Paid Reviews vs. Honest Reviews

Does buying a “positive” book review mean that I’m being dishonest to potential readers?

I don’t know the answer to that.

I haven’t paid for any book review beyond the cost of sending a copy of my book to someone with the understanding that they would repay me with an honest opinion of my work.


I’ve never–verbally or in print–asked for a “positive”book review, although that is the entire point of this whole, horrid process of finagling strangers into reading and loving my work so that they may put finger to key and type out a HOPEFULLY glowing review of my drivel.  And let me tell you, half the time I don’t get the promised review. But I think it might have something to do with my own inability  to write a poignant blurb–but that’s an entirely different conundrum.

In my search for positive reviews, am I missing something?


I mean, if the point is to get people to say something nice about my work within the confines of an easily accessible virtual space for potential readers to see and make an informed choice, does it really matter if I pay someone to help me wrangle a few readers? Haven’t we been taught that skills are valuable? That “time is money”?

From what I understand paying for reviews is common practice among large publishers, and many Indie authors have done it as well, with great success.

As a writer who longs for my work to be read as well as loved, I can’t help but think that maybe these mass marketers are onto something. But the part of me that requires deep, often brutal, honesty in my life and writing process, I cannot reconcile myself to simply purchasing a “positive” review.

I know, it sounds like I’m saying that paying for positive reviews is a lie. Maybe it is. But maybe it isn’t. I mean,  I would never, ever consider paying someone to tell the world my book is crap, because that really would be a lie.


At the end of the day, I know that–though my work may not be loved by everyone who reads it–that there are still people out there who will love it. And even if that weren’t the case, even if I was the only person on this planet that liked what I wrote, it would still have value because my feelings for it make it valuable.

So, now I’m left with the question: Does buying a “positive” book review mean I’m being dishonest, or am I simply finding an easier way to reach the people that I know will agree with me?

cant decide

I’ve been thinking about this for a long while now and still haven’t got an answer.

8 thoughts on “Paid Reviews vs. Honest Reviews

  1. I agree that trad. publishers have been doing this for ages, and not only them but several other industries as well. It does feel wrong somehow, but truthfully? It’s just the way things work.


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