Some of your best loved books you found high-ranking on Amazon or the New York Times Best Sellers list actually paid for their reviews. What do you think about that? Is it ethical to pay for a book review?
First off, just so you know, I've never paid for any reviews of my books. Not that my stance makes me a saint. It's just where I, personally, land on the issue. Now that we've got that little disclaimer out of the way, let's explore this issue . . .
When It's Ethical
Top book reviewers are super swamped with authors and publishers clamoring for them to please-please-pulleazzzz read and review their book. These reviewers are sought after because they do a great job explaining the pros and cons of a particular tale. Readers trust them, and consequently, books they recommend sell well.
But reading books takes time. Hours. And writing a credible review takes even longer. Is it too much to ask a publisher or author to finance that time spent reading their book? I think not. Paying a top reviewer for an honest and expedited review is no more schmaltzy than sending out personalized thank you gifts as a promo for your new book.
When It's NOT Ethical
Paying for a guaranteed 5-star review is just wrong, plain and simple. It devalues the "real" fantastic reviews and it's a flat-out lie if the book is a stinker. The real problem isn't that a reviewer receives money to write a review; it's when that money causes the reviewer to lie about the book.
Here are some ways to spot a fake "great" review on Amazon . . .
- the copy is short
- the copy is vague
- the author of the review has very few if any other reviews
Besides buying an author's books, writing a review is the best way to support that starving artist. Unless you want to send them a money order. Or chocolate.
I hear voices. Loud. Incessant. And very real. Which basically gives me
two options: choke back massive amounts of Prozac or write fiction. I chose the
latter. Way cheaper. I've been writing since I discovered blank wall space and
Crayolas. I seek to glorify God in all that I write...except for that graffiti
phase I went through as a teenager. Oops. Did I say that out loud?