Yes, you can purchase reviews. Yes it is OK according to Amazon!
If you are prepared to purchase reviews there are a growing number of companies that will help you. They stick to Amazon’s rules so you are safe.
I have my ears covered and am hiding under my desk. Many of you are morally outraged. Purchasing reviews is against Amazon rules isn’t it? Yes … and NO! Keep reading, because reviews are being purchased every day.
First of all there is Amazon’s VINE program. Though it says upfront that it is a VINE review and that the reviewer got the product for free, give me a break. Will a reviewer who just got a $300 product for free, trash it? If they did would they stay on as part of the VINE program? These people get thousands of dollars in free products every month, so I know what I think … what do YOU think?
I’ve also noticed that Amazon appears to be very inconsistent in how they enforce their rules. In the end it is all about money. For example, best selling author, John Locke wrote a book called How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months! Amazon ‘temporarily” removed the book from sale, but only after it got 621 reviews … which equates to a considerable number of sales!
People investigated Locke’s claim and it started a FIRESTORM of controversy because it turns out he not only paid people to buy his book, but paid for 5-star reviews. Goes without saying that Amazon knows all about it. Lock’s library of books are still for sale. I am not sure if the books, he scammed the reviews on are still selling! According to Amazon’s rules of engagement, Locke’s account should have been removed. Go figure!
You can still find his controversial book originally published in 2011 … where? You guessed it … ON Amazon! How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months
If you are prepared to pay for reviews there are a growing number of companies that will help you. Basically you are paying for a brokering service. The review service company finds reviewers and makes sure your book review gets written and posted. They make NO promises that the review will be positive. I noticed that some of the companies will not post one or two star reviews, it basically becomes a “pass.”
How do they get around Amazon’s no payment for reviews rule? In a nutshell … the reviewers don’t get paid. They are encouraged to write honest evaluations and to offer their opinions on the book. There is NO obligation to create a glowing review for a book that doesn’t deserve it. In MOST cases the reviewer will also state that they got a free copy of the book and that their review was not influenced by that fact that it was free.
Buying reviews is NOT cheap and depending on the service, it can take well over a month or more to get your reviews posted. You are directly purchasing a review and most of the services guarantee that you will get a review … what they don’t guarantee is “fast service.”
Many of these services also have review websites and newsletters which may or may not be available at their basic service price.
Here are several pay-for-review sites that will help you get started.
It’s important to note that each of these services have different policies and requirements for accepting books for review, and authors should thoroughly research each service before submitting their work.
It is also important to know that some reviews from these services do NOT appear under the Amazon “Stars” reviews. If you want the review (or excerpt) on your Amazon sales page you have to add it in your author central account.
Since you are paying for this be sure to also add links or excerpts to all of your social media accounts, your website and brag about your reviews in your Newsletter.
A service that includes a review (within 45 days), plus an interview and a bit of social media marketing. Their package starts at $59.00 One review per book.
Kirkus Indie Reviews
You’re probably already familiar with this name, but you may not have known you can actually purchase a review from Kirkus. Be prepared– this service is NOT cheap! Reviews start at $450 ($399 for a children’s picture book) and take 7-9 weeks to complete.
Once you get the review back, it’s up to you whether you post it on the Kirkus site for industry experts and consumers to see. If you do not like or wish to share the review, simply keep if private, and it’s like it never happened. (Except your bank account will be $450 lighter.)
But if you get a positive review, that lends a LOT of credibility to you as an author and to your book, so if you think your book is fabulous … it may be worth considering.
Another somewhat pricey option is to purchase a review through IndieReader. The basic review is $275, but there is an add-on option to have your book featured in the IndieReader newsletter IF the reviewer gives your book 4-5 stars in the review. The newsletter reaches over 10K subscribers. 4-5 star reviews are also posted to the IndieReader website.
BlueInk Review is a book review service that offers paid reviews for self-published and indie authors. Reviews start at $395 with several upgrade options.
US Review of Books
US Review of Books is a book review service that offers paid reviews for indie and self-published authors. One of the best price starting points I’ve seen .. starting at $109 for a 250 – 300 word review. BUT BUT BUT … the prices go up from there with over a dozen different options for add-ons and additional exposure.
Be sure to also check out my article on Editorial Reviews … because you could get some very good reviews for free!
NOTE: Fiverr and other similar services
You MIGHT be able to find review services on outsourcing networks such as Fiverr, but I wouldn’t advise it. WHY? Amazon has filed several lawsuits against groups of Fiverr reviewers who guarantee five-star reviews. As a result Fiverr is being very diligent and is now removing gigs that promise 5-star reviews. Amazon is being equally diligent and looks specifically for reviewers with hundreds of similar sounding glow in the dark 5-star reviews.
Book Reviews are critical to your book’s success.
Be sure to read the entire How To Get More Book Reviews series:
How To Get More Book Reviews: Your Website
How To Get More Book Reviews: Social Media
How To Get More Book Reviews: Author Groups
How To Get More Book Reviews: Facebook Groups
How To Get More Book Reviews: Reviewer Blogs
How To Get More Book Reviews: Amazon Reviewers
How To Get More Book Reviews: Purchase Reviews (this method is legit)
Another GREAT Article: Asking for Book Reviews
Check out my list of recommended Books on Getting Book Reviews
Hi there, you mentioned dog-eared reviews. I’m a self-publisher and I’m looking for honest reviews. Would you say that this service is doing any good? I’m doing my research and I happen to find different answers. The packages are relatively high, many people agree on that. I found a site where it mentions that this service is not a scam and is average to good. Not much is written online, hence I’m going back and forth, still thinking on if I should or shouldn’t order a package from dog-eared reviews. Im guessing you know a lot about this service? I would really love to hear what you have to say.
Look forward to hearing from you
Good questions … glad you are diligent about your research. I haven’t used the service myself, but have a few customers who have. YES this definitely costs but, when you are desperate for a few reviews and don’t have your own following, or the time to chase after your friends, it seems to be a good option.
Dog Earred reviews has apparently gone out if service. I have not gotten a review since last September, yet they are still taking my money. I suggest you research this and remove them from your list.
Kev Provance says
Drat! Looks like HugeOrange.com is no more. They’re now an editing service.
Chris Gourley says
Melanie… I read your recommendation for BookSirens and immediately put my second book up for approval (YA Fantasy). It was declined. No real reason… so I thought maybe it was because it was a second book in a series so I put up my first book. Same thing. Very sad. Seemed like a perfect fit and very reasonable.
I did do two paid reviews… one with Readers’ Favorite (5 Stars) only to learn after the fact that they do not post to Amazon or Goodreads. The second was Reedsy (4 Stars) and the reviewer did post to both Goodreads and Amazon.
With my the first book in the series, I did a giveaway on Goodreads with over 500 people in the pool for my 50 free copies. Not one review out of the fifty!!!
Getting reviews is one the THE most frustrating jobs a self-publisher MUST do. BookSirens needs to improve their refusal communication. I know one of the reasons they decline a book is because their system is totally booked … so sometimes trying again with your most recent book works. I think you have to wait 90 days (frustrating).
MOST Editorial Review services DO NOT post on Amazon or Good Reads simply because it is against Amazon rules to “pay: for reviews.
FREE books? The fact is that many people who download free books (myself included) put it on their must read or maybe read lists. I have been known to take up to six months to read a free book … sometimes I review them, sometimes not. The stats show that free books get the fewest reviews of any price point … YET most authors think that is the purpose of giving free books
You are better off finding an ARC review service that tracks their user downloads. Some “refuse” to keep persistent “non-reviewers” on their list.
Hope that helps
Thanks for letting me know. I will take them off this list.