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Paid Book Reviews: Where Do You Stand? • Ryan Casey

See on Scoop.itWriting and reading fiction

Paid book reviews are becoming an increasingly common trend as competition increases in the indie publishing world. Where do you stand?


I was unaware that paid reviews are “an increasingly common trend.” (Really? Wow. It seems like such a low priority way to spend a lot of money.) The NY Times article’s subject was about a defunct company that supplied paid book reviews. No matter. I wouldn’t pay for reviews personally. Put aside the moral question for a second: I can’t afford it and I don’t think they work, anyway.


This issue has rolled around the web for the last week. I’ve been so busy with writing and promoting that I haven’t done anything much with it. Initially I wasn’t that bothered about bought reviews. I’d be more upset if I thought all those paid-for reviews made that much difference.


But then I noticed something ugly. Since the article has spread, a sad unintended consequence has risen. I’ve read comments from a bunch of people  (potential readers!) saying they never trust any five-star reviews nor will they ever buy indie! But, hey! I earned my five-star reviews! I don’t have many reviews, but I didn’t pay for any. Why the broad brush of discrimination? I’m I to answer for all the crimes of others? I’m an innocent man, dammit! Also? Sheesh!


See what you think at the link. Here’s Ryan Casey’s take…~ Chazz

See on ryancaseybooks.com

Filed under: publishing

11 Responses

  1. fundinmental says:

    Hi Robert. I am new to blogging and reviewing, but I think I am getting better at it. I really do my best to give my honest opinion about the book I read and review. I would never accept payment to give a five star, or any other rating. I think sometimes I go the other way. i really try to help the reader find the good things in the book that might make them want to read it. I also find it fun and spend hours trying to make a review the best I can. Thanks again for another interesting article that made me come over and respond. As usual, I think you are helping to make me a better reviewer.

    • Chazz says:

      Thanks! I’m being asked to give more book reviews lately. Hard to fit it in amid writing, revising, my pub schedule and everything else. Glad to have people who are dedicated to book reviewing. (And by pub schedule, I mean my drinking.)

  2. Red says:

    I am discriminatory when it comes to reviews. I want a review, be it five stars or one, to show enough detail to discern whether the reviewer read the book. As to paid reviews, if I can trace the review back to a paid review, it goes in the iggy bin. I could pay a monkey to review my books and get the review I wanted. What I want is readers. If it takes them a while to read and honestly review, so be it. I have far better things to spend money on than someone who believes everyone should be listening to their opinion.

  3. Ryan Casey says:

    Thanks for referencing my article, Robert! I do feel like this ‘5 star scepticism’ is an unfortunate by-product of the reviewing methods we have both mentioned,

    In fact, I’d even argue that readers are more likely to trust 4-star reviews than 5-star. Sad, but inevitable I suppose.

    • Chazz says:

      Yours is a good piece, Ryan. When this issue first blew up, I didn’t take it as seriously. Then I saw all those doubting comments from potential readers. What a drag. Now I see a crime novelist has been caught praising himself under aliases and writing snide reviews of perceived rivals. More fuel for the doubters.

      • Heavens, Chazz, that is really terrible, a writer writing sneakily his own reviews and bashing rivals…OMG, what a jungle! Yes, I agree with everyone else, I don’t believe much in 5 star reviews either. Also, much depends on the CONTENT! If it’s well done, fine, even if it’s a bad review. But if it’s poorly done, then it’s unacceptable, whether paid for or not. And I think there’s not enough guidelines up to ensure that reviewers know how to write a quality review – whether it leads to a 5 star or one star is not the point. Quality is what’s needed and that I seldom see!

  4. The whole thing is a big, ugly mess. Can you say, shooting ourselves in the foot with paid reviews? UGH. I agree with you. I didn’t pay a damned thing for my reviews and now they mean NOTHING?! WTH?! Why bother? *disenchanted* Great post. WRITE ON!

  5. rogerdcolby says:

    I would much rather have a legit book review from an honest reader than paying someone to say something about my book. Getting a free book should be enough.

  6. […] Paid Book Reviews: Where Do You Stand? – Ryan Casey (chazzwrites.com) […]

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