign attached.

    Comment by Diedra — 07/21/2011 @ 8:16 pm | Reply

  2. I would love to have a string of positive reviews for each of my books, but no way am I going to put hand in pocket to acheive it. I don’t mind handing over free copies via a Smashword coupon, but I baulk at the idea of gifting copies from Amazon, where I have to PAY for a copy of my own book to go to someone – and I certainly would not pay someone to actually read and comment on a copy.

    I was brought up to believe that money flows TO the author, not away. If I made a lot of money from my work, I might consider putting more money out for promotion – but then again, if I made more money I wouldn’t need to do so, because I would already be popular. Ah, well. The old Catch 22 situation again. I don’t pay, so I don’t get…

    Comment by AJ Barnett — 07/22/2011 @ 8:29 am | Reply

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