My short answer: NO.
The NYT has a cautionary tale, Book Reviewers for Hire Meet a Demand for Online Raves – NYTimes.com:
“In theory, at least, good reviews are proof that a writer is finding his or her way, establishing an audience and has something worthwhile to say. So as soon as new authors confront that imperative line on their Amazon pages â€” â€˜Be the first to review this itemâ€™ â€” the temptation is great for them to start soliciting notices, at first among those closest at hand: family, friends and acquaintances. They want to be told how great they are.”
Once you’ve read the entire article, you can make up your own mind.
I’m old-school. I believe that writers should write, and build their platform.
Focus on writing, and be grateful to your readers. And to your reviewers, both the ones who write glowing reviews, and the ones who hate your book. If you fear that a negative review will cause you pain, decide that you won’t read your reviews at all. That’s safest for your peace of mind.
I wouldn’t pay for reviews, because I’m a reader, and I want to read the reviews of people who’ve read a book if I’m deciding whether or not to read it.
If you want to pay for reviews, that’s your choice. For you, reviews are a form of advertising. I can understand it, but I wouldn’t do it. My grandmother used to say that you should never do anything you wouldn’t like to see reported on the front page of a newspaper.
Here’s something else to consider. Let’s say you write a book. Then another, and another.
Your first book wasn’t very good, but paid reviews got you a slew of readers who read your book, and hated it. You’ve won an army of people who dislike your work, and will never read anything you write.
Over time, your books have improved. You’re growing as a writer with every book you write. You’re writing good books now.
Butâ€¦ You’ve also collected a bunch of readers who paid for your early works and felt cheated. They won’t ever read you again.
Paying for reviews, when you consider the long-term effects they could have on your career, just doesn’t seem worth it.
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