Book Review Services 101 | How can I get more reviews for my book? | Paid Book Reviews

Authors, indie authors, and even trad authors, need reviews. This is social proof that our work is legit, that others liked it and therefore someone else should give it a chance. This is accelerated by the algorithms that match the “customers who bought X also enjoyed Y” functionality.
You can review my books too!:

It goes against the policies of and most other online retailers to pay for reviews. Don’t do it! So how do these book review services operate and charge money if paid reviews violate those terms and conditions?

For most of the review services, I’ll discuss you are paying for access to a network of reviewers that you can give your book to, for free, in the hopes that they will leave a review. I tried not to sound too sarcastic there. Because these fees can add up and you’re guaranteed nothing. But also, if a service is doing its job and doing it well, it takes a lot of time and effort, and money, to maintain these websites, follow up with reviewers, police bad actors, remove inactive participants, etc. So I’m neutral on this style of business in general.

The one exception to the paid review rule is for editorial reviews. There are editorial review services that you can pay A LOT of money for. But you aren’t guaranteed anything. They will read and review the book, but it may not be a good review and it may not result in any additional sales.
These are:
Kirkus Reviews
Publisher’s Weekly
School Library Journal

Any other review, like your customer reviews, cannot be paid. But you can give away copies of your book for free in exchange for an honest review. Honest. Sometimes brutally so.

So there are services that allow authors to give copies of their books away through their network and pair them with reviewers. Some are called galleys, so think Edelweiss or NetGalley. There is a large monthly fee but you get access to lots of potential ARC readers this way.

Then there are services that primarily market to indie authors. Think StoryOrigin. Voracious Readers Only. Where the author, pays a subscription fee and again, provides a free copy of the book. Usually, the stated expectation is the reader will leave a review. But the reader is also subscribed to the author’s newsletter. This is usually clear at the outset for the reader.
Voracious Readers Only:

Do your research, ask other authors if they have used the service and their experience before you buy, and as always: author beware.

The biggest question that remains with the legitimate review services is, can you recoup the cost? Will you see a return on the investment? How will you define success? X many new subscribers, Y review completion rate, or just the volume of free books given away regardless of the result? That’s for you to define.

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