The Self-Publishing Insider

Are paid book reviews worth it? Find out here from the self-publishing experts at Publish Pros.

Are Paid Book Reviews Worth It?

Writing a book is a huge accomplishment, one that can’t be understated. After years of writing, reviewing, editing, and designing, your finished product is available for purchase. Then comes the next step—generating interest. One of the ways to do this is to get positive reviews praising your book, however, that can be difficult to do. This leads some authors turn to paid book reviews—but are they worth it?

Should I pay for book reviews?

The answer to this question is one authors have debated for years. From PublishPros’ perspective, the answer is generally no. Most “reviewers” asking for money in exchange for a positive review are scammers looking to benefit from newly-published authors. Many of these types of reviewers approach authors through email or social media, promising five-star reviews in exchange for a small fee. Paying a reviewer goes against Amazon’s terms of service, so if these reviews are being posted on Amazon’s platform, you are violating the terms of service. Also, many of these types of reviews are poorly written and littered with spelling and grammatical errors, which can actually be detrimental to your book. There is also the question of where they are going to be posted—will they be posted on a legitimate book review site or just on a random social media page with followers who will never purchase your book?

Regardless of whether you are paying for a review or not, don’t ever send an electronic version of your files to a reviewer. Scammers often suggest this as a way to send them your book without either of you having to pay for it, then they publish your book under another name in another country and try to profit from it.

Are there times when paid book reviews are worthwhile?

While, in general, you shouldn’t pay for book reviews, there are some instances when it could be helpful in promoting your book. One option would be to pay for a review to be put in the editorial section on Amazon. This is a review that’s highlighted on the Amazon website and app and written by participants in Amazon’s Onsite Affiliates Program. If this editorial review is done by someone from a legitimate company who actually reads your book, this can help increase sales.

You could also generate interest by paying a blogger do a review on their site, if their site is a professional-looking blog that generates a good amount of traffic. For example, if you write a true crime book, having a true crime blogger post a review of your book can help crime junkies find and purchase your book.

The bottom line is that while certain types of paid book reviews could help, the best reviews to get are those by verified purchasers who are not friends and family. These are reviews you don’t pay for and readers decide to post on their own, whether on Amazon or another book-buying website.

If you are ready to continue on your self-publishing journey, contact PublishPros today!