Hot-off-the-Press and Already Reviewed? Do New Release Books with Multiple Book Reviews Buy Them?

Hot off the Press and Already Reviewed?

Do New Release Books with Multiple Book Reviews Buy Them?




Vicki Hinze



A recent cluster of questions from readers prompts this article.  Readers want to know:  1)  A book is hot off the press, and the same day or the next, it has tons of book reviews.  How does that happen?  2)  How do books just released get so many book reviews immediately?  3)  Just how do books get from six to over a hundred reviews within three days of the book’s release if they don’t buy them?


Despite the assertions that authors and/or publishers are all paying for reviews,  there are a number of ways that books are legitimately reviewed early or on publication without payment.  Here are some of those ways:


1.  Publishers/authors post books on services like Net Galley and Library Thing, seeking reviews from established reviewers or readers who have a history of reviewing books.  While some services charge the publisher/author a fee to list their book (to cover expenses for the service of making the book available), the reviewer is not paid for reviewing the book.  The book posted is typically an advance reading copy (ARC), meaning it is posted for review before the book is released.  Many established reviewers get these ARC’s, some as much as four months in advance, and then release their reviews on it when the book is released.


2.  Publishers/authors send advance reading copies (ARC) directly to specific reviewers.  Established reviewers for entities such as magazines, newspapers, and other media outlets, blogs with quality reviewing reputations, and the like accept ARC copies of books for review.  These reviewers, like Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus, and RT Book Club are not paid for their reviews but do review books prior to release so that when the book is released, their reviews are current.  These posts typically appear alongside release of the books.


3.  Publishers/authors offer advance reading copies (ARC) directly to readers who express an interest in receiving a copy of the book to read in exchange for reviews.  There is no payment for these reviews and it is expressly stated in the body of the review that a copy was provided in exchange for “an honest review.”  In other words, the publisher/author are not attempting in any way to dictate the contents of the review.  It might result in a good or a bad review.  The book stands (or falls) on its own merits with that individual reader.  Many publishers have book clubs or groups for this purpose.  And these reviews are typically ones that appear on or shortly following publication.  Some will offer participating readers a coffee coupon or something like that to participate in the program, but again, readers are not paid for reviews and the contents of the reviews are for the readers’ honest opinions and not dictated.


4.  Publishers/authors solicit readers who like specific story types—or in the case of authors, their other books—to join their street teams.  A street team member might read a copy of a book early and post his/her review on publication or shortly thereafter.  Street teams aren’t paid for their reviews and the content isn’t dictated.   The members of a street team are predisposed by their enthusiasm for a book type or an author’s previous works to like a book, but that is by no means a guarantee that the reader will like this work.  The publisher/author hopes that will be the case, but it isn’t guaranteed.  Again, the book must stand with each specific reader on its own merits.


5.  Publishers/authors without programs or street teams might simply post on their website, blog or social media accounts a request for beta readers and/or readers willing to read and review a title.  The book is provided for the reader to read so s/he can review, but the nature of that review and its contents are up to the reader.


All of these are ways and examples of how books can get reviews immediately on publication or shortly thereafter and none of them are paid reviews.  All are ethical means of making readers aware of a new release and long-standing practices commonly adopted by both traditional and independent publishers.


Do some people pay for reviews?  Yes.   Not specifically related to books but to business in general, yesterday morning I heard a news report where a multitude of companies were being fined as much as $350,000.00 each for soliciting paid reviews on products and services and businesses.  The majority were coming from reviewers (paid from $1.00 to $5.00 per review) in Bangladesh, India and other foreign countries.


Specifically related to books, there have been reports of some paying for reviews.  That practice is deemed either ethical or unethical by the terms and conditions of the agreement between reviewer and entity.  Is it legal?  That too depends on the terms and conditions of the individual agreement between reviewer and entity.  It  isn’t my place to make a blanket judgment call on the general practice.


Every publisher and author is responsible for the decisions s/he makes on this matter.  My decision is that I do not pay for reviews. I do provide advance reading copies (ARC) of the book for reviewers.  The content of the reviews are solely up to reviewers.


Understand that publishers and authors struggle to make potential readers aware that a book the reader might enjoy is available.  Reviews are a means of elevating awareness.  As more and more books are published, the struggle to raise awareness becomes more and more challenging.  Getting reviews early so that they can be published the day the book is release or within a few days of its release helps raise reader awareness. That’s critical to all authors, but particularly to new or emerging authors, whose goal is write more than one book.


The key reason you see a newly released book with a number of reviews is because the publisher/author is using reviews as a tool.  They are hoping that reader-to-reader reviews will emulate word of mouth and spur personal recommendations.  Get a buzz going about the book.  Get readers excited about reading a book.  That’s how and why you see reviews at all, but especially a multitude of reviews on brand new releases.





writing--live, vicki hinze

Duplicity, military thriller, vicki hinze, bestseller, award-winning novelsVicki Hinze is the award-winning, bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest releases are: Duplicity (military romantic thriller,)Torn Loyalties (inspirational romantic suspense), Legend of the Mist (time-travel romantic suspense), One Way to Write a Novel (nonfiction). She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s online community: Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. www.vickihinze.com.




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