Saturday, 26 July 2014

Writing a Book - Should you Pay for a Review: Yes or no?

This is a difficult question and some folk will benefit from paying for a review. Like all my articles this one is based on my experiences and I would therefore offer a strong word of caution. I have many good reviews which are always incredibly humbling. I also have a Gold Award from a competition I entered and so my work has some provenance. OK, I have had some negative reviews and this something an author definitely has to come to terms with; that not everyone will like your book. I have only paid for one review (it cost me about £250) and so my experience is limited, but I am in a position to give you my thoughts.

On the positive side -- there are lots of free book reviewers out there, so I would suggest not paying for a review. Many of these free book reviewers are incredibly dedicated and spend a lot of time reading books. The ones I have met are a boon to the industry and I hope that they continue doing what they love doing. reading and reviewing books. Long may they continue. Some of these wonderful reviewers can be found at http://davidburrows.org.uk/reviews_prophecy_kings.html

However, hypothetically, a reviewer might skim read a book, picking odd pages at random. I do this at work, reading papers and I can get a sense of a paper within a few minutes of reading. A paid reviewer might then post a review based on reading a few pages and a few minutes of effort. If this is the case, a reviewer could get through lots of books a day and make a lot of money. A further thought is, a positive review, that is incorrect, will attract a lot of criticism and so it would be far safer to give a negative review. A good tip is to look at the reviews from some of the top review sites that charge. Often the meat of the review is only one or two lines. Mine was and, frankly, those few lines were very little proof that someone had actually read my book. I was £250 out of pocket and not even certain I had been given a fair deal!

Book reviews can be expensive, so it is not something undertaken lightly. You would be surprised how many of the big review companies simply farm the book out to a reviewer who might actually be new to the business. I'm not sure how much of my £250 went to the reviewer and how much went to the company. You can probably work that out for yourself. There is also a risk that you may not get your book to the person interested in your genre. Again, the reviewers are seeking to make money and if reviewers are in short supply or busy, there might be a temptation to farm your book out to anyone, regardless of genre. This is a risk you might have to accept when paying for a review.

My suggestion, therefore, is to seek free book reviews rather  than paying, but if you do pay, heed my advice and check what other authors are saying about the reviewer. In any event -- good luck and best wishes.



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