While publishing my book Be Still, I was advised to purchase a trifecta package of reviews which was Kirkus, Blue Ink, and the last one I just don’t recall, but their big players. Or so I am told. So I paid $1500 for all three reviews, and after six months I finally received my final review, which was from Kirkus, which in my opinion was an absolute fail, but I’ll get back to that.
First, my opinion on these high profile review houses: They aren’t worth the cost. seriously, I received better reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble from readers. Now, I’m not saying because they all left 5 star reviews, because some left less than that. God bless the world that everyone is able to have an opinion, and diverse ones at that. I’m saying that the reviews left by John Q. Public were far more poignant–whether good or bad–than any three of the review houses I dished out for.
Second, being somewhat wet behind the ear as far as reviews went, i was under the impression that getting a good review from Kirkus, Blue Ink, or the other was going to send my career skyrocketing. Not so. In fact, Blue Ink and the other gave me wonderful reviews and I was very happy. But they really do nothing to boost sales. What I have discovered is that John Q. Public looks at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads. As do I.
Third, if I am going to dole out a small fortune, the least Kirkus can do is cite the correct book. Their review states: Tania Ramos (not Tania L Ramos) author of When I Thought I was Tough 2011, writes about…. blah blah blah. And the review unfolds. My vice: if I am paying you a month of my son’s tuition for school the least you can do is cite the correct book you are reviewing. For example, instead of speaking of When I Thought I Was Tough, 2011 you can cite the book you actually reviewed, Be Still, 2011. Am I wrong?
And my final rant about paid reviews: They spend an entire page giving a synopsis of the book (which is on the back of the book or inside jackets, by the way), and write a one sentenced opinion at the very end. And sometimes the opinion is that of a fifth grader, “Two thumbs up.” Hmmmm. I paid for two thumbs up? Holy moly, that’s like $350 a word between three review houses.
Okay fellow readers and authors, this is what I ask of you: if you read a book, please leave a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Goodreads or anywhere else. You all do a much better job at reviews than the paid for reviews. So what did Kirkus say? Well, after citing the incorrect book, they did a synopsis, and closed with “a heartfelt novel weighed down by melodrama.”
Like I said, I don’t mind the review not being the best, but that was a lot of money for a one sentence bottom-line review. I will never pay for another big name review again. Opinions on this? Is there really a reason to pay for these big reviews?