I came across a web site today that charges $150 to have one person read your book and post a review on Amazon. When I balked at the idea of paying to have someone read my book and express an opinion the “promoter” replied:
“It’s expensive to hire smart, well-read, well-written people to review a book. Most authors are lucky if they sell 100 copies in a book’s life. You never know what the right reviews can do.”
Think for a moment about this pitch and compare it to the data you might get if you considered buying ads from a traditional media outlet. The Detroit Metro Times, for example, provides a media kit that provides testimonials, gives data on its circulation and so on.
The online book promoter says “hey you never know who might see the review.” You never know.
Also embedded in his sales pitch is the fact that most authors sell fewer than 100 copies of their books. What he fails to mention is that this figure includes authors with great reviews on Amazon. In other words, one good review on a book review site is not likely to alter that fate.
“Hey you never know who might see it” is not a marketing strategy. Yet it seems to be the one most employed by struggling independent authors.
Paying someone to write a review for Amazon is ethically muddy. They claim the reviews are objective, but if you are paying good money do you really expect them to come back with a negative or even a lukewarm review? These services run the risk of making all legitimate positive reviews look fake.
My personal feeling is that when you get to the point that you have to pay someone (more than $100!) to read your book it might be time to pack it in. What do you think? Would you pay $150 for a review of your book?