Paying for Reviews? Confused.
S P Oldham
Okay, so now I am confused.
It has always been my understanding that paying for reviews is a no-no. That it is frowned upon and that, generally speaking, the people who get the most benefit out of a paid review is the reviewer. Apparently this is not so.
Just this morning I have been browsing Goodreads, looking for ways in which I can raise my profile. I came across a sponsored advertisement where an author was saying how great this particular review had been and what a difference it was making to her writing and sales and so, naturally, I clicked the link to have a look.
This is where my confusion comes in.
The link was to a reviewers site called Kirkus. I have heard of them before actually. Chances are, so have you. I believe they are quite well known. Now I am not suggesting for one minute that either Kirkus or the author in question have done anything wrong, but I don't get it. If you click the 'How to submit a review' link on the Kirkus page, the first thing you see is the price - $425 - $575 depending on how quick a response you want. So there is no question that this is a paid review site. That's a lot of money for a review, isn't it? Still, if it is reaping the rewards the author says it is, maybe it is worth it.
Yet Goodreads is, I believe, owned and run by Amazon, and Amazon states very clearly that paid for reviews are not in anyway acceptable. But the link to Kirkus reviews features prominently in a Sponsored Books feature on the Goodreads page... see why I am confused?
So is this a genuine oversight on the part of Goodreads, and an innocent mistake by the author, or is a blind eye being turned? And if that is the case, then why are paid reviews not acceptable on Amazon?
Not that I intend to ever pay for a review. As tempting as they are, especially when they have such an impact as the author I refer to claims it does, it feels somehow wrong to pay for a review. After all, what reviewer is going to be genuinely critical when you have handed over 500 dollars for their opinion? Plus, to be honest, I simply don't have the money to pay for them.
I work very hard for the (very few) reviews that I have on my books. I admit that it irks me somewhat that someone can hand over cash, get a great review and then reap the rewards. Perhaps that is a little of the green-eyed monster raising its head, but I don't think it is entirely the case. I just find it disheartening and I despair of ever being able to compete, review wise that is. I have faith in my writing.
What are your thoughts? Do you think paid for reviews are fair and should be accepted without question? I'd love to know if I am alone in this!