Should Writers Pay For Their Reviews?

All right.

So I lied in my last post. I do have something to blog about. And, as per usual, it resulted from an encounter with somebody else’s blog site.

Today I am replying to an article over at Joel Friedlander’s THE BOOK DESIGNER on whether or not writers should pay for their book reviews.

Here’s my reply.




I was a professional book reviewer for about two years – selling my reviews to several magazines and websites. I was paid from ten to twenty dollars per review – BY THE PUBLISHER.

I did it for pocket money.

I did it for the access to free books.

The author NEVER had to pay anybody beyond being willing to supply an arc – which was often supplied by their own publisher.

That’s the way it needs to be done. That’s the way it works.

I give up the business – partly because I was getting asked to read more and more books that I just plain didn’t want to read in the first place.

Life was too damn short to read bad books for money.

As far as writers buying reviews – it strikes me as a bad practice. Number one – it destroys any form of credibility. If the practice spreads – which it probably might – the average book review is going to be about as believable as a YOU-CAN-EARN-BIG-MONEY-JUST-BY-SITTING-AT-HOME-ON-YOUR-BUTT classified ad.

Besides all that – most of those paid-for five-star reviews are duller than nine day old toe jam. I mean, have you read some of them?

“I liked this book. It holds up my coffee table real well.” – FIVE STARS

“I loved this book. In fact, I traded my wife for it. Wish I hadn’t gone and lost that book in divorce court.” – FIVE STARS

“Boox r kul. Du U reed boox? I redd this buk and it wuz kul.” – FIVE STARS

So – should writers buy reviews?

They’d be further off investing their loose change in the nickle slots at their local bowling alley.




Let’s face it friends and neighbors. As a writer I am trying to make money by entertaining folks – not make some fly-by-night shady back alley book reviewer a little richer.

If you’d like to read the whole article check it out here.


And, let me tell you – if you want to learn something about writing and/or self-publishing your work you really need to be following that site.


Lastly I should mention that I point readers to websites like this all of the time over at Twitter. So if you’re looking to find out more about this art you really ought to follow me at Twitter




Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

One response to “Should Writers Pay For Their Reviews?

  1. Spot on Steve, Even to the spelling of one reviewer. kOOL? if writers pay for reviews they’ll get what they pay for. The reviewer will know his income will drop after bad reviews so there won’t be any.We need to carry on with the existing system where at least honesty doesn’t carry the same price in integrity.


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