1. Alan Joshua
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    Alan Joshua New Member

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    How valuable is a review from SPR, or Self-publishing Review? Has anyone had experience with them?

    Discussion in 'Marketing' started by Alan Joshua, May 1, 2015.

    How valuable is a review from SPR, BlueInk, Kirkus, or any others? Has anyone had experience with them?
     
  2. rincewind31
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    rincewind31 Member

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    Dont pay anyone for a review, ever!
     
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  3. Alan Joshua
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    Alan Joshua New Member

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    I'm getting mixed messages. Your rationale please?
     
  4. rincewind31
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    rincewind31 Member

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    It's completely pointless and a total waste of money. They dont add any kudos to your work if that's what you're thinking. The reviews are generally just a synopsis of your book that people can read on the blurb anyway. If you want to spend hundreds of pounds/dollars, you'd be better off spending it on advertsing. I doubt you'd ever make many sales from a paid review as people dont take ay notice of them anyway.
     
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  5. Alan Joshua
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    Alan Joshua New Member

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    Thanks for the explanation.
     
  6. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Last I heard, Kirkus had two tiers of reviews. One, their traditional reviews, can be quite valuable. They're a reputable source of reviews read by lots of mass-purchasers (bookstores, libraries, etc).

    But their paid reviews are largely ignored, so I'd agree that there's not much point paying for them.

    Getting attention for self-published books is really hard. I sympathize, but... I don't know that paid review sites are a good option. (On the other hand, if you try it and it's useful, let us know! That would be great!)
     
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  7. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    A question: How many books have you purchased based upon or strongly influenced a review by one of those enterprises?

    Reviews are useful to readers in making a decision and a solid rating on Amazon or B&N or Goodreads can benefit an author. Sometimes promo sites have minimum requirements for reviews and ratings and such.

    But often readers who depend on reviews recognize 'paid' ones, and generic ones are not useful and can even prove detrimental.

    Weighing if paying a site for a review is an effective use of resources and if there is a worthwhile benefit? I'm not so sure. I've never come across someone stating it has, but I suppose it's possible.

    Review sites and reviewers that, for example, are given a copy for the purposes of a review normally state so at the bottom of the reviews they post, but generally aren't paid. Good/respected/influential online reviewers are certainly overwhelmed and difficult to get to read and review...but it can be a worthwhile effort if you succeed.
     
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  8. Alan Joshua
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    Alan Joshua New Member

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    Thanks for your valuable input.
     
  9. Alan Joshua
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    Alan Joshua New Member

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    I don't understand. How do they do "traditional reviews."
     
  10. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Kirkus has been reviewing books forever - they're one of the most reliable names in book reviews. They tended to be REALLY critical, but they had a lot of pull. Publishers sent them ARCs for free, but didn't pay for reviews. Kirkus made their money by selling their review magazine, often to bookstores and libraries, as I said. So a good review could mean a lot, because one person reading that good review might order a dozen or more copies of the book. Kirkus reviews are often also read by mainstream reviewers when they want to decide which books to review themselves. So, yeah, Kirkus is, or was, super-important.

    A few years ago, they started this other stream of income where they'd review indie books for a fee. ($400-$500, last I heard). The problem is, (again, the last I heard), that they don't put these reviews in their magazine, or publish them anywhere but in a segregated area of their website. The author can quote the review and use the name Kirkus, which gave a lot of prestige for a while, but now most people who know enough to value the Kirkus name also know about the two tiers, so it doesn't do much good anymore, I don't think.
     
  11. GingerCoffee
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    This author's experience looks helpful:
    http://www.msauret.com/kirkus-reviews-wasted-money/

    As for the reviews not meaning much, not sure why that would be true. If you don't like the paid review, the author can keep it secret. The problem seems to be the paid reviews don't get any traction in the published reviews the company puts out.
    It makes sense to pay for a review only if you know it will be good. Otherwise you are getting an expensive critique that you could get for free by trading critiques with others.

    I thought this was intriguing:
    If you are serious about investing money to market your book, you might consider testing the review response waters with something less expensive. See what they have to say about your book. You might want to be braced for disappointment though, if the reviewer is honest.
     
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  12. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't understand. You say you don't know why it would be true that their reviews don't mean much, and then say that the paid reviews don't get any traction in the published reviews the company puts out. Which is, obviously, exactly why the reviews don't mean much. Nobody reads them, so... they don't mean much.

    Why do you think the reviews would mean much?
     
  13. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Because, it suggests they give honest reviews. And if they do, then why would a good review from them lack credibility?

    If they gave good reviews to anyone that paid, I can see their reviews losing credibility.
     
  14. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Slate: How four magazines you've probably never read help determine what books you buy.
    The key to getting mileage from a Kirkus review appears to be getting an unpaid review, obviously. But if you paid and got a good review, I think it would have some sway in some circles, like getting the local paper to review your book.

    On the other hand, if you get a bad review you obviously wasted your money.
     
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  15. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    The local paper will probably review your book regardless. They're doing it because you're local, not because of Kirkus.

    I mean, if you want to spend your money on a paid Kirkus review, go for it, by all means. It's your money.
     
  16. Alan Joshua
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    Alan Joshua New Member

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    Many thanks. You've been of great help.
     
  17. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Considering I never said this, are you now walking back your statement that no one thinks much of a Kirkus review these days?
     
  18. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    What? No... I just... don't care what you do with your money.

    ETA: I don't think I said that no-one thinks much of a Kirkus review. If I did say that, sure, I'll "walk it back", if that's the way you use that vernacular?

    What I meant to say (and what I think I did say) was that an indie review from Kirkus doesn't mean much because most people who know enough to know about Kirkus also know that the indie reviews are paid for. Also, few people will read them because they aren't published in the main Kirkus magazine.

    ETA2: And now I'm wasting my time trying to find ways to make this more clear to you so you won't misunderstand it again, but then I realize that you'll find a way to misunderstand it no matter how clearly I write it. So... I should let it go.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2015
  19. GingerCoffee
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    What I do with my money? :confused: This is the second reference you've made to the same straw man.

    This is the quote I replied to:
    My reply was, if it's a good review, why should it matter there are two tiers if the difference is where said review is published, not whether said review is meaningful, that is, if it is a good review?
     
  20. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are you seriously doing this?

    So if I say "it's raining outside" and you reply with "you say it's raining outside - does that mean you hate puppies?" And then I cautiously say, "Uh, no... nothing about puppies... I just said it's raining," you think that's me bringing rain up again? Me restating my original comment without your ridiculous addition doesn't really count as a second reference, does it?

    But, whatever. I don't want to get dragged into another one of these conversations with you. So, trying to stick to the topic... I think that a paid review is valued less highly than an unpaid review because there's an appearance of conflict of interest. Most commentators have noticed that that Kirkus reviews have gotten 'nicer' in the last few years. This may or may not be because they've started doing paid reviews, but it certainly doesn't add to their reputation.

    Anyone (not you, just... anyone) is obviously free to disregard my opinion on this and pay for a Kirkus review. But I don't think it's a good use of money.
     
  21. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Doing what? That's as confusing as your other statements. :confused:

    So let's do this differently. Regardless of anyone else's opinions or statements in this thread, it would appear a Kirkus review has two layers.

    Layer one, if one gets a good review, not privately paid for, it has significant benefit because the company not only has a good reputation, their reviews are used as a major marketing tool by large publishing houses.

    From their website:
    Given their business is heavily based on their reputation, it makes no sense they would give out good reviews for a price. Rather it makes sense they would give out honest reviews for a price. And it may also be the case that they use similar criteria a publisher might use deciding to take on a book. Therefore if one didn't get a publisher's attention that may be an indicator Kirkus is not likely to give one a good review.

    Layer two, if one pays for a review, one has the option of using it if it is good, or not telling anyone about it, if it is less than stellar.

    However, they do accept books for review from some smaller publishing houses including indie publishers:
    That leaves self published books out of the indie pathway.

    If one does get a good review that one paid for, Kirkus is unlikely to publish it in their bi-monthly publication. But this suggests that is not 100% the case:
    But for most new authors, I repeat what I said earlier, thinking one can jump the line and write a best seller out of the gate is unlikely. Best to test the review waters with a less expensive reviewer before buying the Cadillac.
     
  22. rincewind31
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    rincewind31 Member

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    The people who buy indie books dont really care if Kirkus or anyone else has given your book a glowing review or not. They're more likely to read it if it has a good story, a good cover, a good title, and a good tagline. If you have those good reviews should follow regardless.
     
  23. rincewind31
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    That's my opinion anyway. I dont want a fight or anything. Although i'm quite happy to hold anyone's coat :D
     

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