Ruminating On: Paid Reviews

Dear Authors,

Fiverr reviewers are the street hookers of the reviewing world. Kirkus would be the high-priced escorts. They’re both gonna charge you. One’s cheaper. One is of a higher quality. One is more socially acceptable. Both will lie for you about the quality of your output.

Either way, you’re still paying someone to pay attention to you.

There are plenty of reviewing platforms that do not charge money. Both in the big leagues and the minors. You don’t have to settle, but you must do your research and have patience. When readers read reviews, they look through a mixture of both positive and negative reviews. All positives is just as bad for you as all negatives. Purchasing 100 five-star reviews is likely hurting more than it is helping. I know some readers (myself included) who only read negative reviews because we know five-star reviews usually cannot be trusted. I’m even too liberal with my fives, especially on something I’m fanboying over.

My point is this: You can legally pay for reviews just like you can take a trip to Amsterdam and legally pay for sex. You can buy at a street hooker level, or splurge for a classy call girl, but you’re still paying for affection that you will likely be the only one to enjoy. Why not meet a nice person, settle down, and enjoy a lifetime of experiences? This is the comfort and security real readers and reviewers provide.

As long as authors keep buying reviews, these liars will keep selling them. And as long as they’re getting paid, they’ll keep flooding the market with bullshit reviews we cannot trust. Sooner or later, the review system will shatter under the weight of false reviews and will become as meaningless as Donald Trump’s run for president. No one will take them seriously, at any level.

Those are my thoughts on the matter. As always, conversation is welcome in the comment section. Rage is not.

*hugs and high fives*



16 thoughts on “Ruminating On: Paid Reviews

  1. Hence, the appreciation of the unpaid book blogger who will be brutally honest no matter who you are.
    Thanks for this post. Same subject came up earlier this week somewhere on the blogosphere, though it was exploring the idea that authors are paid (somewhat) for what they do but many book bloggers are not and part of that is because consumers often quirk an eyebrow (or should) at paid reviews.

  2. Yeah it’s an asinine reality in my viewpoint. Paid reviews don’t have no love from me. I don’t agree with practice and it just turns me off from the author that does it. There are some big wig writers that use it, not naming names, but they are the ones you always see on the top lists and New York times and so on.

    1. I simply do not believe that one can be unbiased if they’ve received money to write the review. The mind leans more toward, “Hey, if I give them a generous review they’ll be back for more and they will more than likely tell their friends!”

  3. fuonlyknew

    Being a blogger and reviewer, I’m focused on why I like a book. I’m with you about fangirling sometimes. It might not be 5 starts to someone else but I explain myself too. I ignore those paid reviews. I look for ones from readers and bloggers. They are most likely to be trusted with the truth. If you look at reviews for authors I enjoy, you’ll find 3, 4, and 5 star reviews. Just because I love them doesn’t get them all 5s. And what’s with 3 stars. It seems that just liking a book doesn’t count for much anymore?

  4. Wow, call me ignorant, but I had no idea that author’s are actually paying people to review their work. Thank you so much for being this to my attention. I find this incredibly sad, and ridiculous to stoop that low. I mean, if someone doesn’t like my writing, it may stink a bit, but I’m not going to hold them in contempt. Many of us realize that we can’t please all the people all the time, but unfortunately this isn’t always the case. Then when a reader doesn’t like your work, they get butt hurt and lash out at you when they shouldn’t.

    This is truly sad, man…

    Question, how can you tell if you’re reading a paid review?

    1. It can be hard to tell, but a big clue is stuff like “This book was great. Best book I ever read. The writing was exceptional and the characters were likable. Perfect!”

      You’ll notice there’s nothing in that review about the book itself, likely because the reviewer didn’t actual read the book. This is not 100% foolproof. Some people write reviews like this so as not to give spoilers, and others write reviews like this because they’re not very good at reviewing.

      1. Yeah, comments like those would seem unreliable and telling…

        That’s another valid point, though like you said, not definitive. My reviews tend to be a little lengthy and in-depth, but others are short and to the point. That doesn’t mean they didn’t read the book or that they were paid to review it. Thank you, this has been most enlightening!

  5. Any review consisting of one paragraph of vague criticism isn’t worth the short time it takes to read or write. Mine included. And yes, I used to review like that.

    1. Yeah, if you’re going to give constructive criticism, then don’t be vague. Not only are they do a disservice to the author, but to themselves, IMO. I’ve never seen any of your reviews like that, but I’m sure they helped led at least one person to try the book out.

  6. I know. I was just cluing you in. Back in 2011 and 2012 I wrote short as shit reviews because I was writing more than I was reading and I didn’t want to be bothered. Felt like I was wasting words I could have been using in my stories. I was an idiot lol

      1. I joined GR in 2012, but before that I wrote reviews here, on my blog. I’ve since deleted those early reviews on my blog, but some of my early reviews are still up on GR. I delete them and rewrite them when I come across them, though. 🙂

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