PDA

View Full Version : Paid review services?



AlexJohnston
01-05-2014, 03:06 PM
Happy New Year all!

I'm new to the forum and I'm new to indie publishing so I'm sure I'll be here with lots of questions down the line.

But I'll start with one straightforward one. Does anyone have any thoughts on the value of using one of the various sites that offer paid-for reviews?

I've just published my debut novel on Kindle. I'm not out to make money, but I'd like to get it noticed, and I feel like getting some reviews is vital to this, and I've noticed various services that will professionally review a book for around $100.

Has anyone used such services, and did you feel it was worthwhile?

If not, any other tips for getting the book reviewed, either just reader reviews on Amazon, or elsewhere? At the moment it feels a bit like it might be a case of waiting to be struck by lightning!

stephenf
01-05-2014, 03:42 PM
Hi
Personally ,I would not pay for a Critique .There are plenty of people who are willing to give their time for free , on this site and others . A single critique , even a professional one, has a limited usefulness . I believe you need to form a consensus from as many people as possible. If you are not too bothered about making money You can post your book here
www.feedbooks.com
Good Luck

Cathy C
01-05-2014, 04:10 PM
For the publications that offer paid reviews, I would caution that the fact you're paying does not guarantee a favorable review or that it will be selected for publication. All it guarantees is that the book will wind up on a reviewer's desk and that s/he will write a review. Publishers like Krikus and PW don't publish all the reviews that are created, and are often scathing.

Now, that said, there are usually great bits to be pulled out of an otherwise meh review, and the mere fact a review exists can generate sales. You will receive the review by email, whether or not it's published.

The question is whether the readers likely to pick up your book would be impressed, or even know who in the heck Kirkus or PW are. I know when I was just a reader, I sure didn't. :Shrug:

It can have value, but only you can decide if it's enough.

ajaye
01-05-2014, 04:50 PM
Alex I looked at your book, loved the first para, and jumped at the chance to download it free. So thank you, I'm looking forward to reading it.
Others here on AW have much more experience and knowledge than I do re paying for a review but FWIW I would try networking and blog touring etc to spread the word.

Old Hack
01-05-2014, 08:04 PM
Happy New Year all!

I'm new to the forum and I'm new to indie publishing so I'm sure I'll be here with lots of questions down the line.

Happy new year to you, Alex!

It's "self publishing", not "indie publishing".

You might want to read the guidelines. (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=249332)


But I'll start with one straightforward one. Does anyone have any thoughts on the value of using one of the various sites that offer paid-for reviews?

We've had several discussions about the benefits--or otherwise--of paying for reviews. Here's a thread I started a while ago (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=240414): if you search you'll find others. I think it's a bad idea, because of the conflicts of interests paying for reviews stir up, and because paid-for reviews can't be trusted to be honest.


I've just published my debut novel on Kindle. I'm not out to make money, but I'd like to get it noticed, and I feel like getting some reviews is vital to this, and I've noticed various services that will professionally review a book for around $100.

Has anyone used such services, and did you feel it was worthwhile?

If not, any other tips for getting the book reviewed, either just reader reviews on Amazon, or elsewhere? At the moment it feels a bit like it might be a case of waiting to be struck by lightning!

Some of AW's members have paid for reviews. Not all of them were satisfied with the reviews they received, if I remember rightly.

Why don't you approach a few bloggers who offer reviews for free?

And read the big sticky in our book promotion room to see if there's anything else you can do.

shaldna
01-05-2014, 09:31 PM
Happy New Year all!

Hi, welcome.


I'm new to the forum and I'm new to indie publishing so I'm sure I'll be here with lots of questions down the line.

Do you mean independent or self publishing? We don't use 'indie' here as a term for self publishing as that's not what indie means. Indie means you are published by an independent press - ie. not one of the Big 5. I know it sounds like a small issue, but this board is populated by a lot of professional writers, editors, agents and publishers and we prefer that the correct industry terms are used.


But I'll start with one straightforward one. Does anyone have any thoughts on the value of using one of the various sites that offer paid-for reviews?

Honestly? Useless for the most part. I mean, the majority of those sites / services / individuals will be unknown to the reader so the review won't have any more credibility than an anonymous review online. On the other side of that coin, those within the industry will know it's a paid for review and so you'll lose credibility on that front.

Personally I would let the readers provide your reviews.


I've just published my debut novel on Kindle. I'm not out to make money, but I'd like to get it noticed, and I feel like getting some reviews is vital to this, and I've noticed various services that will professionally review a book for around $100.

A while back a certain big name self published writer was revealed to have paid a substantial amount of money for people to write reviews for him on Amazon. I think it's a pretty deceptive way to go about things, and after all, if you are paying someone to write a review they are only going to say good things, so the review means nothing.


If not, any other tips for getting the book reviewed, either just reader reviews on Amazon, or elsewhere? At the moment it feels a bit like it might be a case of waiting to be struck by lightning!

I found a combination of giveaways on my site and on places like Goodreads encouraged people to read my books, and the more who read it the more people might possibly review it. I also found some great bloggers and book reviewers who will often review for a free copy - but bear in mind, they do not hold their punches and if the book sucks they WILL tell you.

You can also go local - why not try sending a copy to the review / book section of your local papers? Or contact local papers who might be interested in a local author for a short write up or review.

AlexJohnston
01-05-2014, 10:12 PM
It's "self publishing", not "indie publishing".

Very sorry, guys, I'd missed that guideline. I know a lot of people make a big thing about the fact that we should call ourselves "indie", but it doesn't personally bother me either way - so "self publishing" it is!

On the paid reviews, it seems like the general consensus is "no", then.

I have already approached a couple of bloggers who've taken the book to review, which is awesome. And I'll continue to look out more of them. I've really been very impressed by how helpful and supportive the self publishing community seems to be.

But I still felt like it might be worth spending a little money doing something to give things a nudge forward. After all, it's obvious that commercial publishers (being careful with my terms now!) spend money pushing their books through advertising and placement. And who knows what really goes on behind the scenes to get commercially published books reviewed - I'd not be one of those people who goes in for the conspiracy theories about commercial publishing, but surely it would be naive to think that even if outright payment isn't involved there aren't sometimes at least funny handshakes involved and that sort of thing?
So I guess there's an sense that self publishers ought to have similar options.

But I do understand the problem when a review is openly paid for, yes.

The site that had specifically caught my eye was this one, for what it's worth: http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/

I guess there's something tantalising about the idea of seeing a professional review of my work, even if it did turn out to be critical, and even if I'd had to pay for it!


I would caution that the fact you're paying does not guarantee a favorable review

I do totally understand that. In fact, I'd expect a professional review to be at least in parts critical. But I am also realistically confident enough that the book is not a total train wreck, and that the writing itself stands up well enough that there'd be at least some pull-able compliments!

But anyway, I think for the time being I'll carry on approaching the bloggers and keeping my fingers crossed for some reader reviews and maybe reassess the situation a couple of months down the line.

Thanks all!

AlexJohnston
01-05-2014, 10:13 PM
Alex I looked at your book, loved the first para, and jumped at the chance to download it free. So thank you, I'm looking forward to reading it.

Ajaye, that's absolutely awesome - thank you so very much! You've made my day :)

Medievalist
01-05-2014, 10:21 PM
Paid reviews don't work, and can have disastrous consequences.

I'd suggest blog giveaways, and absolutely giveaways on Goodreads and Library thing.

And if you're comfortable reviewing books you genuinely are really enthusiastic about, whether or not they're your genre, that can help. But given the current bizarre climate around reviews, I'd stick to books you really love.

Old Hack
01-05-2014, 10:22 PM
But I still felt like it might be worth spending a little money doing something to give things a nudge forward. After all, it's obvious that commercial publishers (being careful with my terms now!) spend money pushing their books through advertising and placement. And who knows what really goes on behind the scenes to get commercially published books reviewed - I'd not be one of those people who goes in for the conspiracy theories about commercial publishing, but surely it would be naive to think that even if outright payment isn't involved there aren't sometimes at least funny handshakes involved and that sort of thing?
So I guess there's an sense that self publishers ought to have similar options.

Some things are available to purchase: places on the tables at the front of bookshops are usually paid for by publishers; inclusion into certain lists (for example, "our favourite books of the year" lists in bookshops); and advertising, of course.

In my experience, reviews in respected publications aren't paid for. If they were, they wouldn't be respected any more.

The ads that trade publishers buy are almost always aimed at the book trade, not at potential readers, as they've been found to be most effective. If you're self publishing it's highly unlikely that you'll have access to distribution in the same way the big publishers do, so it wouldn't be worth your while buying ads in the same way the big publishers do.


But I do understand the problem when a review is openly paid for, yes.

The site that had specifically caught my eye was this one, for what it's worth: http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/

That site is aimed at self published writers, not at readers. What use would a review there be, unless you're hoping to sell your book to other writers, rather than to readers?

AlexJohnston
01-05-2014, 11:38 PM
That site is aimed at self published writers, not at readers. What use would a review there be, unless you're hoping to sell your book to other writers, rather than to readers?

I very much see your point there. In fact, you've inadvertently reawakened something that niggled at me ever since I started looking into self-publishing as an option, and which I'd put out of my mind lately - the uncomfortable worry that actually real readers who aren't also writers are as rare as hen's teeth in this market.

Of course, writers are readers too, so maybe it's not a problem. In fact, when you consider it on pure logic it ought not to be a problem at all. So why then does the possibility niggle?

This might actually be worth a post in its own right...

WriterBN
01-06-2014, 12:34 AM
AlexJohnston, try the Making Connections group on Goodreads. It's a group designed specifically for authors and potential reviewers to connect, and the mods are super helpful.

I wouldn't pay for a review, but that's my opinion.

AlexJohnston
01-07-2014, 02:38 AM
Thanks WriterBN,
I've been exploring Goodreads lately, and yes it does seem like a friendly place, and a place where it may be possible to rub shoulders with readers more easily than elsewhere. I've joined the group you mention - thanks for the tip!