Is Paying for Reviews Wrong?

I wanted to clarify my position on this.

I don’t think that paying for reviews, in and of itself, is wrong. There are, in my opinion, legitimate ways and means both of making a bit of cash from reviewing, and also of paying for reviews. Because if you’re a writer, you know something fundamental: Most people can’t be arsed to take a couple of minutes and write a review.

So what are we to do, since most people also can’t be bothered to read a book that doesn’t have a fair number of them?

And what was my problem with the whole “I’ll write you a review if you pay me” bruhahaha?

I personally do pay for reviews. I also reward for reviews. Let’s take a look at the routes I chose, and why I feel they are legitimate, and then the incident in which I railed against ‘buying reviews’, and why I rather mocked the idea of reviewing [the way that person was trying to do it] as a profession.

The two ways in which I “bought” reviews:

 

1. I did a blog tour, in which I paid to have a week’s worth of blog appearances for my book. Now, this included promos, guest blogging, interviews, and yes… reviews. Why, you might ask, did I feel that this was a ‘legitimate’ way of buying reviews?

The bloggers in this tour are people who actually blog regularly. They put forth genuine effort, and all the books that they review, THEY REALLY READ. You’ll notice this phrase repeatedly. Because that’s one main difference between the subculture of people ‘trying to make a living’ by peddling reviews through random solicitation, and those who have an established presence with a track record.

The people from whom I bought the tour are an established group of reviewers who have a proven track record of actually reading the books. So I knew that not only was I buying reviews from people who HAD read it, but there’s another key factor…

They give honest reviews! They aren’t being paid to say, “I loved the book! Yay! Characters were solid, development was good, and the book was great fun to read. 5 stars!”

Legitimate reviews include having really read the book, and being honest about how you feel about the book you actually read. People with a track record for doing that, are people I don’t mind paying for reviews. AND, there’s also a financial / economic factor involved… they don’t price reviews out of the park for us indie writers. Yes, I’m sorry, that matters to me. If we are going to have to pay for all of our reviews, then many of us indie writers will be royally screwed.

 

2. I reward for reviews that are given with a short story e-book. Why do I feel like this is legitimate? Because if a person reads my story and likes my book, they will want another e-book. A person who didn’t bother to read the story to begin with, isn’t going to be interested in getting an e-book. They want money.

This form of non-monetary buying is a bartering system that works because it gives like for like… and if you didn’t like the first, then you don’t want the object or thing that is like it. Therefor, if someone reviews the book in order to get the e-book, I know that they ACTUALLY READ THE BOOK.

 

 

So, for those writers who have chosen to purchase reviews from legitimate sources, AS I HAVE MYSELF, please know that I am NOT down on either LEGITIMATE REVIEWERS nor on authors who buy reviews from people who have… you got it… ACTUALLY READ THE BOOK.
There is a subculture that has arisen of people seeing legitimate bloggers making money from doing reviewing, and they want to jump on the bandwagon. They want the money, too, but they don’t want to have to bother to READ THE BOOK before they make their money. Their dishonesty, and the dishonesty of the people who employ these methods, will only cause problems from every quarter, as all selfish, unethical people do.

There are legitimate reviewers, and thank god for them! There are ways that us writers can legitimately get honest reviews from people who have actually read our books. And thank god, because with how most people refuse to even write reviews, we’d be pretty screwed if there weren’t!

So there you have it. My take on legitimate reviewing versus illegitimate, and a brief discussion of the social and economic impact of employing such methods.

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