I Didn’t Realize How Much This Happens…Please Do Not EVER Pay Someone To Review Your Book

I have randomly seen here-and-there that someone would say they paid to have their book reviewed. I have also randomly seen someone post that they would review books; for a fee.

So I figured I needed to look into this, and find out exactly what was going on. I mean, really, I have been reviewing books for new authors for quite some time, so how much money could I have made? (Sarcasm)

I found a man who made over $10,000.00 in a month doing this. WHAT? He was caught soon enough; a writer called him out 🙂 He tried to change his name so he wouldn’t come up in search engines, but the last thing I read was that he was now selling real estate.

So without getting too technical and looking up my blog post from the beginning of January (Yes, I am tired, it has been a long day, and I kind of remember), I read and reviewed books in numbers of upwards of 40. I know around September, I asked for new authors to let me review their books. And boy did I get the response! Out of all the books that I bought or were sent to me (Yes, I bought several of them, and many were sent free of charge), there was only one that I did not post the review to. It was terrible, and I had no worries about anyone else buying this book, so I did not post the review. I got harassed, threatened a bit, and stalked, but I think they finally went away.

Who knew that the reading and writing business was so cut-throat?

So I guess I still just don’t understand the need to pay for a review. If I charged people for reviews, no one would ever trust a single review I spent the time to compose. I understand that new authors are anxious to get their work out there, and be recognized for the hard work they have invested.

But do not EVER compromise that hard work. Because as soon as any reader, such as me, finds out you were paying for reviews, they will never pick up one of your books.

I am looking forward to getting feedback from both authors, readers, and reviewers. Did you pay for a review? I am not calling you out; but I am certainly curious if it helped you at all.

41 thoughts on “I Didn’t Realize How Much This Happens…Please Do Not EVER Pay Someone To Review Your Book

  1. Jules Nelson May 12, 2015 / 4:59 pm

    As an author? I couldn’t stomach paying someone to read my book. I have offered people free books and asked for reviews in exchange.

    As a reader? I wouldn’t trust someone who was paid to write the review..

    So I completely agree with you..

    • Angela May 12, 2015 / 5:17 pm

      Thanks Jules; I agree. A paid review is not worth the time they took to type it. There are thousands of people like me (I hope), who are willing to read and review books for new authors to give them a kick-start!

      • Jules Nelson May 13, 2015 / 9:53 pm

        Let me know if you have time to read my book “Shadows”!!! I will send you a copy!

  2. MRS N, the Author May 12, 2015 / 5:05 pm

    I’ll put in my two cents here (and then run for cover). I am a book reviewer and social media marketer (in addition to being an author). I review books on my blog and post them to my blog, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo. I charge $5 per review but I state explicitly in my book review policy that authors are not paying for a review but the marketing of such review. I have a social media reach of over 8 million (many of them readers) and I have built my reputation as an honest blogger/author/book promoter/book reviewer. If I say a book is great, many of my followers will check it out. I review books honestly and if the book is below three stars, I will email the author explaining why and not post the review.

    Paid book reviews are a hot-button issue for many in the industry and I understand people being opposed to it. The reality is that it happens and the key for any author is to make sure whomever you get to review your book is trustworthy and not deceptive.

    • Angela May 12, 2015 / 5:23 pm

      No need to run for cover Mrs. N, this is exactly what I was looking for. And thank you so much for sharing. When you have a huge following like you do, $5.00 is nothing for someone to get their name out there. As a reviewer, and not a writer, I am not sure how many followers I would lose if they knew I was taking money (and I mean much more than $5.00) to review books. And these reviewers I am talking about would post a review within an hour; obviously never reading the book. Thanks again, I appreciate it!

  3. thelastgiw May 12, 2015 / 5:23 pm

    I had a friend who started getting books from a few publishing company after he reviewed a few.

  4. jan May 12, 2015 / 5:23 pm

    I’ve never paid for a review although I have done reviews for other authors with the hopes they would reciprocate. Sometimes they, sometimes not. It is a cutthroat racket. That’s for the warning.

    • Angela May 12, 2015 / 5:38 pm

      It is cut-throat. More-so now that you can publish a book in minutes, thanks to the internet. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Sharron May 12, 2015 / 5:47 pm

    Thanks to people like you new authors can get their books reviewed and its honest. I see Kirkus reviews for About $500. I’m agast!

    • Angela May 12, 2015 / 5:51 pm

      Thanks Sharron, I saw that too. Are you kidding me??? They are taking advantage of great authors who are trying to get started.

  6. Rainman May 12, 2015 / 6:17 pm

    The integrity of the review is at stake. For $500, I don’t want an honest review, I want a shoe-shining, butt-kissing, PRAISE JESUS kind of review! $5 I can understand. I’ve even questioned it when I’ve seen “I got a free copy of this book for giving an honest review,” You usually expect something in return when you give something, and I’m not talking about honesty. If I saw, “I paid full price for an advanced copy of this book and give it the following review,” I would trust it a whole lot more as a reader. But if we are talking about a review from an established professional with a reputation, then I would pay that $5 in a second.

    • Angela May 12, 2015 / 6:24 pm

      I agree Rainman, I would quickly and easily pay the $5.00. If someone is paying hundreds of dollars for a review; I will never buy it, or believe it. Thanks for sharing!

    • Mainley Maven May 13, 2015 / 7:32 am

      I want to comment on your thoughts about free books in exchange for reviews. Why would you not trust those reviews much?
      As someone who reviews books for fun that have already been well-established I’d jump at the opportunity for free books because I can’t truly afford many. The thing is though I would never review falsely. I’m with someone else in this thread that if I thought it was below three stars I wouldn’t post the review and I’d let the author know.

      • Angela May 13, 2015 / 11:45 am

        I think you misunderstood me. I have received several books for free for an honest review. I will rarely post a bad review, and certainly won’t if they had given me their story for free. The review I wouldn’t trust is the one that the author paid a large amount of money for. Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

      • Rainman May 13, 2015 / 11:40 pm

        I’m really rethinking what I said… I was talking about social media/community type book sites, where amateurs might be happy to get free books, and a glowing review of an average book doesn’t make any difference to them. I am kind of speaking hypothetically, and based my opinion on one experience in particular. But as a reader, I wouldn’t trust any unfamiliar name as much as someone or something I know, paid or unpaid.

  7. Candice Coates May 12, 2015 / 7:06 pm

    Hmmm. As an unpublished author I find it bizarre that people would even feel comfortable doing this. I figure if a person “buys” a book in the first place that is all the paying they should ever give to review a book, because at that point you have purchased the right to applaud or tenderly bash it. But to pay someone to simply review it just rings with a tone that lacks integrity. In the end I reckon that there are many naive people who just don’t think that far ahead. They want published (like all we writers do) and they want good ratings. I would like honest reviews and ratings so that I can become a better writer. Anyhow great post. 🙂

    • Angela May 12, 2015 / 7:11 pm

      Thanks Candice! And I would love to review your book, if you would like to send me a synopsis about what it is. If it is something I enjoy reading, I will by it and review it. Get ahold of me at angi.gibbs@yahoo.com

      • Candice Coates May 12, 2015 / 7:18 pm

        Sounds fantastic! I will certainly do so, thank you. The book that I am planning to put out on the market first is my blog novel, Ascension Graveyard. There is still a TON of work to do once I begin revisions (on thing would be to finish writing the thing, the other re-knit the story in a stronger manner.)

      • Angela May 12, 2015 / 7:21 pm

        I look forward to hearing from you 🙂 Excited!!!!

      • Candice Coates May 12, 2015 / 8:11 pm

        Thanks for being willing to take a look at the Synopsis and potentially the book itself.

  8. Anna at A Wondrous Bookshelf May 12, 2015 / 9:00 pm

    I review books and I do it for free. I’m also under NO obligation to give positive reviews, and I have that pretty well worded on my blog. I’m sorry; I could never trust a review from a reviewer who charges for their opinion. I’m also very skeptical of authors who review books from other authors in the same publishing company.

  9. jcarsonwrites May 12, 2015 / 9:09 pm

    I can’t imagine paying someone to review my book and I can’t imagine asking someone to pay me to review something. I review books because I like them and I want to talk about and everything I say is genuine. If the day ever comes that someone reviews my book I would hope they do the same, good or bad. I definitely agree, I wouldn’t trust a review if I found out it had been paid for :/

  10. jaysentrueblood May 13, 2015 / 1:43 am

    I have never paid for a review. I have, however, sent a reviewer a book, then regretted it. (was my first book, a long time ago)

  11. Caroline May 16, 2015 / 2:26 pm

    Great post! It really struck home with me. I am going to be self publishing later this year and I think the most important factor in this is getting your book out there and building an audience. Reviews would be an incredible bonus to that but I would never pay someone to do so! I genuinely would love honest feedback from readers so I could truly feel accomplished if my books were enjoyed. I wrote my series for myself firstly but getting readers that love my story is the ultimate dream!

      • Caroline May 16, 2015 / 2:37 pm

        Thanks so much Angela! I will definately send you it when it’s released. And of course understand if you don’t have time 🙂

      • Angela May 16, 2015 / 2:38 pm

        I will make time! I always make time for books 🙂

  12. Caroline May 16, 2015 / 2:40 pm

    Haha yes books are like food!

  13. Cynthia Robertson May 18, 2015 / 6:59 pm

    Hi Angela,
    Kirkus Reviews https://www.kirkusreviews.com/ charges upwards of $450 for their reviews (a scandalous amount, if you ask me) but they are considered one of the premier reviewers in the literary world – and taken very seriously. What do you think of them? Are they excused because they are professional?
    Personally, I don’t feel it’s wrong to charge a (small) fee to do a review (it’s work, after all), and at the very least, I expect a free book (like you I love them, and can’t afford all I’d like, so doing reviews of books that interest me fills that need.
    Lovely blog, btw. Thanks for stopping by mine!

    • Angela May 18, 2015 / 7:09 pm

      Thanks for sharing Cynthia. I think $450.00 for a review is outrageous, and I personally wouldn’t give any more weight to their review compared to someone else who isn’t considered a professional.

      • Cynthia Robertson May 18, 2015 / 8:18 pm

        Unlike us, though, they do do ‘bad’ reviews of books they don’t like. They don’t let authors know which reviewer wrote the review, which, I suppose, cuts down on that stalking you experienced.

  14. Jove May 30, 2015 / 9:24 pm

    I don’t understand why more people don’t just do a free promotion or lower priced promotion of some sort. That usually works better to gain authentic reviews. Granted, they could get negative ones – even unfair negative reviews – but it largely depends on whether the book is good and it’s a risk that people have to take. Although, I’ve had the experience of getting a rather nasty review for my political arguments in my book. But eh, win some and lose some.

    • Angela May 30, 2015 / 10:23 pm

      I agree Jove. I do not think it is unreasonable for a reviewer to ask for a small fee for providing a review, but I think anything over $25.00 is ridiculous. If I had gotten paid $500.00 for every free review I gave, I would be well beyond rich right now!

      • Jove May 31, 2015 / 9:26 pm

        There are techniques to help off-set this issue too. Selling your ebook for free at launch will get you at least one or two reviews. They’re not always positive but that’s the risk that you have to take.

  15. gegrizzle June 13, 2015 / 8:53 pm

    I have been paid for some reviews that I’ve done, but only after the fact. If someone offered me money to give them a raving review, I’d absolutely refuse. If they offered me money to give them an actual honest review… I’d probably go for that.

    • Angela June 14, 2015 / 1:52 pm

      I agree. I have done so many reviews in the past years, I could have lined my pockets LOL. But I also had a front row seat to some amazing stories!

  16. insapphicsunshine January 30, 2016 / 3:23 am

    Morning Angela!

    Hello again! Imagine my joy to read this post! I’d LOVE for you to read my second novel, If You Love Me, Come, which is on Kindle. I have the address you referenced above for the other writers. I can send you a link so that you may discern whether or not you’d like to read it.


    Have a lovely weekend.


    • Angela January 30, 2016 / 10:12 am

      Thanks Claudia! I am on my phone right now but will definitely read your second novel! Have a fantastic weekend😀

      • insapphicsunshine February 1, 2016 / 3:11 am

        OH MY GOODNESS!!!! I know I should be heading for bed or I will be a certified witch in a few hours, but thank you so very much! Igualmente! And you do the same!! 😀

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