Paid Book Reviews

Owner and Book Reviewer

I recently had a conversation with another book blogger about paid book reviews…oh the topic that we loathe. The controversial topic of paid book reviews has been around for a while. It’s gained even more momentum with the exponential growth of self-publishing and publishing on a budget.

Before I dive in, I want to say that you might not have the same beliefs as me, and that’s okay. Perhaps you straddle both sides of the debate. Our varying opinions challenge the industry. Without challenge, there’s no growth. We aren’t going to agree on everything, and I’d never condemn your opinions just because they differ from mine—that would be silly.

To cut to the chase, I believe non-professional paid book (and audiobook) reviews are unethical.

Gasp! But what about RT Magazine, Kirkus, Indie Books, and other presses and publications who demand $400+ for a review?

If you know me and my blogging career (is blogging a career?) I review books on my blog, and I also review professionally. Let me make myself clear: I don’t get paid. Ever. Even for the professional reviews I write. I stand firm on my beliefs.

My point here is that whether or not you get paid for reviews, there are people at all levels within industry who have the same opinion as you. Find them. Work with them. That’s how you will become successful as a blogger regardless of where you stand on the issue.

While there is debate around paid professional reviews, I’d like to focus on us wee little book bloggers that are considered non-professionals.

Am important question to ask yourself is why do you blog?

I blog because being able to interact with and influence authors’ works is a gift I don’t take lightly. So you bet your bum I’m going to plaster my opinions where ever the heck I can. Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, Audible, the list goes on…

Romance consumes me and that’s not an exaggeration. I read (and listen to) a lot of romance. A LOT. I live and breathe this genre so it makes my head spew steam when people say this genre is wildly unrealistic. And, of course, they go on to suggest that when we read romance, we gain a warped sense of expectations in relationships.

Don’t do anything halfway, my friends. Don’t love halfway. Don’t settle. In romance novels, we witness characters living life to the fullest and overcoming obstacles to get where they want to be. Tell me. How is that a bad thing?

I write reviews because I want to help authors succeed. Feedback, even if it’s just a few sentences, is an enormous part of an author’s journey, and it’s the reason why I launched this book blog.

Getting paid would taint the purpose I’ve created for myself. Receiving payment wouldn’t influence my opinion of a book or increase the quality of my review (as you all know, quality is not always directly proportionate to the price tag).

I want to give back, and charging authors for a book review doesn’t feel like the best way to give—in my eyes, it’s taking. My wants in the blogging world go beyond monetary gains, and that’s probably because I have a full-time job, I own a company on the side, and I write because I need to—not because I have to.

But I get it…it takes time to read, review, and market a book for an author. $50 is hardly enough to compensate for that time for a lot of people.

But from one blogger to another, if you’re a paid book reviewer/blogger, please keep your reviews off Goodreads and Amazon if you’ve been compensated for them. Be open on your blogs if you receive compensation for your reviews. Just protect yourself.

Paid or not, why do you blog? Know the answer to that question, then slay the day.

India Caedmon

During the day, I'm a structural engineer. When I'm not a total introvert, I enjoy being alone, flying in the backcountry, hiking, and paddle boarding with my dog, Apollo. Mondays are my favorite day of the week, I love my family, and each day I give the world all that I can.

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