Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Paid book reviews

There’s been a lot of talk lately about paid for book reviews and these links to the following pages say it far more eloquently and convincingly than I can.

In my opinion, if you have to pay to get a positive book review, I would question whether you have a dedication to writing and, more importantly, to writing well. I understand book reviews are an important part of marketing but, seriously, what’s wrong with using traditional methods of getting honest reviews, and they need to be honest otherwise you stand to have a lot of disappointed readers when they see your book doesn’t measure up.

These are the readers who will buy your book based on the positive review of the paid reviewer whose disappointment may lead them to post their own reviews that you have no control over. This will do your reputation as a writer irreparable harm, and heaven knows the industry is hard enough to break into as it is, so do yourself a favour and don’t pay these charlatans a single cent.

If it’s a manuscript assessment you’re after and please don’t confuse the two, it’s important to understand the purpose of each.  Manuscript appraisal evaluates the publishability of the work looking at different elements and advising where change is needed.

Click on this link to read what a book review is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_review

There are a number of ways to get your book reviewed. Begin with family and friends, although these will probably tend to be either over-complimentary or scathingly critical, it’s a good start and may toughen your writer’s skin. I always advise new writers to join a writers group or on-line community where reviewing books can be a reciprocal arrangement.

You can also approach your local library and ask if they’ll put a few copies on the desk as a give-away to anyone who’ll write a review in return. Libraries are full of readers, who tend to know what they like and what they don’t as well as having an informed opinion on the writing.

Check out which newspapers have a regular book review section – and most do – then make a list of those whose reviewing style you like and write a letter with the following information:
Publisher, title of book, brief synopsis, date of publication.
Approximate length. This is important they know approximately how long it will take to read your submission.
Your contact information, including web site etc.
Your writer’s bio
Make you request and offer to send you a review copy.

Once you have your reviews, decide which ones and what parts to use – sometimes a single line says more than a paragraph in getting a new reader’s attention. Add the name of the independent reviewer, their position or authority to write the review (where relevant) and what publication or organisation they are associated with (if relevant).


  1. A very interesting post, thanks Merlene. I know that I certainly wouldn't pay for a review - I'd rather have nothing but bad reviews than false ones!

  2. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

    Wonderful to find you!


  3. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!


For some reason I'm yet to fathom I'm unable to reply to comments left by others so thank you for dropping by and taking the time to read and comment. Merlene