Paid book reviews are not an industry standard because some feel that it poses an ethics problem, but I believe that NOT paying reviewers for their time is equally problematic. Why should those that do it, do it for free, or in exchange for an advanced eBook or physical copy? Factor in the time it takes to read an average novel (dependent on the reader) and the time it takes to write a concise and in-depth review, and that equals to less $5 an hour. I know that the time I spend carefully reading and analyzing a novel and writing a thoughtful review is worth more than that, especially when you consider the sales that the author may receive due to my review and/or promotion on my various social media pages.
“Paid” doesn’t necessarily mean “paid off”. Authors are paying for the reviewer’s time; just because someone enjoys reading, doesn’t mean that their time isn’t valuable, and reviews, when done well, take time and planning. Sometimes the author wants a well-written review from someone who will read objectively or from an educated standpoint. A good reviewer also knows how to give constructive criticism, not just, “I didn’t like it,” which is harmful. Expert reviewers know that some writing styles may not be to their taste but that doesn’t mean that a good story isn’t there, or that there is an audience for that particular style. There are many people on social media promoting books through pictures and reviews, but a proficient review is what elevates a book from a “like” to “checkout”.
Paying for a review doesn’t call into question an author’s credibility, it means that the author values a reviewer’s time and opinion. To expect reviewers to “work for books” is an industry standard that needs to be changed.
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