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Super_Duper
06-18-2015, 01:07 AM
Has anyone used a paid book review service? At first blush, it seems kinda skeevy to "buy reviews" but I see that some very reputable companies such as Kirkus and Midwest Book Review are in fact paid services. I have also looked at IndieReader, BlueInk, and Self-Publishing Review (SPR).

Just wondering if anyone has utilized such a service, and what the results were? Or is there a stigma attached to "buying reviews" that indie/self-pub authors just don't want to touch?

JasonS
06-18-2015, 10:11 AM
Be veerrry careful! Better, just don't do it. The argument about Kirkus etal does not hold with the people at Amazon or your readers. Yes, Kirkus is paid. It is also honored over a long time as giving ethical reviews. But unless you are going to pay the big bucks for the well established folks like Kirkus that have a reputation for honest work, then stay away from any paid reviews.

Two reasons.

First: The practical. The trend at Amazon is increasingly sharpening their algorithm to ferret out reviews that might possibly not be honestly organic. For example, if a beta reader does a great job and you say so in your acknowledgments Amazon is likely to remove any posted review that beta reader wrote about your book. It can all be above board, honest, genuine, and still get slapped down. They have slapped down review rings in the past, and are now moving into more and more carefully monitoring the truth in reviews. Truly this is a good thing as it will help readers make a more informed decision.

Second: If your readers learn that your reviews were bought, they will rebel. It just makes people mad to think they have been duped - honest reviews or not, if they are paid people will feel like they are not real.

Advice that you didn't ask for: Spend the money on better editing, make your book rock solid, give away the first / best one you have and get a lot of organic reviews.

cornflake
06-18-2015, 10:18 AM
Has anyone used a paid book review service? At first blush, it seems kinda skeevy to "buy reviews" but I see that some very reputable companies such as Kirkus and Midwest Book Review are in fact paid services. I have also looked at IndieReader, BlueInk, and Self-Publishing Review (SPR).

Just wondering if anyone has utilized such a service, and what the results were? Or is there a stigma attached to "buying reviews" that indie/self-pub authors just don't want to touch?

There are arms of some outlets - like Kirkus - that offer paid reviews, but the main service is not paid. There's a difference and people can tell.

oceansoul
06-18-2015, 12:45 PM
I know a lot of people who pay for book blog tours because they don't want to organise themselves or don't know enough bloggers in their genre, which is kind of indirectly paying for reviews. However, in that circumstance, it's the host/organiser who gets paid, not the reviewers themselves so it's not as much of a conflict of interest, and those reviews tend to only be published on the blog itself and on GoodReads.

donsloan
08-08-2015, 07:18 PM
I was also looking into a paid review and specifically sent Amazon a note about it. They said it was fine to post such a review in the Editorial Reviews section (accessed through your Author Central page.) As to whether they are worth it or not, I have seen many best sellers with a paid review on their page. Seems to me they are buying promotional blurbs, no different than you see on the dust cover of a newly published novel in a bookstore. Bottom line: I believe I would pay something reasonable ($75 or less) for a favorable remark about my work displayed in so prominent a place. That seems more like a marketing expense to me. And I think potential readers want to be reassured that a third party found the book to be worthwhile. Just my opinion. ��

Errant Lobe
08-08-2015, 07:41 PM
I am some information to share:

Perhaps Snagshout.com would work for you.

Snagshout is a new review website with another model. It launched in March or April 2015. Basically, reputable companies give you a selection of their products at a significant reduction of price or totally free as long as you post a review on Amazon.com afterwards. Once you have posted a review, you become eligible to choose and review another selection from their website, etc., etc.

They contacted me and i told them that they needed to allow authors to benefit from this model and they agreed. So, i promised that i would let people that i know, become acquainted with their site.

Head on over and take a look.

Barbara R.
08-08-2015, 07:43 PM
Kirkus started offering reviews to s-p writers as a money-making sideline--and it's big money, $500 a pop last I heard. They don't charge publishers for their reviews of their books. Just because a company has a respectable rep doesn't mean everything they do is strictly kosher. Random House/Penguin, for example, are the corporate owners of Author Solutions, one of most egregious vanity publishers. (Interestingly enough, the famous publisher Bennett Cerf (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1970/07/let-us-now-appraise-famous-writers/305319/)was a principal in an old Mail-Order writing school scheme that traded on Random House's reputation.) IMO, and that of many readers and book-buyers, a paid review doesn't mean a thing, no matter who it comes from. With less sophisticated buyers, such a review might help create the impression that the book was issued by a trade publisher rather than self-published, lending it a bit of perceived legitimacy. Lots of s-p writers want to create that impression, so if you're one of those, I suppose you could consider it. But IMO it's a sad waste of money. I agree with the poster who said you'd do better spending that money honing your own skills as a writer.

WriterBN
08-08-2015, 09:38 PM
To quote a former president: "Nah ganna d'wit."

Errant Lobe
08-11-2015, 10:15 PM
I am some information to share:

Perhaps Snagshout.com would work for you.

Snagshout is a new review website with another model. It launched in March or April 2015. Basically, reputable companies give you a selection of their products at a significant reduction of price or totally free as long as you post a review on Amazon.com afterwards. Once you have posted a review, you become eligible to choose and review another selection from their website, etc., etc.

They contacted me and i told them that they needed to allow authors to benefit from this model and they agreed. So, i promised that i would let people that i know, become acquainted with their site.

Head on over and take a look.


May I recommend that anyone, if interested, take a look at Snagshout.com.

I see that many people here have families and so, just the discounted or free, legitimate, manufacturers' products are worth a look.

veinglory
08-11-2015, 10:48 PM
If you want to exchange copies for reviews there is a plethora of sites, netgally, goodreads giveaways, inkspand etc

Arpeggio
08-11-2015, 11:43 PM
If you want to exchange copies for reviews there is a plethora of sites, netgally, goodreads giveaways, inkspand etc

inkspand FAQ looks interesting but according to their FAQ the reviews are paid for. "Readers receive $10 to read paid slot books and so there’s an incentive for readers to read these books over free slot books."

......and I know that the general consensus among customers, most of which don't post reviews, is that somewhere, somehow, other customers magically bothered.

veinglory
08-12-2015, 12:10 AM
The have a paid and a free service. I threw them in as an example because of the free service which is basically an indirect review swap.

Polenth
08-12-2015, 07:12 AM
Publishers Weekly has a system to submit self-published books for review. It's free to submit, though they're selective about the books they take. I did this and got reviewed. I wouldn't say it did anything for sales, but it's nice to have something to put in Editorial Reviews.

http://booklife.com/about-us/review-submission-guidelines.html

Arpeggio
08-14-2015, 12:32 AM
The have a paid and a free service. I threw them in as an example because of the free service which is basically an indirect review swap.

That's a shame. I guess I'll have to wait another 3 years for a customer review :e2zzz:

Ironic how the only way to do something about it, is to send review copies and get review(s) that are not "verified purchase", which many customers don't trust. Whereas fake reviewers are most certainly working on the verified purchase reviews, which customers trust more. Yet, I have paid for legitimate market research and got over 400 responses from the general public (paid respondents) in a matter of a few hours.

Customers trust customer reviews providing they are given for free, but when it comes to customers sharing their opinions, those that do are in a minority, even more miniscule in comparison to 400+ in a few hours fo' a lil' bit o' money, pretty sad.

davidjgalloway
02-05-2016, 06:00 AM
I was wondering if anyone had any more recent thoughts on this thread. The one confusion I find is that a lot of posters are saying "review" without it being clear what kind of review they're referring to. In Amazon's case, there's now editorial reviews (a separate section), and the holy of holies, the customer review. I was poking on selfpublishingreview.com, and their FAQ on this is very interesting reading simply to see what Amazon allows and what it doesn't, and what that means for anyone seeking reviews. So I guess the OP question still stands, in terms of what Amazon now calls editorial reviews, are there serious advantages or disadvantages to purchasing reviews for that section?

Also note that the old standby of "send out copies in exchange for review" seems to be specifically prohibited. Either you buy it, or you don't review it, says Amazon, since the gold standard for validity is the "verified purchase."

http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/2015/10/all-about-reviews-and-amazon-a-quick-guide-and-rules/

andiwrite
02-05-2016, 10:36 AM
Wow. Amazon seems to be doing everything in their power to make this hard for authors. I get, to some degree, why they are frowning on friends and family leaving reviews. I still think it's unfair, because friends and family can give their honest opinions of a book, and if they bought a copy, they should be free to. However, no longer allowing ARC reviews? WTF????

Does Amazon realize that very few people leave organic reviews unless the book is insanely popular or controversial somehow? Sending out ARCs is the standard way to get reviews around a book's release. What exactly do they expect us to do?

Old Hack
02-05-2016, 11:26 AM
I was wondering if anyone had any more recent thoughts on this thread. The one confusion I find is that a lot of posters are saying "review" without it being clear what kind of review they're referring to. In Amazon's case, there's now editorial reviews (a separate section), and the holy of holies, the customer review. I was poking on selfpublishingreview.com, and their FAQ on this is very interesting reading simply to see what Amazon allows and what it doesn't, and what that means for anyone seeking reviews. So I guess the OP question still stands, in terms of what Amazon now calls editorial reviews, are there serious advantages or disadvantages to purchasing reviews for that section?

Also note that the old standby of "send out copies in exchange for review" seems to be specifically prohibited. Either you buy it, or you don't review it, says Amazon, since the gold standard for validity is the "verified purchase."

http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/2015/10/all-about-reviews-and-amazon-a-quick-guide-and-rules/

I wouldn't rely on the article you linked to too much.

The Self Publishing Review charges for reviews. The article is a way to justify those charges. From the linked-to article:


2. Editorial ReviewsThese are reviews written by companies that write reviews for publicity, such as Self-Publishing Review, Kirkus Reviews, Clarion, Publisher’s Weekly, Blue Ink Reviews, and Indiereader. These reviews are allowed by Amazon, and are posted by the author themselves in the section Amazon provides for these reviews (and sometimes self-populates in the case of Kirkus Reviews) called Editorial Reviews, found in the Book Details page. You can read about how Amazon supports these reviews here. (https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/help?topicID=200649600)

Outcome: Totally fine, and will help promote your book on Amazon. These are marketing for your book. These reviews will be staying on the site and are an integral part of the Amazon Book Page – built by Amazon themselves.

3. Customer Reviews Gained by Mailing ListsWe at SPR have several BestSeller (http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/spr-bestseller-book-packages/) packages that include getting Verified Customer Reviews. The reason our reviews are allowed is simple: you are not paying us to write the Customer Reviews, and we don’t know the reviewers. We are using our mailing lists to get your book seen, bought, and reviewed by members of the public. We have hundreds of readers on our list who signed up to receive news about books, and when they see a book they like, they told us via a survey a long while ago that they will most likely buy it and review it on Amazon. We have no control over their reviews, and our communication is not interactive.
Therefore, these kinds of reviews are fine to acquire – because you are buying our marketing skills to get your book out there and a happy side effect of the advertising is that you get your Verified Reviews (guaranteed numbers because we have enough people to know the minimum amount of reviews you will get when we market your book). Other companies that have a method like this include Awesome Indies (http://awesomeindies.net/read-to-review-service/). Here, you will get an unbiased Customer Review by someone you didn’t pay to review your book.


They're saying that it's ok for them to charge for reviews because of the clever way they do it. The article is all about self-justification.

I wonder how many books their paid-for services have sold.

davidjgalloway
02-05-2016, 03:36 PM
Old Hack, I'm curious what you think is the danger of "relying on" the article? I found it interesting because it led me to what I didn't realize about Amazon's policies, that's all. Now, yes, we probably shouldn't call it an "article" at all, which denigrates journalism, since it is precisely what you describe it to be--an ad. It also seems that many authors are still following the "send out 100 free copies and ask for reviews" approach, which I didn't know was now against Amazon's policy.

Andiwrite, I kind of disagree. Amazon is simply becoming a gatekeeper. When they weren't, that created more opportunities for authors, but I think what they've realized--and what anyone who looks for books now realizes--is that there has to be a minimum standard. All Amazon is asking is that you put an item of quality out there. They're trying to get rid of the items which, quite frankly, are embarassing to the company and its customers: books with no editing, "novels" that are 5k words long, transparent attempts to piggyback on big names like Harry Potter with deceptive advertising copy/keywords, and so on. What they want authors to do, apparently, is the only honest thing--build a following with traditional marketing from the ground up, using verified purchase reviews and no hanky-panky. I can respect that, even if it makes it harder for me. I don't think Amazon wants to publish "everything." If 90% of everything is crap, they'll do quite fine with the 10%.

What are the odds Amazon's next entry will be a "review booster" package of its own? :)

Just my take.

Cathy C
02-05-2016, 04:15 PM
Here's my take, FWIW:

Authors who pay for a review are doing the equivalent of buying one of those pull tab games at a bingo parlor. You know there are winners in the mix. It's guaranteed by the company. But will YOUR book get one? Maybe. Or not. That's where I don't find the system skeevy.

The real problem is that authors sometimes go into a paid review with the faulty expectation of: "If I had to pay for the review, it will be favorable."

There's no such promise made. The ONLY promise made is: "We will review the book." You are basically paying the overtime wage of one of their reviewers.

PW reviews are typically harsh but honest. Kirkus reviews are both harsh and rare. A glowing review from either (or hell, realistically, even one that a good blurb can be culled from) is something of the holy grail for an author on the rise. A starred review? Agents and editors have gushed and danced around the office for such a gift from the reviewing gods.

So if you decide to intentionally toss your hat in the ring, understand that you could easily be paying for a beating--like winning an auction bid where you get to spar for a round with Mike Tyson. If you make a good showing, it WILL be noticed. No question, and the gates will open. If you survive and remain standing, it could help your career. But there's a strong chance the hit will be devastating and will put you out of the game for a stretch.

If you're going to pay, put only your best work in. Make it shine. Then hope for the best.

davidjgalloway
02-05-2016, 04:31 PM
It would be nice to hear from someone who actually used such a service, because unless I missed it, none of us posting have. Does anybody have first-hand experience? And questions include (along the lines of Old Hack's final thought), did it seem to produce sales (especially if compared to non-promoted works), was it worth the cost, and was there any perceived backlash for buying promotional reviews? I think it would also be interesting to hear from the side of someone who's on one of these vaunted lists that are used to supposedly create such sales.

veinglory
02-05-2016, 07:02 PM
I am some information to share:

Perhaps Snagshout.com would work for you.

This sounds like one of many "Amazon Coupon Clubs". Before taking part you should be aware that 1) you absolutely must make an FCC declaration in the review that you got the product free or discounted, and 2) look at the Amazon forums and you will see that many people taking part in these clubs are having all their reviews deleted and sometimes their ability to review on Amazon withdrawn.

veinglory
02-05-2016, 07:05 PM
However, no longer allowing ARC reviews? WTF????

I saw nothing in this thread or the linked article that suggests this, and it is not the case. Amazon allows ARC reviews. You just need to send the ARC or RC directly to the reviewer and they need to disclose that they received a free copy in return for an honest review.

CaoPaux
02-05-2016, 09:08 PM
A breakdown of Amazon's TOS re: paid reviews: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,229468.0.html

Old Hack
02-05-2016, 10:09 PM
Old Hack, I'm curious what you think is the danger of "relying on" the article? I found it interesting because it led me to what I didn't realize about Amazon's policies, that's all. Now, yes, we probably shouldn't call it an "article" at all, which denigrates journalism, since it is precisely what you describe it to be--an ad. It also seems that many authors are still following the "send out 100 free copies and ask for reviews" approach, which I didn't know was now against Amazon's policy.

It's a sales pitch for their review service. Much of what's in it is skewed to make writers think that paid-for reviews are a good idea, when usually they're not.


Andiwrite, I kind of disagree. Amazon is simply becoming a gatekeeper. When they weren't, that created more opportunities for authors, but I think what they've realized--and what anyone who looks for books now realizes--is that there has to be a minimum standard. All Amazon is asking is that you put an item of quality out there. They're trying to get rid of the items which, quite frankly, are embarassing to the company and its customers: books with no editing, "novels" that are 5k words long, transparent attempts to piggyback on big names like Harry Potter with deceptive advertising copy/keywords, and so on. What they want authors to do, apparently, is the only honest thing--build a following with traditional marketing from the ground up, using verified purchase reviews and no hanky-panky. I can respect that, even if it makes it harder for me. I don't think Amazon wants to publish "everything." If 90% of everything is crap, they'll do quite fine with the 10%.

This assumes that Amazon only sells self published books, and that trade published books aren't an interest for them.



What are the odds Amazon's next entry will be a "review booster" package of its own? :)


I wouldn't be at all surprised.


It would be nice to hear from someone who actually used such a service, because unless I missed it, none of us posting have. Does anybody have first-hand experience? And questions include (along the lines of Old Hack's final thought), did it seem to produce sales (especially if compared to non-promoted works), was it worth the cost, and was there any perceived backlash for buying promotional reviews? I think it would also be interesting to hear from the side of someone who's on one of these vaunted lists that are used to supposedly create such sales.

We've had a few threads here over the years in which the benefits and drawbacks of using paid-for reviews have been discussed. Generally, it was decided they weren't a good idea, mostly because they hold little value because they have been paid for, and because they don't result in enough sales to cover their costs.


I saw nothing in this thread or the linked article that suggests this, and it is not the case. Amazon allows ARC reviews. You just need to send the ARC or RC directly to the reviewer and they need to disclose that they received a free copy in return for an honest review.

Agreed. And most publishers send ARCs to reviewers who write for good publications, not to people who might or might not review the books on Amazon. So I'm not sure this is an issue here.

caracy
04-27-2016, 12:58 AM
Readers Favorites offers free reviews. You have to pay for expedited service, but if you are willing to wait, you can get a free review. I've been reviewing for them for a while now. The staff is super friendly. They also post the reviews to their website, FB and I think a couple of other places.

WeaselFire
04-27-2016, 04:47 AM
May I recommend that anyone, if interested, take a look at Snagshout.com.

I see that many people here have families and so, just the discounted or free, legitimate, manufacturers' products are worth a look.

If you post one of these on Amazon, your are required to acknowledge that you received a free or discounted product for your review. Which means the review is treated as worthless by 99% of readers. Which baffles me how they stay in business.

I mark every review that has this disclaimer as not helpful, eventually Amazon kills the account of the reviewer.

Jeff

veinglory
04-27-2016, 10:09 PM
I mark some of my reviews as being based on a free product because I review for my blog and receive ARCs and I use Netgalley. As I follow Amazon guidelines it does not matter how many people rate those reviews as unhelpful. Complaints can lead to account review, but if the account is in compliance it will not be deleted.

However if you were compensated in any way for a review (not counting the ARC itself as compensation) you cannot post it on Amazon at all.

kevinwaynewilliams
04-30-2016, 07:14 PM
It's certainly not worth buying a lot of these things. Some are adamantly against it. The advantage of them is that they give you something to talk about when promoting your book, and if it comes down to a choice of a paid review or nothing at all, a paid review no longer seems so expensive. I used a few of the $100 paid review sites, and they did help getting my book launched. I have a hard time seeing the Kirkus/Blue Ink/Foreword Reviews fees as being worth it.

Fruitbat
04-30-2016, 09:45 PM
One allowed no-pay way to get a fair number of reviews is to find review circles on Goodreads.

However, "circle" is something of a misnomer, as direct swaps aren't allowed on Amazon (or on Goodreads either, I don't think?). Once someone reviews one of your books, you can't review any of theirs. This eliminates a whole lot of back-scratching because paybacks aren't a worry.

So, if you are hoping for a mutual round of back-patting, you will probably be very disappointed. This is not the same deal as reviews from friends and family might be. Other authors seem to be more annoyed than anyone at poorly done SP books and don't seem to generally have a problem leaving honest ones even when that means one or two stars.

Money isn't involved but time definitely is. You have to give a review for each review you receive. And many SP books are really no joy to slog through.

Also, getting a free SP e-book is really not the valuable item some people seem to think it is or assurance that the review must be fake. After all, you do need to be allowed to read it in order to be able to leave a review and it doesn't cost the author anything. Many, if not most, SP and micro-press authors would probably leap at the chance to send out a free e-book in exchange for that all-elusive review. Imo this differs from getting a paperback ARC from a big five publisher (which has been well-vetted, obviously), or any number of physical products that are given out by manufacturers in exchange for Amazon reviews, although tbh I haven't noticed any big fakey- fakeness among those types of reviews, either.

Per Amazon (USA- other countries' Amazon sites may vary) you do have to state it if you received a free e-book (or more rarely, print book) in exchange for the review. I believe this is not just an Amazon policy but US law, from the FTC or some such.

Amazon rules are also subject to change. It's a good idea to check their latest ones because if you break them too often, they could always ban you and then you'd be sunk. I have no idea how frequent this is and I've never heard anyone say they were banned but I wouldn't chance it.

Also, Amazon seems to have some kind of automatic thingie that finds and deletes reviews based on some mysterious flagging system that sometimes seems to be wrong. I say "seems to be" wrong because you never know, the person who did your review or who you did a review for could be using a sock puppet account or up to something else that you don't know about. You have no recourse and won't receive an explanation, so just be prepared to lose a review now and then if you go this route.

Anyway, bottom line, more reviews will get you more notice. And buyers who read the reviews will be reading the ones that were in exchange for a free book or e-book right along with the reviews that were not. They will use their own judgment as to if they find any given review rings true or not.

However, standing out from the crowd a bit is all they can do for you. Readers who take the time to read the reviews will also probably check out the "look inside this book" feature, where it's easy to get an overall idea of the book's quality.

Arpeggio
05-01-2016, 01:11 AM
Wow. Amazon seems to be doing everything in their power to make this hard for authors. However, no longer allowing ARC reviews? WTF????

I can explain this. Customer reviews over the internet have always been largely fraudulent. The more controversy catches up with Amazon, or "the more the moat of suspicion encloses", the less "land they are left standing on" narrowing things down further and further.

Back in 2004 people would simply post fake praise about their books with their own Amazon profile. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/14/us/amazon-glitch-unmasks-war-of-reviewers.html

It would be extremely easy to prevent people posting reviews of their own book through their own Amazon profile. However, back then, Amazon didn't bother to do anything about it, they simply didn't need to. The important thing is that customers *think* that the customer reviews are genuine, whether they are or not. That is the underlying principal from start to finish.

http://time.com/money/4310796/dont-trust-online-reviews/

http://jcr.oxfordjournals.org/content/42/6/817 quote: "Consumers’ trust in the average user rating as a cue for objective quality appears to be based on an “illusion of validity.”

Fast forward to today, the Competition Markets Authority are interested in fake reviews, and Amazon start filing lawsuits against fake reviewers for the first time in 20 years every time the CMA glances at them. It would be interesting to see what happens if it ever got to the point where websites such as Amazon had legal responsibility for their customer reviews (currently under CDA 230 they don't).


Does Amazon realize that very few people leave organic reviews unless the book is insanely popular or controversial somehow? Sending out ARCs is the standard way to get reviews around a book's release. What exactly do they expect us to do?

I have absolutely no doubt that Amazon are aware of this, and a whole lot more.

leighpod
08-23-2016, 10:53 PM
I used a site that I won't mention that ran a kind of contest, I think, and then whoever won that contest received a copy of my book w/ the caveat that they had to review the book. I had to pay the site, and the site made it EXPLICIT THAT THE REVIEWS WERE NOT PAID. I could chose any number of ways to get the book to them....I chose to "buy" a Kindle copy for most and send-- thinking it would improve my numbers-- which it did. I received some fabulous reviews-- and by that I do not mean great book! Five stars! I mean really insightful, detailed, thoughtful, and deep reviews. I also received my absolute favorite all time review. One word: garbage. As to the second question: Did these greatly increased reviews increase sales. Yes. Was it by the boatload? No. And the strangest and saddest part for me. The book I offered was the first book of a series. I received many: I can't wait to read the rest of her series. I then happily offered the next two books for the same package--- and basically, they trickled in a few reviews and crashed and burned. I have seen many of these Promotional/Review sites popping up-- with the caveat YOU ARE NOT PAYING FOR THESE REVIEWS. I have heard that with that caveat, Amazon is okay. The books I bought were gifted to the person who reviewed them-- so there was a record of that person receiving that book. Somebody posted earlier that Amazon makes it hard for us and I would certainly agree. It's not just about honing your skills and writing a great book. Van Gogh died a pauper as we all know. There are now upwards of what? 5-6 million books on Amazon? How does a s-p break through? We all know how difficult it is to get noticed by an agent-- after all, we're DIY'ing --right? I don't know the solution. Right now I am looking for ways to promote what I've got out there-- and I'm not writing anymore. Not this way. Just started working w/ a new start-up w/ schoolkids hist. fict. Pay is about .80/hr. For now. Lots of hope for the future. We'll see. I don't know you breakthrough the millions. I went thru a site-- but I can tell, it wasn't a cheat. I got good solid honest reviews-- ranging all over. And I made some solid readers, too.

Old Hack
08-23-2016, 11:00 PM
I used a site that I won't mention that ran a kind of contest, I think, and then whoever won that contest received a copy of my book w/ the caveat that they had to review the book. I had to pay the site, and the site made it EXPLICIT THAT THE REVIEWS WERE NOT PAID. I could chose any number of ways to get the book to them....I chose to "buy" a Kindle copy for most and send-- thinking it would improve my numbers-- which it did. I received some fabulous reviews-- and by that I do not mean great book! Five stars! I mean really insightful, detailed, thoughtful, and deep reviews. I also received my absolute favorite all time review. One word: garbage. As to the second question: Did these greatly increased reviews increase sales. Yes. Was it by the boatload? No. And the strangest and saddest part for me. The book I offered was the first book of a series. I received many: I can't wait to read the rest of her series. I then happily offered the next two books for the same package--- and basically, they trickled in a few reviews and crashed and burned. I have seen many of these Promotional/Review sites popping up-- with the caveat YOU ARE NOT PAYING FOR THESE REVIEWS. I have heard that with that caveat, Amazon is okay. The books I bought were gifted to the person who reviewed them-- so there was a record of that person receiving that book. Somebody posted earlier that Amazon makes it hard for us and I would certainly agree. It's not just about honing your skills and writing a great book. Van Gogh died a pauper as we all know. There are now upwards of what? 5-6 million books on Amazon? How does a s-p break through? We all know how difficult it is to get noticed by an agent-- after all, we're DIY'ing --right? I don't know the solution. Right now I am looking for ways to promote what I've got out there-- and I'm not writing anymore. Not this way. Just started working w/ a new start-up w/ schoolkids hist. fict. Pay is about .80/hr. For now. Lots of hope for the future. We'll see. I don't know you breakthrough the millions. I went thru a site-- but I can tell, it wasn't a cheat. I got good solid honest reviews-- ranging all over. And I made some solid readers, too.

If you pay the site to run the competition to get the reviews, you are paying for the reviews. Indirectly, but you're still paying. It's like paying an employment agency to provide secretarial services: you're still paying for the secretarial services.

greendragon
10-20-2016, 05:45 PM
What are the odds Amazon's next entry will be a "review booster" package of its own? :)

And now they have. The latest Amazon Update announced a (https://www.amazon.com/p/feature/abpto3jt7fhb5oc)t the beginning of this month: "Today, we updated the community guidelines (https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=14279631) to prohibit incentivized reviews unless they are facilitated through the Amazon Vine program."

It does go on to say: "The above changes will apply to product categories other than books. We will continue to allow the age-old practice of providing advance review copies of books."

However, the language required appears to have changed. The new standard will likely be "I received a free copy of the book from the publisher/author." Period. No mention of 'in exchange for an honest review." No mention of any obligation at all.




If you pay the site to run the competition to get the reviews, you are paying for the reviews. Indirectly, but you're still paying. It's like paying an employment agency to provide secretarial services: you're still paying for the secretarial services.

And for Review Blog Tours... you pay for the person to organize the blog tour, but the reviewers aren't getting paid and you aren't having direct contact with them. Still, I've seen Amazon yank those reviews in the past.