Saturday, June 28, 2014

Auggie-Rant: Paid Book Reviews and Why They're Not Helping You

Here we are book lovers. Another moment when I just can't keep it to myself.

You're an author and you've got a new book. You need reviews to help get your book noticed, to attract more readers. Understandable. You know that bad reviews might harm your book sales and you're a little uneasy about the prospect of turning your work over to all of these people who might not like your book ESPECIALLY if they post their reviews on public media.

Again. Understandable.

But here's the deal... that's a risk you have to take as an author. Authors who believe that they can purchase good reviews and therefore up their book sales are fooling themselves and here's why...

1. It is completely against FTC guidelines for a reviewer to post a review that has been paid for without stating in the review that they received payment.

If your paid reviewer states in their review that you gave them money for their "honest" opinion that means that no smart consumer will trust the review. This will hurt you in the long run because people don't like to feel duped or lied to. If you don't think the average consumer is smart enough to figure this out then there's your problem. They're reading reviews on purpose, because they care about their time and money and no one wants to be swindled.

Even if your book truly is GREAT a consumer that discovers you're paying for reviews will have a hard time trusting any review they read and may be less likely to take a chance on your work.

2. There are so many well established blogs out there that review books FOR FREE. Let me repeat... FOR FREE. The huge majority of book-reviewers with blogs or social media circles take review requests at no charge. You may have to wait in line and you might have to ask multiple reviewers before one will take your book (they're either backlogged with requests or your genre just isn't their cup o' tea) but eventually you'll get a foothold. This is where YOU (or your author's assistant) are going to have to do some dirty work and start sending e-mails.

3. Don't want to send e-mails to every blog on the planet? Perfect. Here's where you can put that money that you want to spend on marketing to good use. Pay for a tour. Book tour companies exist in droves and they charge varying rates for Blog tours. They do the work getting the reviewers together (the reviewers are not paid for their opinions) and your money goes to their time in developing your new media marketing materials. These can be really effective and it violates no FTC guidelines because no reviewers are being paid. The only thing they have to mention is that they received the book from you for review.

Before you fork over money for an "honest review" reconsider what you're actually getting yourself into. You might be spending unnecessary money, be wasting money by paying for individual reviews and LESS exposure, or you might be alienating future readers.

Take that $10+ and go and buy The Book Reviewer Yellow Pages that includes HUNDREDS of book reviewers who offer review services for free and marketing services (not including reviews) for affordable and honest prices.

Don't want to spend the money?

Bookblogs.ning, Goodreads, or Booklikes are great places to find book reviewers.

If you're REALLY WORRIED about negative reviews have a conversation with the reviewer and ask them if they would be willing to work with you. Some reviewers won't post a negative review on their website but will give YOU feedback including why they didn't like the work or thought it needed improvement if they don't end up loving it.

In short paying for a review is a waste of everyone's time and YOUR money.

End Rant.

Until Next Blog,

Read On!

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