Our team of qualified, experienced professionals is here to help you promote your book in a way that will get you the results you need.
Paid Book Blurbs – Why They Don’t Work
The truth is that paid “trade review,” book blurb or book review services are a huge waste of time and money. This is something we get questions about all the time. We hate seeing authors get sucked into these things.
There are four reasons that these reviews aren’t worth your money:
- No Credibility – Everyone in the industry knows the names of the companies which offer paid reviews. It’s not necessarily a bad mark, but it’s not going to give future agents, publishers, other reviewers, etc. the glowing impression you’re expecting, and it’s not going to pay off in credibility for you. You might as well put a praise quote from your mom on the cover.
- Long Timeline – These review services typically take weeks to provide reviews (4-6 weeks seems to be standard), unless, of course, you want to pay for “Expedited” service.
- Expensive – Most of our authors aren’t working with huge marketing budgets. Of all of the things you can spend your money on to promote your book, this isn’t anywhere close to the top of the list as far as bang for your buck.
- No Real Organic Reach – These services typically advertise that X number of bookstores and libraries read their reviews, or they may broadcast your book to X number of social media followers. We’re not accusing them of lying. We’re sure they send a catalog or an e-newsletter to that many outlets, but it doesn’t mean that anyone actually reads it or that it nets sales. In our experience, we have never seen any evidence, or even a single anecdotal account from real life, that indicates that an author received any kind of real publicity, sales, attention, etc. because of one of these paid reviews. As far as social media followings, have you ever purchased a book because you saw a paid review service promoting it on Facebook?
Paid trade reviews aren’t a black mark on the book. They are legitimate reviews. They’re simply not worth the $200-$800 you’re shelling out for them. They don’t net any effective exposure, lend any more credibility to your book than the name of an unknown author, and they take way too long to get. There are better alternatives out there, and they’re way less expensive.
Another way our team can help your book get reviewed is to reach out to published authors for a praise blurb. It’s free to you, it’s shared publicity for them. Even if the author isn’t well known, or isn’t even any good, that praise blurb will carry at least as much credibility as one from a paid reviewer, and you just saved $400.
You’ve also just incentivized a real person to push your book – on their blog, social media, to their friends – because their name is on the back of it. Their network is an audience that isn’t overburdened with constant spam of book recommendations, and their friends trust them to recommend good books.
Our team will personally reach out to bloggers who are interested in your book. These bloggers will typically give you an honest review in exchange for a free copy of your book. Most of them will post their reviews on Amazon and Goodreads as well as on their blog. These are real people, so they have followings – people who like their personality, their taste in books – and these fans trust and use their recommendations.
Be forewarned, these are real reviews in the wild, so you might get some bad ones, but that’s OK. Even bad reviews can lend credibility, as it demonstrates a wider readership of the book. Unlike paid trade reviews, real reviewers are incentivized to leave honest reviews. If they’re not honest, they’ll lose credibility with their followers who trust their recommendations.
NetGalley is a service that connects your book to real reviewers. NetGalley makes your book available to thousands of professional book reviewers, who can get a copy of the book for free if they’re interested.
This is less valuable for praise blurbs, as it’s often a better fit after the book is released, but it’s a great way to get real reviews on Amazon and out on some book review blogs. Again, these are real people with real followings, so they’re going to be honest in their reviews – they don’t want to lose credibility with their readers. But as we mentioned before, even a negative review can be a good thing, because it gives your book exposure and shows that lots of different people are reading it.
NetGalley can be a little bit expensive, but we work in volume, so if you come through Columbus Publishing Lab, we can give you a better deal than you can get if you go directly to NetGalley.com. Most of our authors receive 3-10 reviews for about $200, which is a far better deal (and with far greater reach) than what you’ll pay for one review through a paid trade review service.
Before you commit to trade reviews or anything else, let’s have a conversation. We want your book to be successful, that’s how we all win together. Contact us about reviews and cover blurbs for your book today.