Yesterday I came across a post at Books, Biscuits, and Tea on Bookish Ramblings: Should bloggers charge authors for reviews? Vicky (the author of the article) began the discussion when she read a post by author Michele Gorman, in which Michele (who I do not know and have never had any personal dealings with, just FYI) spoke of writing to a book blogger to ask them to review her book, Misfortune Cookie. Their response began with the traditional, 'We're very busy and have to be selective about what we choose to read," type response. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Since writers have discovered what I've long known, that bloggers are a freaking gold mine to a writer, they are basically inundated with requests for reviews, and rightfully so. Bloggers have avid followings, and their followers believe what they write. However, this response was then followed with, "Currently, we have so many requests for book reviews and promotion help, that we do have about a 3-4 week wait list. Because we have such a large amount of book review requests, we have had to start charging for them . So now we are now charging a fee of $95.00 per review and subsequent postings. That includes a nice review with the short synopsis that comes with your book, a picture of the book with a link to purchase it from Amazon." (Direct quote)
Below is my response to Vicky's post:
"As an author, I would never pay for a review simply because, as a reader, I’d be less inclined to read and believe any review given by someone who was paid for it. Knowing that other readers will feel the same, what is my inclination, then, to pay for a review I know won’t be read/believed? None, I’m afraid.
I have absolutely no problem with bloggers charging for advertising space on their blog, or for additional services such as arranging blog tours, or even a donation button on their blog, but paying for a review? Not going to happen, not for me anyway.
I recently received an email from a reader asking if I’d send her a copy of my book in exchange for a nice review on Amazon. I told her absolutely not; however, I’d be more than happy to send her a book if she promised to leave me an HONEST review, whether she loved, liked, or yes, hated the book.
Bloggers are seriously the bread and butter of any successful writer, which we are well aware of an grateful for (hugs and kisses to you all!). However, if blogging becomes a paid vocation, I’m afraid it will no longer carry the charm and magic it does now. Authors will find much better places to spend their advertising money that putting it in the pocket of a paid amateur reviewer. Book bloggers will no longer carry the weight and importance they do now because they’ll be paid for their words, rather than reviewing out of a genuine love for reading.
I read that book bloggers have more power to sell a book than a review in the NY Times. I believe it. Why? Because we all know the book blogger is being honest. We all know the NY Times writer is paid for their review, and is likely getting kickbacks from the publisher. Their review can’t hold a candle to the power of a review from one of you amazing book bloggers."
So my question to you, my dear followers, is: what's your opinion of book bloggers charging authors and/or publishers for reviews? Would you pay for a review? Would you feel like you were buying a good review rather than receiving an honest review? As a reader, would you believe a review given by a paid reviewer, or would you assume the reviewer is "selling" good reviews?