I have a dear friend who is committed to growing her writing career. She loves what she does and is ready to do whatever it takes to promote her work. That includes seeking out reviews.
In her case, she went straight to the big boys, whose name rhymes with "irk us" which is kind of how I felt after reading her review (seriously, are they trying to irk us with this?). I've always had a problem with pay-per-review businesses, but this is one of the most trusted names in books, and it should be, given its longevity in a business where starts-ups get five minutes to publish a best-seller or die.
However, based on the review I read of my friend's work, I'm a little irked at this company and the whole idea of paying for a review when major publishers don't have to. It feels discriminatory to me, but my friend wouldn't listen to my insights and proceeded. She's thrilled with the results. I, on the other hand, am disappointed for her.
The review she received was truly mediocre, and, to be honest, that's accurate. Her book is totally mediocre. Nothing to write home about. Another cliched addition to an over-booked (no pun intended) genre. She told me this herself, and since I've read the book, which I enjoyed but was not wowed by, I have to concur. She doesn't care that her book, which is her first attempt at a novel, is not the most exciting thing since the 2016 presidential election. She plans to write bigger and better books. She's totally aware of where her book falls in the food chain, and totally wants to market the hell out of it because it is, if not Pulitzer material, completely enjoyable and worth reading. And it is. And the review says as much.
The problem I have with the review is not that it was uncannily accurate (my friend read it and guffawed about how dead on it was about her plot being a little worn), but that it cost hundreds of dollars (more if you want an expedited review) to get a review that was, in my opinion, worth about twenty-five dollars. Even if it had been glowing and starred and made of the sweat of Brad Pitt, it was still worth about twenty-five dollars worth of work on the reviewer's end. And that irked me.
What about you? How do you feel about pay-per-review businesses? What about reviews in general? Please do share in the comments if you have an opinion.