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August 2011 - To Pay or Not To Pay? That is the Question

Receiving a good book review is the quest of most book authors. For self-published authors, getting their book reviewed can be a challenging task, and perhaps more imperative since there is no publisher's name attached to loan them "credibility." There has been recent buzz about this topic, some in response to an article from Publishing Perspectives about a new free-based review company called BlueInk Review. The enterprise, founded by former books editor Patti Thorn and literary agent Patricia Moosbrugger, was created with the goal of "finding the best of self-published books and bringing them to the attention of the reading world." A lofty enough proposition, it would seem. Still, the comments have run the gamut from the aghast; "a paid review is absolutely worthless," to those who believe that it opens doors for self-published authors to have their books reviewed by credible reviewers. Others argue in defense of the reviewers themselves, who are saddled with their own woes (too many books to read, too many deserving authors, not enough time). There is also the conundrum- paying for a review to help pay the reviewer's salary for the time and effort invested in reading and writing about a book. After all, being a book reviewer is a job.

Some of the more traditional and revered review sources, including ForeWord Reviews, are now offering fee-for-service reviews. A $129 payment to Digital Reviews covers the expenses of writing and posting a review for books that meet ForeWord's standards, but cannot be included in their print magazine due to space limitations. Kirkus Indie, an offshoot of Kirkus Reviews, is another fee-based option for authors with books "that fall outside the realm of traditional, mainstream trade titles from traditional, mainstream and other established publishers."

There are many other fee-based review platforms in existence, and it is safe to assume that many more will evolve to accommodate the explosion of authors publishing their own works.


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