Reviews – how NOT to get them!

Recently someone posted on one of the private Facebook writing groups that I belong to that we – (the group) – ought to band together and start swapping reviews back and forth amongst each other for a small ten dollar charge.

I called bullshit on this idea, big time.

I don’t swap reviews.

I don’t pay for reviews, either.


Let’s say just for example I give $10 to Joe Blow and he says – “Yes, I will read your book and write a review”. Odds are he will take the ten bucks, skim through the book – MAYBE – and post up some minimalist say-nothing barebones review with zero sale potential.

Because sooner or later Joe Blow is going to fall behind on his reading or he will want more than a single ten dollar book review a day. Sooner or later he is going to say – “Hey, I can make a business out of this.” and then he is REALLY going to have to force himself to step up the speed of the delivery system. Read faster. Skim through the books. Just force the page count through. Two reviews a day. Hell, why not three reviews a day? Thirty bucks a day, hell, that’s good money. Wait a minute – what if I write five reviews a day? In the end it’s ten bucks thrown out the window and doesn’t have any more effect than a billion tweets of this particular image!

Blog Photo 001

What’s the point? I’d rather save that ten bucks for a BookBub promotion. Reviews are simply NOT that important a sales mechanism. Sure, it’d be nice to have 100+ reviews – but I get a new review every couple of weeks or so – FOR FREE! I say “Yes” to some crazy paid-for review trade and all of a sudden I’m involved in an agreement that is way against the Amazon Terms of Service.

Besides that – it just plain wouldn’t work.

Even if I’m honest and say “Yes, I will read and review each book I receive ten bucks for!” then what do I get out of it? I’ll tell you what I lose out of it. TIME! Time I could be using to write my next novel – which is something I’ve got in damn short supply. But hey, I took your ten bucks – then I’m agreeing to read the whole thing – that takes time – and come up with a good review – and that takes time. I pay ten bucks, I lose money – it’s not worth it. I take ten bucks and I lose time – and it’s STILL not worth it.

Nope, I’m sorry.

I don’t pay for reviews and I do NOT swap reviews either.

It’s just a bad idea all the way around.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

If you enjoyed this blog article why don’t you grab a free copy of KELPIE CHRISTMAS. It is a short, fast, fun read – and yes, it could REALLY use a few more reviews.



FREE – on

FREE – on Kobo 

FREE – on Apple 

FREE – on Nook 

FREE – on Smashwords 

It’s free a couple of other places as well, but if I keep this up I’m going to develop a case of carpal tunnel syndrome!

6 responses to “Reviews – how NOT to get them!

  1. Good on you calling that person out. Amazon (among others) actively parses reviews to determine if something like that is going on, and if they do find it…they remove the reviews! Paying for reviews is not an ethical way to improve your visibility. Asking for an honest review in exchange for a free copy of a book is not only legit, it is also a great way to expand your platform. You can reach out to people on Goodreads or Amazon threads to do this. I think reviews are important, but only honest, freely given, REAL reviews. Review swaps are likewise frowned upon in the community. And when you do ask for reviews the ethical way, don’t get bummed by three, or two, or one star reviews. As painful as they might be, they are your badge of legitimacy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amen. People get frantic over reviews. I commented on another thread where people were happy that Kirkus was discounting their reviews. I said a writer should never, ever pay for a review. They ran me out of that thread on a rail. LOL


    • I hear you Hunter. It is something that you learn along the way. I used to be a little frantic about reviews – and not too long ago one came up that just plain irritated me – but mostly it pays just not to take things personally.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think my wiring is wrong because I love the bad reviews. Often highlight them. I should print them and keep them in my wallet to show people like you flash pictures of your kids. LOL


  3. Amen to that. Well said. why anyone would pay for a review or go after any kind of review that might not be 100% genuine reader reaction beats me.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s