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The “paid” review – is it worth it?

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When Lynn is not writing, she is kept busy caring for her family and their pets. "Hillary’s Angel" is her first novel and "Upside Down" her second.

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Wrote this one for you:


As a self-publisher I have to do my own marketing on a limited budget. Now I face the option of paying someone to review my book. The question is: Is it nobler to sink or swim with no-one watching, or should I cough up good money and run the risk of sinking anyway – and in full view of anyone who happens to be watching? The thing is, with my sales figures sitting at the grand total of “Nil” (that can’t possibly include the Kindle books because even I’ve bought one of them), how else do I tell people (besides my mom) that my book’s out there?

A superficial google indicates that a favourable (and there’s no guarantee that it will be favourable) review only increases sales by between 130 and 300 (plus-minus) books over a year. As one writer estimated, even with a profit of $1 per book it would take forever to recoup the costs of a $450 review. I don’t dispute the price. A friend painstakingly pointed out that it takes time to read the book (that’s assuming I get a “genuine” reviewer) as well as considerable thought and skill to write the review, depending on the length required – and then there’s the borrowed prestige of the newspaper or magazine.  I’m not saying that reviewers don’t deserve their money. I’m only wondering  if the end result is worth it.

Maybe I’ve just got to take a deep breath and pay up. After all, even if I do sink, the chances are that no-one’s watching anyway.



  1. Candace Knoebel says:

    There are a lot of reviewers out there who don’t require payment. Lot’s of blogs will do a review and interview for you and most likely purchase the book to read as well. They may not be as prestigious as the expensive ones though, but every little bit helps. 🙂 Good luck!

    • point me in the right direction!!

      • Candace Knoebel says:

        If you do a basic search on google for your genre such as: urban fantasy author reviews, you should be able to find a ton that will consider reviewing your book. Some of the higher end o
        blogs will request that you query them the same way you would a publisher or an agent. They may also request that you send them a free copy of your book to review. But that’s a small price to pay to get a good review.

        I also consider reviewing as well…for free I might add. 🙂

        Good luck on your journey!

  2. secondchancesnovel says:

    I’m only new at this myself, but I have been able to attract people to buy my novel through facebook and through my blog by putting an image of my book cover on my blog with a link to where people can buy it. I have also listed my ebook on multiple stores via Smashwords, as well as Kindle Direct Publishing (not KDP select though, as this is exclusive). It does take a while for sales to roll in, and the reviews. I only got my first review after I’d sold about 25 copies of my ebook. In terms of paying someone for a review, I wouldn’t do it. You may never re-coup the money. It might be better to do a Google search for people who review books similar to yours – often they will write about your book on their blogs if you send them a free copy to read. I haven’t done this, but I’ve seen them out there. I hope this helps you. Good luck with it all!

  3. dmarshall58 says:

    I have the same quandary, though my book is still a few weeks from being available. I agree with you that, if you call the price paying the reviewer, it’s not so bad. The way I see it, the trouble is gambling on a positive review (I have to assume it will at least be sympathetic), gambling on your getting something from the professional feedback (maybe you will, but it will have to be applied next time), and gambling on it making a difference in sales (the biggest gamble, I think). You just can’t know the answers in advance, but then I think faith in your work got you this far and maybe it’s not all about money (or even sales) anyway.

    I’d try the free reviews first… or, if your book is on Amazon, have people write reviews there… THEN return to the possibility of a paid review. I think that’s what I’ll try. Good Luck!

    • So far I’ve done both. The freebie was great. The one I paid for (not top rates!) was positive but they also gave a blow-by-blow account of the action, which kind of gives the game away, so I’m limited as to how much I can use. Now I’m just going for free reviews, but for that I need the paperback edition… Best of luck with your efforts too.

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