Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Reviews - to pay or not to pay?

This afternoon I got into a little wrangle about whether or not it's ethical to pay someone to review your book.

My view is that it's only ethical if you tell your potential readers that the review they read is one that has been commissioned and paid for by the author (or the agent or publisher). His view: Well... I'll paste some of it for you...

Book reviews that will help SELL YOUR BOOK!

I’m offering to write a review of your book which will present it as a work worth reading. It will be an honest and constructive read which will attract interest to your book... The problem with book reviews is they can be negative, which casts doubts over the book. However there are ways to avoid negativity and still be honest while presenting a book in a positive light.

If you want something that will help sell you book, let me write a review of it...

Now, to me, this is not going to be an honest review of what he thinks of the book, of the story or the author's way of storytelling. In my opinion, it is going to be a professionally produced commercial to entice readers to buy the book(s) otherwise, why would you bother paying for the privilege?

In my opinion, that's not fair representation to the potential readers of the book. As a reader myself, I would take exception to that kind of practice. If I had bought a book on such a glowing review and was disappointed, I'd never read anything the author wrote again - and I'd certainly never trust the reviewer's word again.

But, I leave it to you... what do you think?