I’ve written before about what I see as the unethical side of freelance writing (writing essays for students) but there is another set of job posts that I refuse to do. You might find this strange considering that it is something I willingly do for free too: Book Reviews.
The ethic of indieview.com is that you do not charge for book reviews. After all, we are helping independent and small-press published authors (often just like ourselves) to establish themselves in a market. A free copy of the book is often fair trade for the promise of an honest evaluation. What I am finding on the content sites is the offer of paid book reviews – Fair enough! who wouldn’t want to get paid for something they love, right?
However, they often come with a snag: the author wants you to give the book a Five-star rating at Amazon and / or Good Reads. That’s before you have read it, before you even know what it is about, regardless of the quality of the plot, the characterisation, the structure and whether you are going to enjoy it… they insist that you are going to give it a five star review. I know that some people rig the system and give themselves false excellent reviews so I am under no illusion that any truly great book review is worth its salt on its own.
But being paid to write a glowing book review for a book you haven’t even read yet? Sorry, that’s not how I roll. I will continue to give fair and honest appraisals of both commercially and independently published books on this blog. If somebody thinks I am a good enough reviewer to want to pay me for the privilege (though I doubt that will happen any time soon because my hit rates are around 1000 per month) then I will not accept such dishonest terms as part of a review deal.