is a news, review and interview site."
The New York Times posted an article Book Reviewers for Hire Meet a Demand for Online Raves.
In this four page article, entrepreneur Todd Rutherford began the online business www.GettingBookReviews.com and soon earned $28,000 a month. (This site has since shut down or changed its domain.)
His business plan? He will write one book review for $99, 20 online reviews for $499 and 50 for $999.
Authors paid for it.
The article goes on to discuss how Rutherford then placed an ad on Craig's List offering to pay reviewers $15 per review. (I think per review, maybe $15 per several reviews of one product. The article leaves this unclear.)
The reviewers were told if they cannot give a 5-star review they would still be paid half their fee. I quote, "As you might guess, this hardly ever happened."
So I took this to Facebook and received the following responses:
"Just one more reason people will stop listening to actual reviewers."
"What does that say about the author? If you have to pay someone to give you good reviews maybe you need to redo the book?"
Both very valid points, and points I agree with. But let's set that aside for the moment and look at this from a publicity and money-making standpoint.
It may discredit blogs (mine included) everywhere. It may prove the author is morally inept.
But does it matter? More importantly, does this strategy work??
The article leads me to believe it might. It also quotes author Ronald Hughes, author of Infinite Exposure, who says he's spent approximately $20,000 on review sites and has yet to make the crossover from author - to recognized author.
Mr. Hughes, I am no publicist and I do not work in marketing, but perhaps a more attractive book cover and website font would boost your sales? As a reader, I avoid works with covers that look like this. - SallieIf reviewers can make a living writing honest reviews for authors who then use these reviews to make a living themselves - does it really discredit review blogs? For 10 minutes I admit I didn't think it should, unless the authors and readers were vastly narrow minded. I said as much on author Beverley Kendall's Facebook thread,
"I know I may get nailed to the wall on this. But if you're paid for an honest review I don't see the harm in it. Disclose you were paid, disclose the amount, disclose if you were paid for an honest review or for a certain star review."
Because in theory this makes complete sense. Authors count on free work from bloggers and reviewers to boost their book sales. If the blogger/reviewer can find a way to make an honest profit who am I to begrudge them?
Then I received the most articulate response from Mary,
"How can you ever know if it is honest if the person is being paid. They may say it is an honest review, but in their mind they would be thinking if I give a bad review will that author hire me again. I don't think it can be an honest one and I don't want to try and figure out which ones are honest and which are not. I just don't agree with it and I think most authors won't either."
...well reason with me in a practical manner, why don't you?? I don't know about most authors, but do believe that most valid authors won't agree with it.
There are many, many comments surrounding The New York Times's article, but Mary from Facebook says it well:
Once there's money involved rarely can people be completely honest - good intentions are not.
But now this begs the question - in a world where there are so many books, how does one get enough reviews to make an impact?
So what do you all think?
Is it harmful for reviewers to be paid for honest reviews?
If it's harmful, who is it harmful to?
And does it matter if the blogging industry is discredited - since the majority of us run our sites and provide our services for absolutely free?
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your historical sucks because they only read fantasy.
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