New Pay For Book Review Company Challenging Old School Stigma

Share Article challenging independent and traditional authors to rethink their views of paid-for reviews.

Have you ever accidentally disturbed a bee hive? That’s what the owner of a new company felt she did after posting a comment that her company,, would begin offering affordable, honest, quality reviews for an introductory price of $30, as of 1 October.

“I posted my pre-launch notice and got over 700 hits in just a few days!” said CEO of, Mrs. JaVonna Smith. “Many were furious with me! They actually follow me from one social media site to the next, spreading their message of hate towards me and my business.

Some people are stigmatizing me for the pay-for positive review scandal of my predecessor.”

Like angry bees, some members of one LinkedIn group, “Published Authors,” came out with stinging comments.

“Couple of quick questions, JaVonna. What does your $30 and up, per review, buy you? Is $30 just a mildly enthusiastic review? Would, say, $60 guarantee a rave? Or, if heaven forbid an author were to pay good money to be reviewed and then get a negative one, would he or she get their money back? Wouldn't it be easier just to take a bunch of friends out for dinner and drinks in exchange for their favorable opinion of your book? Because at first blush, it appears what you are doing here is offering a service to have paid shills speak glowingly of one's work. Or have I completely misread your service?” wrote one member of the LinkedIn group.

Another member of the same group chimed in, “I'm sure there's plenty of [self-published authors] willing to pay for a favorable review, but for $30, assuming you're keeping a fair portion for the House, I don't know what kind of ‘quality’ can be given by someone who's paid, say, $25 to read an entire novel (cough) and provide a cogent, solid review of the work (cough cough). Unless they're in Delhi. Please don't take this personally, JaVonna - it's not personal. It's the FUTURE of our %^$#%@$# livelihood!!! Please don't play a role in inhibiting the legitimacy of indie fiction?...I hope your paid review service tanks.”

“Can I order a 1 star review, or does that cost extra?” wrote a third LinkedIn group owner.

Each person’s comments had a stinging bite, but each one also contained some relevancy and accuracy. This type of feedback is exactly what a business needs to hear these days. Thankfully, however, not everyone is

“Why are paid reviews so bad? What makes them so different than paying for your lawyer to review your trust and give you an opinion on your legal issues? What makes a paid review different than paying your mechanic to inspect your car and tell you what’s wrong with it? What makes a paid book review different than anything where you are paying a person for a service? The scary answer? Nothing!” said author Joshua Silverman.

Freelance writer Carol Hoeing, in the Huffington Post article “Should Book Reviewers Be Paid to Review,” wrote , “The shame of it is that there are fewer places to have one's book reviewed, thanks to so many publications eliminating the position or having folded altogether.”

Before paid reviewing was intelligently explored, an unethical maverick hit the ground running for $99 a book review.

In New York Times article, “The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy,” Aug 25, 2012, David Streitfeld exposed the pay-for-positive-review scam of now defunct, and its former owner Mr. Todd Rutherford.

Smith said she’s paying for Rutherford’s lapse in judgment.

“Rutherford followed a business model that I would never emulate,” said Smith.

Silverman said, “Review-Worm was an awesome experience. The ability to choose your reviewer is nothing short of brilliant. All of my big reviews will be through Review-Worm forever.”

Silverman takes a more progressive approach to book reviewing, which can be fully seen here:

“It’s been tough,” said Smith, “but is here to stay.”

Smith is determined to maintain her focus in offering a quality, honest and affordable book review, which is now available at prices starting at $100, since the introductory period has expired. And she’s already expanding her company by adding Book Editing Services this month, and early next year she plans to add Book Evaluation Services.

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JaVonna Smith

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