As an author, I totally understand and have experienced frustration with promotions and the lack of headway. It is understandable that authors who have poured their heart and soul into a novel for countless hours want to have their work read.
All that said, if a review is paid for, it should be stated. Reviews that are not paid for are so stated by most authors. I think it comes under truth in advertising.
Please excuse me–this is perhaps as much to clarify my own thinking and feelings…
Because of the dream authors have to see their work read and the strength of the desire/emotions that fuel that dream, an entire cottage industry has sprung up around authors. Many spend thousands of dollars attending conferences, taking classes, paying for all the self publishing expenses for those who choose that route, advertise, and now, reviews? etc, etc, etc…
I had the dream too. I know.
There are many who take advantage of said authors.
As has been stated, each author has to decide what he/she is willing to spend, in time and money, to propel their work into the reader’s hands. There certainly is nothing ‘fair’
about any of it. Shite is sometimes published by the big six just as much as gems remain unread in the sea of self and small pubbed work. The big publishing houses have resources to pay the many pipers. The individual author, not so much. Not fair.
But once money enters the equation when we are talking about reviews, whether they be for a film, a hotel, a restaurant or a book, the authenticity is automatically put into question for ALL. Wherever their are artists, hoteliers, restauranteurs … who dream of having their work appreciated, there will be those ready to help them, for a fee. And those willing to pay. And those willing to take advantage of those willing to pay.
This author has made the decision that anonymity is the cost of unwillingness to pay. Yes–I paid for conferences, classes, professional memberships, ‘education’. I think any professional must put in their time, due diligence and effort to gain competence/excellence. I am not, however, comfortable with paying for reviews. I view paid reviews as a slippery slope UNLESS it is well publicized that said reviews are paid. The term ‘Caveat Emptor’ A Latin phrase for “let the buyer beware,” definitely comes into play. Essentially it proclaims that the buyer must perform their due diligence when purchasing an item or service. The integrity of providers of these paid service is maintained via disclosure.
I would like to believe that those service providers who do not disclose their methods will be found out and suffer the credibility consequences. Pollyannish?
As a reader, a vacationer, a restaurant client—I want to read unsolicited reviews and be assured that they are unpaid. Once paid reviews sneak in without disclosure, the
consumer is automatically placed in a tenuous position. What and who to believe?
For years lawyers were not allowed to advertise. Now they are on every TV station. But the consumer knows these are adverts.
There is no ultimate answer, except for each individual heart. All I ask for is the integrity of disclosure. “No review or reviewer on this site was paid.” Or “Reviewers receive compensation for the reviews posted here.”
Until then…Caveat Emptor.
How do you feel about paid reviews? What has your experience been with them?