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Author Topic: Indie Book Reviewers (paid reviews)  (Read 4591 times)

Offline Eli_Freysson

Indie Book Reviewers (paid reviews)
« on: May 04, 2015, 07:39:11 PM »
I've come across this site:

http://indiebookreviewers.blogspot.com/

...and it seems promising, but I have some misgivings.

The idea is that an indie author pays for several people to review and tweet about their book, though the money apparently doesn't go to the reviewers but rather to advertisements. You're not paying for GOOD reviews, just reviews and publicity.
However there seem to be some very mixed feelings on paid reviews. Some call them unethical and say they'll avoid authors who use them. I even saw something about Google potentially blocking sites who post paid reviews.

Also, the satisfied customers who post recommendations for the site only have their first names listed, and the "Who we are" tab only leads to pictures of various people, no names or actual information (Though maybe this is because of the bias against paid reviews?)

If anyone is familiar with this site or the issue in general I would appreciate some advice. I really need some publicity for my first English-language ebook, and I'm having no luck with what few review sites I've found who accept self-published books.

Is this ethical, and trustworthy?
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Offline Eli_Freysson

Re: Indie Book Reviewers (paid reviews)
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2015, 11:10:44 PM »
Anyone? I would really appreciate some advice.
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Offline Raptori

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Re: Indie Book Reviewers (paid reviews)
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2015, 11:13:36 PM »
No idea whether they're trustworthy, and we're not really at that point in our writing journey, but as a reader I have to admit that I'd be put off by a paid review. No matter how ethical they try to make it, it still crosses the line for me. I do get that it'd be tempting if you're trying to get exposure, but there's got to be something better than that...  :-\
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Re: Indie Book Reviewers (paid reviews)
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2015, 11:39:41 PM »
Hi, Eli.

You might try PM''ing some of the pros on the Forum. Mark Lawrence, Michael Sullivan or sennydreadful for their views. Michael particularly has done a mix of self-pub, small press and large press publishing.
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Offline Arry

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Re: Indie Book Reviewers (paid reviews)
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2015, 12:16:03 AM »
Personally, I wouldn't want to buy reviews. And if I know an author has used a service to do that, it would also turn me off, especially when it states that it will focus only on the positives. That means it may not be an entirely truthful review. Perhaps they hated the book, but they can't say that so that, so instead they say a generic "great concept"! or something similar, or maybe they actually just lie. I also don't know that I would trust them to actually read the book if they are only posting positive responses.

This may not be what you wanted to hear, but my advice would be to pass.
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Offline tebakutis

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Re: Indie Book Reviewers (paid reviews)
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2015, 05:56:19 PM »
Not sure if you're still looking for feedback on this, but I can try and clarify some things, having dipped my toes into one or two sites that "sell" reviews (Kirkus and SelfPublishing Review). Ultimately, you need to know what you're paying for and how these reviews work.

First, why paid reviews? It's because of the sheer number of self-published authors now seeking book reviews. Multiply the number of books from big presses by like 50 (and not all books from big presses get reviews) and you'll have some idea how many self-published authors are seeking book reviews.

Here's the problem. Most review sites won't review self-published books, at all, and most bloggers that offer to do so are quick snowed under by the huge amount of requests. Simply put, there aren't enough reviewers to meet demand, or enough time in any reviewer's day to review 100+ books.

So if you self-published (or went through a small press that isn't on the radar) how do you get a book review? You pay a reviewer to review your book, and they will either like it, not like it, or fall somewhere in the middle. The fact is, however, that without the pay sites, most self-published authors couldn't get their books reviewed, ever.

Requiring a self-published author to pay a fee to have a reviewer read their book does two things:

1) It motivates reviewers who might otherwise not slog through endless self-published books to look for gems.

2) It narrows the number of authors requesting reviews, because those reviews cost money, and ensures only authors who take their book seriously enough to pay for a review are requesting one.

Now, here's the thing to understand. You are not paying for a good review. You are paying for someone to review your book. That's different. They may dislike it or call out flaws, and your review may be negative. Praise is not guaranteed. Your book will need to earn praise through its own merits.

As a safety net for new authors, many paid review sites offer you to the chance to not have your review published if it ends up negative. The reasoning for this is that they don't want to sink a new author who just wasn't ready to publish their first book (but maybe their next one is good) and, more honestly, it's a safety net for folks who otherwise wouldn't request a review. So you could almost think of these sites as offering a paid advance read (with feedback) that, if it's positive, you have the option of using as a review.

This isn't an ideal system, but unfortunately, until we get 100s of bloggers volunteering to read 1000s of self-published books (most of which may be relatively poor quality) this is the way things will continue to be. I haven't come across any paid review sites that offer a positive review. They just offer the chance to not have your review published if it's negative, and the money is used to run the site and pay the reviewer.

Anyway, I hope that helps!
« Last Edit: July 03, 2015, 06:00:15 PM by tebakutis »

Offline Doctor_Chill

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Re: Indie Book Reviewers (paid reviews)
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2015, 06:18:43 PM »
Actually as a (once) reviewer, paid reviews will turn me off really quickly.
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Offline tebakutis

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Re: Indie Book Reviewers (paid reviews)
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2015, 03:15:24 PM »
Just as an FYI, I recently came across this site (Reader's Favorite) which will do *free* book reviews of any book, including those self-published. They do request a small fee for reviews while reading books for their writing contest (as with other sites, it's the only way to keep up with the avalanche) but if you wait for the months where they aren't doing their writing contest, they will review your book for free.

https://readersfavorite.com/

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Re: Indie Book Reviewers (paid reviews)
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2015, 02:59:19 AM »
As far as I know paid reviews are against the terms of service of Amazon and probably other online booksellers.

Offline tebakutis

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Re: Indie Book Reviewers (paid reviews)
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2015, 10:22:39 PM »
Quote
As far as I know paid reviews are against the terms of service of Amazon and probably other online booksellers.

Just wanted to clarify. Amazon actually does have a section for professional reviews, if you have a book on their site. Their "Editorial Reviews" section is where authors or publishers can post reviews from professional sources, including those services (like Kirkus) who require a fee for small press/self-pub. A number of professional review sites do now offer reviews for a fee to keep up with the huge demand for reviews from outside traditional press.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2015, 10:24:15 PM by tebakutis »