Should You Buy Book Reviews?

Before we answer the question ‘Should You Buy Book Reviews?’ We would like to ask you a question. ‘How do you come to know that a particular product you are going to buy is good or not?’

Well, your answer would be ‘I generally go with the word of mouth if I buy it offline and I check for the recommendation of others who have already used it.

But if we ask ‘What if you wish buy a new product online? What do you check in that case?’

Your obvious answer would be ‘I check for the ratings and the reviews written by the customers who have already bought it.’

Fair Enough, this is the reason why a self published author needs good book reviews. For him, his book is a product and to sell this product he needs a good number of reviews and ratings on all of the online selling platforms where his book is available for selling.

An author works hard day in and day out to sell, promote and make his book a bestseller. But similarly, he also needs the existing readers to post their genuine reviews to:

  1. Help the author grow by learning from his mistakes.
  2. Facilitate the buyers in making a buying decision.
  3. Help the author in getting a high ranking on the online selling platforms.

But what if we tell you that these reviews are not always genuine? What if we tell you that the reviews are bought and sold? What if that book is not at all worth reading and has a five star or four star rating on the websites?

Yes, this is a fact. Today the scenario has changed. Various so called marketers have come up with different packages to sell the book reviews. They do it openly in the name of book marketing. But does it help?

No. It doesn’t help and it is cheating with the author’s work and dignity.

The paid reviews (if are not from a literature degree holder) are fake. Simply because when the authors pay someone to put up a book review, the reviewer is bound to show his/her loyalty and give a five or four star rating even when the book is not worth it. Therefore, it works negatively because it:

  1. Won’t help the author in realising his mistakes and work on them to make his next book worth appreciating.
  2. Spoils the image of an author if the buyers come to know that the reviews are paid and fake.
  3. Makes the real readers feel crap about the author (having good ‘fake’ ratings) who doesn’t turn up to their expectations and in the long run those readers will put up negative reviews and will be disloyal.

So, the book reviews should be non-paid, genuine and by those who are actual book lovers.

To carry on further, we should understand how paid marketers spoil the new readers and turn them into book reviewers by paying them money and giving free copies?

On any of the online selling platforms, a book generally costs Rs. 250 at max, including the shipping charges. These so called paid marketers charge around Rs. 500 (to the author) for a single book review. Upon receiving the money, they order the book in the name of the book reviewer and ask him to read or not to read the book but, give a five star rating to the book on the online selling platforms. The reviewer initially starts getting free books and some amount of money let’s say Rs. 50 or Rs. 100 per book and is very happy with this petty earning and excited to read new books. But in the long run he realises that he has given five star rating to the book which was not up to his expectations. In fact, that book might not deserve even a two star rating. Just for few pennies, the reviewer has sold his love for books, he has cheated with his inner self and read those books which are full of mistakes and are just spoiling his knowledge, grammar and perception. Earlier, the same reader used to wait for a book and save money to buy it, but now? He is not at all waiting for a book to be released. He is not saving money to buy and therefore he doesn’t have any excitement to read a good book. The truth is, he is expecting every book for free and would not even give heed if he gets the book for free and hasn’t read it for years to come. This is how a genuine reader who wanted to know the stories, who wanted to live those stories, who wanted to polish his language by reading good books get spoiled by those so called marketers who keep a major chunk of profits with them and do nothing except faking around with people.

Now when we know why paid reviews are not good for the Author and a reader, we should understand how an author can get good and genuine book reviews:

  1. Ask for reviews from those buyers who have bought, read your book and are connected with you over social networking platforms.
  2. Give free author copies to the readers who genuinely don’t have enough budget to buy your book. (Ask them to give genuine reviews no matter what. They need not give fake ratings just because you have given the books for free.)
  3. Run Giveaway contests on your social media profiles, author fan page, groups related to the books and keep track of those who won the contest and have got the books to read and ask them to review once they are done reading.
  4. Ask your school/college professors to spare some time and read your book. To point out the mistakes and shortcomings and mark them in the book so that those things can be solved in the next print run. They are the ones who have been shaping your future and pointing out your mistakes since you were a child.
  5. Land a copy to your near and dear ones and request them to read the book and tell you how they feel about your book. They will be the genuine critics who would love to see you at the top and achieve success. After all, they are the ones who would feel proud saying that they are the relatives of an author.

P.S. Instead of paying Rs. 500 for a single book review, you can send up to three free author copies to the readers and request them to genuinely review your book. This will not only keep your image clean, intact and genuine in front of your readers but will also help you grow by knowing your mistakes and getting better day by day.

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