Amazon does not allow paid reviews by readers. However, it does allow paid editorial reviews. What is an “editorial review”? Why does Amazon approve it?
First things first, let’s discuss the four types of book reviews: peer reviews, manuscript reviews, editorial reviews, and consumer reviews. They are different in several ways: the who (the person who does the review), the when (the most appropriate time to do a particular review), and the how (the structure of the review).
This kind of review is extremely useful to fiction authors, which is often performed by fellow authors of the same genre. Whenever you see an endorsement on the front cover, most likely it is a peer review.
Authors of other genres also benefit from peer reviews as a sign of professional acceptance. This kind of review is usually done before submitting the manuscript to the publisher or having it published —in the case of a self-published book.
Manuscript reviews (or “manuscript overviews”) is performed before publication. Editors evaluate the manuscript to find consistencies, errors, and issues related to formatting, spelling, structure, style, grammar, a point of view, characterization, plots, pace, dialogue, and others.
The goal is to help the author working out on issues before it is edited and published. However, while technicality can be easily fixed, a manuscript that is technically correct may not be read well. A developmental editor may need to be called to bring a manuscript to life.
This type of review is similar to manuscript reviews, regarding evaluating the technical aspects of a manuscript. However, it is more than just reviewing the technicality; it also assesses the story development and readability. Nothing is more annoying than a boring well-written book. Moreover, an editorial review is usually done before the manuscript is sent to the printer or after the book is published and distributed to the public.
Professional editorial reviewers are specialists in their genres. Only those who are well-versed in a specific genre can provide a thorough editorial review. They are “good read” finders, as the particular genre requires a specific understanding of what constitutes “great,” “good,” and “bad.” For instance, the fast pace of thriller does not work well for cozy mysteries. Romance readers care more about “happy endings” than “internal conversations” in literary fiction. Moreover, professional editorial reviewers are also aware of the so-called “blended genres.”
Consumer reviews are reviews left by readers on Amazon, Goodreads, and their blogs. These reviews work like other product reviews, and they are powerful to promote the book. Many authors and marketers focus on obtaining consumer reviews, including some “creative ways” involving some compensation.
However, paid consumer reviews are big no-nos. Amazon is known to have removed many reviews that violate this rule, including review exchanges among authors. Many authors suffered from reviews removal, which affected their book rank.
Fortunately, Amazon does allow paid editorial review. Why? Because an editorial review is an objective review, which means it focuses on the overall technicality and readability of work. Professional reviewers are trained professionals in the field who can distinguish a good work from bad ones. Thus they are obliged, to tell the truth about their findings.
Having a book editorially reviewed is like having a medical checkup and receiving a clean bill of health. It is worth every cent, and it can also sell the book. Because who does not want to read a “healthy” good book?
This article was previously published on BookReviewClub.com.