I’m not entirely sure what I was thinking doing a paid book review. Literally I am laughing out loud at my stupidity on this one.
A little back story:
A few weeks ago in my midst of what the fuck am I doing with my life (see previous TWO posts on the matter) I decided I wanted to whole-heartedly give “professional” writing an official go. As a freelancer, as a side hustle to the 9-5. Anyway, of course a google search ensued of something along the lines of “how to become a freelance writer”.
Which of course brought me to a site called UpWorks. I have seen the Upworks site before, when I half-heartedly was thinking about writing; even created a profile in the past but not knowing exactly what it was I abandoned it. But this time I sat down, filled out my profile, added a photo – my credentials and a few hours later I was ready to go. Ready to earn hundreds, if not thousands in my spare time. Ready to find beginners work.
I’ll take this moment to skip over how mundane the site is and skip right to the point where I saw an ad looking for book reviews.
ding! ding! ding! Hell yeah I can do THAT. I could only get a Trenta sized drink from Starbucks for what they were paying. The whole site is based on “client review” so I need some god damn client reviews in order to even be considered for any decent jobs.
Anyway, the dude posts the book as a “cozy mystery”. Okay. Whatever.
I’m not a big mystery reader. I haven’t been since I was a kid. But how bad could it be, right?
Oh. My. God. (I get why book reviews are like NO SELF-PUBLISHED BOOKS)
Not that it was awful. But it still needed a lot of proofreading done. And while I am a fan of character dialogue, there was just too much. And there was too much from the beginning. And the characters all reminded me of cheesy mystery television characters from when I was a kid. While it was not my genre of choice, most of the problems I had with it were the formatting and lack of editing. On top of the fact that nowhere in the ad did it mention the targeted demographic for this book was like a 12 year old. I should have sent it to my son’s kindle.
As a general room of thumb, life is too short to read bad or poorly formatted books so I had to stop. (Even books I receive through NetGalley; if the shit is not formatted correctly I dump it) But I had to review the book. Ugh. Another rule of thumb is that I do not review books that I do not finish. It’s not fair, honestly. But I’m “getting paid” to review the book. So I reviewed the book, on Amazon. (I just chucked it onto my DNF shelf on Goodreads) I was nice about it though, I did not rip it apart. I am in fact NOT a monster. This is the review I left, along with a reply from either the Author or the guy who posted the Upworks job:
If I sound like an asshole, fine. But don’t ask for reviews if you do not want honest ones. The overall rating for this book is hoovering at a 4.2 stars out of five. With all except two reviews being a five star.
Get the hell outta here with that! All those five star reviews were bought.
I completely understand how hard it is to write and to put your work out there. I’m still terrified my coworkers will find this blog. I can only imagine what it’s like to publish something that you have worked so hard on to get negative remarks. But as an author you have to take those negatives and learn from them. You can not dismiss them and I do not think it is fair to pay someone to read your work. It’s not fair for you and it’s not fair for potential readers. I’d be so pissed if I stumbled across that book and it’s almost five star ratings to read what I read last week.
Before writing the review, and receiving that comment I submitted a proposal through Upworks for another paid book review gig and was sent an offer but I think I’m just going to decline it. Again, it’s not worth the Venti drink at Starbucks for what this one is paying. And I highly doubt I’m going to be paid for the last review job.
The other day I actually googled, paid book reviews (or something along those lines) and was met with an equally as funny blog saying it’s a waste. The book community in general gets so amped for ARCs that paying someone isn’t even necessary. People will read your books for free! It was a big duh Jenna moment for me.
Why read a book there’s a good chance won’t gel with you when you could be pumped to get a book you’re actually into, for free, before other people. I’ll stick with any free ARCs I manage to get and leave the paid reviews for someone else. I can not believe I even offered that as a service I can provide. I’ve always thought paid reviews of any kind were a waste of time, I’m not sure what I was thinking with a paid book review. I thought someone was actually paying me for my honest opinions (especially considering I wasn’t even thrown a dollar to buy the book itself).
As of today, I am striking that from my services page and solely referencing my Review Policy from here on out regarding book reviews.