Author Topic: Indies Today Book Review - Scam or Legit?  (Read 1268 times)  

Offline Ivan Brave

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Indies Today Book Review - Scam or Legit?
« on: June 18, 2020, 09:30:54 pm »
Dear Writers,

I must admit I feel a knot in my stomach about this. Hopefully someone may lend their insight here.

At the tail end of a long search for reviewers, sending queries and submitting mobi/pdf files for review, I come across this site:

https://indiestoday.com/

It seems innocent enough, plus, after a mini-investigation on google, it seemed to be vetted by PW by second degree:
Via: https://indiesunlimited.com/reviews-and-review-sites/
Here: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/pw-select/article/60852-six-great-blogs-for-indie-authors.html

Like most review aggregate sites, it offers a "free" review option, and a $29 option, which enters you into an annual contest.

Because I scoured the internet for weeks (years if we count my search for reviewers on my first novel), and seeing how some reviews cost upwards of $150, $300, even $500, this small little $29 cost looked so small. So I take a risk, enter my business debit card info, and submit my pdf for review.

Buyers remorse hits within five minutes. I realize, Wait a minute, this site doesn't have a Facebook account, no About Me page, and the handful of books I checked under their "Recently Reviewed" list don't display the reviews displayed on the Indies Today website (although some do appear in their editorial reviews section). Just a name, "Dave Allen," who seems to update the site pages pretty often.

Basically, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I'm hoping an expert among you might tell me one of three things: that I made a noob mistake and I should probably cut my debit card, that I should wait and watch, or that you yourself found success on this platform.

At the very least, may some writer among us, looking for book reviews, benefit from this thread.

Thank you!
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    Offline Some Random Guy

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    Re: Indies Today Book Review - Scam or Legit?
    « Reply #1 on: June 19, 2020, 08:06:35 am »
    Paying for reviews is a mug's game. Don't do it again. That is all.

    Offline chrisstevenson

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    Re: Indies Today Book Review - Scam or Legit?
    « Reply #2 on: June 19, 2020, 03:55:40 pm »
    Paying for reviews is a mug's game. Don't do it again. That is all.

    This. (I'm no expert). The reviews I believe you speak of are "editorial" reviews which I assume can be included on your Amazon book page description. I have seen some of the most outrageous costs with these reviews, and for the life of me, can't figure out how they can have a positive effect on anything, especially all important sales. After sending out nearly 1,750 personalized review pitch letters, which took me a year, I did get about 420 requests for the book. To date, I've had about 60-70 reviews posted. These reviewers came from the massive listing sites like Reedsy and about five others. Whether I ever do this again, is up in the air. 

    What I have noticed now, is that as I re-sub pitches for different books, many of them are asking for money. It can range anywhere from the typical "buy me a coffee" $5 to $29.95. You know, I get that people are financially stressed at the moment but it's no reason for any of us to start paying for reviews.

    Once paid reviews are found out, both parties are in deep hot water with Amazon, because it is against policy. Suspension or banned can be the result.

    Don't beat yourself up over it. God knows we've all fallen for the "super deal" of the day. I can see exactly why you agreed to this at such a low cost. but hang in there and pick your reviewers carefully by reading a ton of reviewer blogs, to determine if they are currently active, taking your genre and swapping a review for a free-e-copy.
    « Last Edit: June 19, 2020, 03:58:04 pm by chrisstevenson »
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    Offline Flying Pizza Pie

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    Re: Indies Today Book Review - Scam or Legit?
    « Reply #3 on: June 19, 2020, 06:39:43 pm »
    Want a review on a website? Working authors is pretty nice. If you can't swing the $10, they'll do it for free. https://workingauthors.com/get-your-book-reviewed/


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    Offline Ivan Brave

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    Re: Indies Today Book Review - Scam or Legit?
    « Reply #4 on: June 19, 2020, 10:21:17 pm »
    Paying for reviews is a mug's game. Don't do it again. That is all.

    Truth. Thank you for the straight advice.
    Debut work: 99%

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    Read, write, share, repeat.
    Ivan Brave | personal blog | facebook | youtube

    Offline Ivan Brave

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    Re: Indies Today Book Review - Scam or Legit?
    « Reply #5 on: June 19, 2020, 10:23:18 pm »
    After sending out nearly 1,750 personalized review pitch letters, which took me a year, I did get about 420 requests for the book. To date, I've had about 60-70 reviews posted...

    Don't beat yourself up over it.

    Thank you for your insight and calm words. I very much appreciate it. I think it's pretty clear I'm going to keep to the path of honest, free reviews, and encourage organic reviews (those do happen!).

    Again, thank you!
    Debut work: 99%

    Second novel: 50%

    Life: 20%
    Read, write, share, repeat.
    Ivan Brave | personal blog | facebook | youtube

    Offline Ivan Brave

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    Re: Indies Today Book Review - Scam or Legit?
    « Reply #6 on: June 19, 2020, 10:23:50 pm »
    Want a review on a website? Working authors is pretty nice. If you can't swing the $10, they'll do it for free. https://workingauthors.com/get-your-book-reviewed/

    Adding it to the list. Thanks a bunch!
    Debut work: 99%

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    Read, write, share, repeat.
    Ivan Brave | personal blog | facebook | youtube

    Offline Doglover

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    Re: Indies Today Book Review - Scam or Legit?
    « Reply #7 on: June 19, 2020, 10:52:41 pm »
    In my humble opinion, the only way to get reviews is to sell the book and hope the reader leaves a good one.


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    Online alhawke

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    Re: Indies Today Book Review - Scam or Legit?
    « Reply #8 on: June 20, 2020, 06:21:38 pm »
    I've never used them. They don't look all that bad, though. They have some 3s and 4s, so they look fairly legit.

    I suppose, if you have too much buyer's remorse, you could always pull it. It's not like you're paying >$300 for Kirkus or PW.


    A.L. Hawke | Author website | Goodreads | BookBub

    Offline chrisstevenson

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    Re: Indies Today Book Review - Scam or Legit?
    « Reply #9 on: June 22, 2020, 08:26:13 am »
    I've never used them. They don't look all that bad, though. They have some 3s and 4s, so they look fairly legit.

    I suppose, if you have too much buyer's remorse, you could always pull it. It's not like you're paying >$300 for Kirkus or PW.

    Ain't that the truth. I'd always been curious about Kirkus ads, being informed that they were the cat's meow when it came to heavy hitters. Although, it must have escaped me that they were charging such a whopping amount for their reviews. If memory serves, weren't Kirkus ads free at one time, or you or your publisher sent them a pitch letter for review and it didn't cost? I do know/think that there are free Kirkus reviews, but I'm not quite sure how those come about.
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    Online alhawke

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    Re: Indies Today Book Review - Scam or Legit?
    « Reply #10 on: June 22, 2020, 12:21:21 pm »
    PW's free before publication if they select your book. I think you're thinking of Publisher Weekly. But I've read some people have been unhappy with the results from PW. Some authors felt like they told too much or were too mean.

    I dipped my toe with one book for an editorial review. I used Many Books. They're pricey too, but I've had a lot of success with the company with promos and liked the honesty with their prior editorial reviews. I was pleased with the result. It's not all glowing, but that makes it legit and real. I used a portion for my product description.


    A.L. Hawke | Author website | Goodreads | BookBub

    Offline Doperis

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    Re: Indies Today Book Review - Scam or Legit?
    « Reply #11 on: November 17, 2020, 09:49:17 am »
    I'm completely new to this and I'm about to publish my first book, thanks a lot for this discussion and advice on the review) Do you think I can use services like this https://edubirdie.com/dissertation-editing, I know they are reliable for such purposes? My friend used it like editing dissertation service, and I want to look there for a peer reviewer as well.
    « Last Edit: November 20, 2020, 05:15:31 am by Doperis »

    Offline markpauloleksiw

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    Re: Indies Today Book Review - Scam or Legit?
    « Reply #12 on: November 17, 2020, 12:57:54 pm »
    Everyone is selling reviews, and labeling them an editorial review to sucker you into a higher price.

    The catch is that it is the same group of reviewers freelancing from one place to another and your mileage may vary.

    Mark


    Offline chrisstevenson

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    Re: Indies Today Book Review - Scam or Legit?
    « Reply #13 on: November 17, 2020, 04:56:16 pm »
    And please don't fall for the "cup of coffee", "extra social media" "extended services or extra links", "special editorial review" and "rush job" or "priority reviews." They are all basically a means to scalp you in exchange for a reviews. If you want to pay for a separate service like a book trailer or podcast interview, by all means go ahead and get one. But nothing that will go on Amazon. Don't let any amount be tacked on to a normal review that requires nothing more than a free book from you. I've actually tipped "for a cup of coffee" but it was a permission to reprint one of the reviewer's articles and not associated with the review at all. 
    Guerrilla Warfare For Writers (special weapons and tactics)
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    Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Chris-Harold-Stevenson/e/B001K8UUBK

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