Originally Posted by Catlady
I'm appalled that anyone can think that buying a favorable review is acceptable for a self-pubber.
The practice of paid reviews is just one more strike against these self-professed authors. Who needs to hone the art and craft of writing, who needs to pay for competent editing and cover art--the hell with all that, just buy a glowing review! And then pretend it's the normal course of business and accuse the traditional publishers of doing the same thing, because ... well, there's no evidence that they do, but we all know how evil they are.
A review is not a blurb and it's silly and disingenuous to lump them together. Of course traditional publishers cross-promote their authors with blurbs. So what?
How many of you who are defending Locke have been adamant about the evils of piracy, and have accused the pirates of stealing the food right out of your mouths with their shenanigans? Is it all right, on the other hand, for the author to defraud the reader--to take the money from his pocket--by hiring a shill to lie about a shoddy, inferior product?
A blurb is a form of advertisement just as a review is (whether the reviewer intends it that way or not. It can be a negative recommendation, in which case it is like a negative political ad--telling you not to buy.) When I was a reviewer, I once was sent a sheet from the publisher with "suggested" phrases I could use in my review. I've heard trad published authors discuss and post online about receiving the same type of thing from publishers when they are asked to blurb a book. The publisher provides the suggested blurbs as a "time-saver" or other nonsense.
I completely agree that No One--self pub'd or trad should pay for reviews. But long before self-publishing took off, Kirkus moved to have paid reviews be a big part of their reviewing. Several authors paid for reviews even though they were trad published. When Kirkus first started doing paid reviews, they didn't separate them from the non-paid reviews or mark them in any way (I don't know what they do now as I no longer read them.) Amazon stopped publishing Kirkus reviews as part of the "editorial reviews" because some of the reviews were paid and they don't 'reprint" paid reviews.
Publishers Weekly now does paid reviews. I believe they mark them clearly.
Keep in mind that whether trad published or self published, once a review has been done by such a large venue, it can be easily and readily quoted (and is). This lends an air of respectability to the author and it sells books.
Should it be done? I'm not a fan of the practice. Would it help me sell books? Maybe, maybe not, but I've no plans to find out.
Just as a side FYI, the Kirkus reviews cost 400 dollars. (I haven't checked in years, but that was the initial cost). Respectability does not come cheaply.
It's been hinted at for years that the NYTimes tends to cover more books from the publisher who takes out the most ads. I'm sure that is just conjecture and it would be hard to prove. But I'm also sure that when a publisher is spending big bucks on ads, it does give them an edge in getting some books reviewed and noticed.
It's just big business.