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Blog Tour Scams

Updated: Nov 18, 2018

The other day, I got a message from someone asking if she could PLEASE review my book, If I Let You Go.

She linked to her site in her message. Each post had dozens of comments, people saying they purchased the books she was reviewing… Her website looked great. Not exactly around for long but pretty solid. I was excited that she wanted to review my book. The way she worded her message sounded so genuine.

I responded to it.

money hungry
Real-life photo of the blogger in question. I kid. But no, really.

Her response was shocking - she charges $75 for a review plus an advanced reading copy.

Her website had 12 blog posts. My scam alarms started going off. In usual form, I took the question to Twitter.

Is it normal for the average blogger to charge fees to review books?

Verdict: NO. And blog tour scams are incredibly common.

So, why not pay for the opportunity to get exposure?

1.) It reduces an author’s credibility. Who is to say the blogger won’t give the book a favorable review even if it’s a steaming pile?

Hell, the book might not even get a good review. Then you’ve got negativity about your book on your hands and you’re out $75.

2.) It’s more common to guest post, trade books to review, or *shock* offer an opinion on a book for the benefit of readers.

3.) Some websites penalize you for paid reviews.

4.) There are a lot of people out there who promise reviews and will rob you blind. It’s hard out there for new authors and we’re easy to take advantage of.

That said? I’d be willing to pay for publicity – maybe $50 for a post on a popular blog or something similar. I’d much rather stay true to indie fashion and not pay up hundreds of dollars to questionable blogs, though.

Someone recently asked me to be on their YouTube channel (thanks!) and although I’d have a really hard time making it work right now, I’m considering it.

It’s taken me longer than I hoped to get here. I spent some weekends away from home, got busy… Fell asleep editing so many times I couldn’t tell you.

I figured I’d lose time editing because of my new work hours, but I didn’t realize how much I’d lose on the quality time I planned for. Whenever I find myself drifting off while editing, I have to shut the whole operation down. I’ve been dedicating myself to it, though. I have a deadline to prepare for. I probably won’t write another post until I’m 3/4 of the way through.

Marketing is super important to the success of a book, but I’m an indie. I don’t have the marketing budget to fall for blog tour scams. Every ad is a risk, even when it’s placed on a reputable website, but why take on the additional risk when so many established avenues exist?

Quite honestly, with $75, I can find greater exposure elsewhere. There are blog tour services out there that a lot of authors swear by. Sometimes navigating the blogging world and not knowing who you're dealing with just isn't worth the time, effort, or money.

To other authors out there, be careful about who you choose to work with. Dreamers are great targets for blog tour scams. Don’t have your head so high in the clouds that you forget what the ground looks like.

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