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SIA Investigate > Self Publishing Review -- legit?

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message 1: by Rush (new)

Rush Leaming | 11 comments Was wondering if anyone had experience working with the website Self Publishing Review for marketing and promotions? They seem legit, lots of details and info provided about their services, but a bit pricey.


message 2: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Ross (httpgoodreadscomhannah_ross) | 15 comments To tell you the truth I'm a little wary of paid reviews. It sounds a little - I don't know, skewed? I'd love more reviews, but if I pay someone to do this, how will I know they are really giving their honest opinion?


message 3: by Missy (last edited Oct 01, 2016 01:50PM) (new)

Missy Sheldrake (missysheldrake) | 252 comments Moved to the SIA Investigate folder. Also, keep in mind that paying for a review is against Amazon's rules:

Paid Reviews – We do not permit reviews or votes on the helpfulness of reviews that are posted in exchange for compensation of any kind, including payment (whether in the form of money or gift certificates), bonus content, entry to a contest or sweepstakes, discounts on future purchases, extra product, or other gifts.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/custom...


message 4: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Ross (httpgoodreadscomhannah_ross) | 15 comments Missy wrote: "Moved to the SIA Investigate folder. Also, keep in mind that paying for a review is against Amazon's rules:

Paid Reviews – We do not permit reviews or votes on the helpfulness of reviews that are ..."


Thanks for this clarification.

I also wanted to add that when I, as a reader, am considering whether I should give a new book a chance, I first and foremost see what people think about it... I don't look for polished professional reviews, but for genuine, honest reviews by people who had read the book and cared enough for it to write about it.


message 5: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman If Amazon thinks you paid someone for a review- they will pull it. Sometimes they pull reviews if the reviewer doesn't disclose they were given the book for reviewing purposes. If you go on Amazon's top reviewer list- many people have email address and will review the book if you furnish them with a kindle or mobi copy. You can do this by clicking on the reviewers name. Read their short bio and see if your book matches their interests. Always ask for an honest review. I also go to books that are similar to mine and pull up well-written reviews and see if they mention a blog or have an email in their bio. I actually started at the top Amazon reviewer list and worked my way down to around 500- many of them are now on my permanent mailing list. The minute anyone asks for compensation for reviewing, I steer clear of them. So many of them have been barred from ever reviewing on Amazon again.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Carole wrote: "If Amazon thinks you paid someone for a review- they will pull it. Sometimes they pull reviews if the reviewer doesn't disclose they were given the book for reviewing purposes. If you go on Amazon'..."

Do you know how someone gets on Amazon's top reviewer list? Or is it based on how many books you have reviewed?


message 7: by Carole (last edited Oct 01, 2016 03:29PM) (new)

Carole P. Roman The trick is to review a book when it first comes out and people "like" your review. I started in like gazillionth place a few short years ago and now am hovering in the 3500 range- I am a top review in Canada- (under 500). I review books, and very often find my reviews being the first or second one that people read (usually historical)- that pushes up your rank. You lose ranking when people vote against your reviews. You put your email or blog in your bio and the request come in. I started reviewing products, but found much of it was junk- and I don't like to trash someone's merchandise so I only do books- but there are people who write reviews on everything from food to car parts. Take the last book you read and click where the stars are where it says leave a review. I went backwards through my library and reviewed all of my favorites and found myself "moving up through the ranks" very quickly. I like doing it because when I go back and read a review, it is a sort of catalog of books I've read and enjoyed.


message 8: by E.P. (new)

E.P. | 57 comments SPR provides editorial reviews, not customer reviews, which are two different things. I've worked with them and they were fine. For an editorial review service they seem to be midrange, price-wise.


message 9: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman Oh- so they are the same as Kirkus and Foreword?


message 10: by Lincoln (new)

Lincoln Cole | 22 comments Carole wrote: "Oh- so they are the same as Kirkus and Foreword?"

Yeah it looks like the op
is confused by the difference


message 11: by Angel (new)

Angel | 216 comments I don't trust it.


message 12: by Becca (new)

Becca Ketelsleger | 5 comments I have paid for reviews through both SPR and Kirkus, and I must say I much preferred working through SPR. They were thorough, provided great feedback and were fairly priced. If you are going to do a paid review, I would definitely appear SPR.


message 13: by Ben (new)

Ben Jackson | 86 comments If you pay for reviews like they said above they can be posted in the editorial section of Author Central.


message 14: by T.L. (new)

T.L. Clark (tlcauthor) | 727 comments Step away from paid reviews. :-/

I'd never pay for a review; readers don't like them, and as a writer they're not worth the money.

There's plenty of bloggers who'll give you an honest review in exchange for a free copy of your book.

xx


message 15: by Tim (new)

Tim Rees | 123 comments I'm shocked some indie authors pay for reviews. To me that is just plain wrong. All the reviews for my three books are honest reviews by genuine readers. I did request a review in one group on Goodreads, but won't do that again as I'm not going to hand out PDF's anymore.


message 16: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman I found Kirkus and Foreword Review's useful. They are honest in their reviews- sometimes brutally honest. Many people who purchase books for stores and libraries read their magazines. We do a bit in expanded distribution. I have read reviews where readers have said that they bought the book because they saw the review on one of those sites.


message 17: by W. (new)

W. Boutwell | 157 comments Self-published reviews, around since the 20's when Kirkus started the industry, DEPEND on the integrity of the reviewer.
I would say that Kirkus and BlueInk manage to make it. Clarion Forward is questionable, as some of the named reviewers seem to sing it rather than actually reading enough of a book to make a credible review.
After that, you need to be discerning.


message 18: by Rush (new)

Rush Leaming | 11 comments Thanks for the comments. On their website they do post that they are within Amazon's TOS. Essentially, they claim to connect you to reviewers who download the book (it must be $2.99 or lower) for what they claim are honest reviews and verified purchases.

Not sure...I'll think it over.


message 19: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Rush wrote: "Thanks for the comments. On their website they do post that they are within Amazon's TOS. Essentially, they claim to connect you to reviewers who download the book (it must be $2.99 or lower) for w..."

Verified purchases are not necessarily within Amazon's TOS. In fact, most likely, they are in direct violation by trying to cheat the system. These services are what the new rules are meant to weed out.


message 20: by Rush (new)

Rush Leaming | 11 comments If someone pays to download the book and leaves their honest opinion


message 21: by Rush (new)

Rush Leaming | 11 comments Sorry, accidentally hit "post"

If you use a service to connect you to people who pay for your book and leave an honest review, I don't see anything wrong with that.

Seems far more ethical than Kirkus, Blue Ink, and Clarion charging $500 for ONE review!

Bottom line, in my opinion, you are "paying" for reviews with everything/anything you do to promote your book ( giveaways, discounts, ARCs, buying Ads, using Bookbub, etc.) Seems a bit disingenuous to claim otherwise.


Sam (Rescue Dog Mom, Writer, Hugger) (sammydogs) | 972 comments Rush wrote: "Bottom line, in my opinion, you are "paying" for reviews with everything/anything you do to promote your book ( giveaways, discounts, ARCs, buying Ads, using Bookbub, etc.) Seems a bit disingenuous to claim otherwise..."

I have to disagree because I view using such services as an attempt to increase brand awareness and sales. I'm sure I'm not alone.


message 23: by Riley, Viking Extraordinaire (new)

Riley Amos Westbrook (sonshinegreene) | 1510 comments Mod
Exactly, Kirkus and such are about the exposure as much as they are the reviews. And note, those are editorial reviews.
By the way, with the changes to Amazon's TOS, this is no longer inside of them.


message 24: by Rush (new)

Rush Leaming | 11 comments And so you are not using a service like Self Publishing Review (or the dizens like them) to increase sakes and exposure?


message 25: by Rush (new)

Rush Leaming | 11 comments What do I know anyway, I'm new to all this :)


message 26: by Riley, Viking Extraordinaire (new)

Riley Amos Westbrook (sonshinegreene) | 1510 comments Mod
Reviews don't sell books. Good content in front of the right eyes sells books.


message 27: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Editorial reviews may not be posted as customer reviews. You may offer a reader a free copy of your book, but you cannot expect anything in return. Not even a review. I have not yet looked to see if these changes are as a result of changes to the FTC regulations or not, but regardless, both Amazon and Goodreads have made policy changes.


message 28: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman This is what some of the reviewers have said must be in their content.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

or...

I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it.


message 29: by Rush (new)

Rush Leaming | 11 comments Well this was an interesting discussion. I was hoping for different perspectives.

I got that, but sad to say much of what people said here was contradictory, didn't make sense, and was a bit hypocritical.

I disagree with the consensus:

You are "paying" for exposure and reviews with almost everything you do to promote your book.

You send "free" copies/ARCs, you are paying for a review. It costs you to buy that copy and mail it.

You use a free promotion from Kindle, and spend money to promote it on some of the 10,000 websites that offer to do so, you are hoping for reviews.

You discount your book for $0.99 you are paying money hoping for reviews

You run a Facebook, Goodreads, or Amazon ad, you are paying money hoping for reviews.

You spend money on a Goodreads giveaway, you are hoping for reviews. I have one ending next week. It will cost me near $250 with buying copies and mailings. I am hoping for reviews. What is the difference of paying that directly to a marketing website?

You pay a PR firm thousands of dollars, you are hoping for exposure and positive reviews.


You pay for a beta reading service, paying someone a small fee for their time, you are paying for an early review to help you out during revision phase.

Unless you have a super-secret free pass, everything you do is "paying" for exposure, for new fans, for good reviews.

I'm done with this discussion.

Take care and Good luck to you all....


message 30: by Denae (new)

Denae Christine (denaechristine) | 167 comments SPR might look more appealing to me if their math worked out on their pricing page. (Yes, I'm a numbers person, and little mistakes like this make me wary.)

.01 cents per word for proofreading is not $1000 for 100,000 words. It's $10. I suspect they are actually charging 1 cent per word, not a hundredth of a cent.


message 31: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Ross (httpgoodreadscomhannah_ross) | 15 comments Rush wrote: "Well this was an interesting discussion. I was hoping for different perspectives.

I got that, but sad to say much of what people said here was contradictory, didn't make sense, and was a bit hypo..."


A professional reviewing website, which makes its living out of people paying them for reviews, is very different from people who win a free copy on a giveaway and volunteer to do a review. Basically, such a website must do mostly positive reviews, or authors will soon stop paying them. At least that's my HO.


message 32: by Zoltán (last edited Oct 09, 2016 03:50AM) (new)

Zoltán (witchhunter) | 267 comments Rush wrote: "Well this was an interesting discussion. I was hoping for different perspectives.

I got that, but sad to say much of what people said here was contradictory, didn't make sense, and was a bit hypo..."


I think most of the contradiction you see stems from what each individual means by paid and the way of getting a review.

My view on what constitutes as paid review:

1) The reader has to get more value than the book. (Grey area, that for me is still not paid, is when someone prefers printed books and it's cheaper to send a gift voucher than posting it around the world.)

2) The reader is expected to leave a review and it's not voluntary.

When you pay for ads, you don't pay the readers (1). When you Send ARCs and do giveaways, you only give the value of the book (1). When people buy you discounted or free books during the campaign, they receive at most the value of the book (1) and they are not expected or bound to leave a review (2).

At least, this is how I see it. :)


message 33: by Carole (last edited Oct 09, 2016 06:32AM) (new)

Carole P. Roman Rush has a point and a realistic approach. Most people lie to themselves about the cost. Everything you do from creating to promotion of your book "costs" in some way- writing it can take away from family, fun, and perhaps even your job. Zoltan is right, too. Either way you look at it, building a following is like any other business and takes investment. Whether it's time or money, you can't expect people to read your book if they don't know about it. When you write without the benefit of a publisher, that responsibility falls on you. There are ways to budget but any way you look it- there are no free rides. I have been involved in many business start-ups in my lifetime- some more expensive than others. One person, I don't remember if it was in this thread or another, very pragmatically advised to budget what you need to live, know what you are up against, and most importantly don't fool yourself that it is just going to happen. In the "gold rush" of self-publication, the best bet is to go in prepared with what you will have to do to get word of your books out to the public. BTW, for some people, it's not about the money- but perhaps the accomplishment, and that's fine too. Writing a book is leaving a legacy of your thoughts and for some of us a piece of our soul. Sometimes, that's enough and it doesn't have to be about fame or money.


message 34: by Carole (last edited Oct 09, 2016 06:36AM) (new)

Carole P. Roman Hannah wrote: "Rush wrote: "Well this was an interesting discussion. I was hoping for different perspectives.

I got that, but sad to say much of what people said here was contradictory, didn't make sense, and w..."


I use professional review sites all the time and you are not guaranteed a positive review. They have slammed some of my books and I have seen poor reviews on others. The difference is they are professionally written without malice or gifs and absolutely no mockery. The difference is the author has the option of not publishing it and that is why you will see some of both my son's and my reviews on one site and not the other. Oddly enough, the things they found wrong with any of our books, were usually the strongest negative points in critical reviews with readers. By the third one, it made us consider what they were saying. In some cases, we tweaked our books to see if it made a difference in the reviews.


message 35: by Jack (new)

Jack O'Donnell | 17 comments writing a book is the easy part. Marketing is when the horror story begins. But let's fling in a bit of economics. The opportunity cost of doing something is paid for by not doing something else. Time spent marketing on one axis and time spent writing on another. OK, so I don't have an axis for time spent living, but life isn't perfect. I guess I learn little bits and pieces as I go along. Perhaps that's the real answer.


message 36: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Hey folks. While everyone has valid points, it's best to keep the general marketing conversation to the marketing threads. This topic was specifically to ask if a service was legit. Pointing out issues with legalities is fine, giving specific experience with the company in question is fine, but arguing the finer points of marketing is another topic entirely.


message 37: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (last edited Oct 21, 2018 07:48PM) (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4333 comments Mod
Henry wrote: "Self-promotions and a link... "

No self-promotions, no links. Thanks.


message 38: by Ed (new)

Ed Mitchell | 4 comments I have an author page on Amazon & have sold physical books for years there and beginning in 2018 am selling eBooks. Their website says they will accept ARC reviews as well as buyer reviews. Advanced Reader Copies sent to reviewers who don't charge a fee can then appear with an author's books on Amazon. For example an ARC sent to Midwest Book Review which doesn't charge a fee for physical book reviews would be allowed by Amazon.


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