A few days ago, I was emailed by the proprietor of this blog. The conversation went a little something like this:
Proprietor: Hi! I’d like to review your book on my website. Are you willing to shell out 75$ for my services
Me: Uhm, I’d rather not. I can pay you 10$ now, and 65$ once I’ve made that much in book sales. That shouldn’t be any trouble for you if you’re actually confident in your own product.
Proprietor: I’ve done this with three authors before, and not one of them fulfilled on the promised deal. They made the money back and more and still they did not pay me.
At this point, I am sceptical. How did she know that the authors “made the money back and more”? Clicks does not equal sales. The conversation continued:
Me: Fine. I guess it’s fair that we should split the risk. I’ll pay you 35$ now, and then 35$ later.
Proprietor: I’d like to go through with this. You’ll pay me 35$ now, and then 35$ when I prove I’ve written a review, before I publish it.
Me: I’m not sure you understand. My risk is that I won’t make back the money in sales. I have no doubt that you’ll actually write the review. I’ll pay you the remaining 35$ once I’ve made 75$ in sales.
I haven’t heard from her since. Here’s the thing – and I can’t believe I have to state this again:
Clicks and/or pageviews does not equal sales!
I have no problems paying maybe 10$ or so for a review now and again when someone contacts me, even though they usually never equate to any sales (maybe one or two). Mostly, they build my ego, even if I prefer reviews that are not paid for (I have some of them as well). I’m an author, my job is not to be a financial advisor to myself.
However, I’m also not stupid. If I were to shell out 75$ for every review without expecting a return on my investment, I’d be financially ruined.
If you read this, and you’re a book blogger, you need to understand that from a business perspective, your review is essentially worthless if it doesn’t generate sales. I’m sure some of you will be thinking “it’s a hobby, you shouldn’t expect to be making money off of it”.
But that’s exactly the problem – there are a million and one of not just reviewers out there, but publishers, proof readers etc. who are doing everything they can to make a quick buck off of people’s hobbies. And it’s a real shame, because for every genuine hobbyist out there, there are two more secretly wishing to reach the New York Time’s best seller list. I can tell you right now – you don’t get there by paying for reviews.