Thu 24 September 2020
In the Media
Digital Reading
Young Writers in the News
Books & Reading
Goings On
You are here: Home > Young Writers' Hub > Blog > Paid Reviews are the Next Great Promotional Tool for Self-Published Authors
Paid Reviews are the Next Great Promotional Tool for Self-Published Authors
If you’re a self-published author who is still struggling to get noticed, now might be the time to swallow the rest of your pride, jettison your code of ethics, and start buying reviews

Todd Rutherford is the owner of a now defunct web site called For a low price of $99 Todd promised to review your book. If you needed a chorus of reviews, Todd could arrange 20 reviews for $499 or 50 reviews for $999. The reviews would be posted on Amazon, B&N, or other ebookstores by the reviewers and would look for all intents and purposes like a real review.

And business really was good. The NYTimes article says that he earned $28,000 a month. Customers included authors who have since made it into the best seller lists, the most notable of which was John Locke. You probably know him as the first self-published author to sell a million Kindle ebooks. He got his start by buying reviews.

Locke commissioned Mr. Rutherford to order reviews for him, becoming one of the fledging service’s best customers. “I will start with 50 for $1,000, and if it works and if you feel you have enough readers available, I would be glad to order many more,” he wrote in an Oct. 13 e-mail to Mr. Rutherford.  “I’m ready to roll.”


He also asked that the reviewers make their book purchases directly from Amazon, which would then show up as an “Amazon verified purchase” and increase the review’s credibility.

Locke ended up buying 300 reviews from that service, and god only knows how many he bought elsewhere. And from what I can tell, the reviews he bought probably weren’t written by someone who even read the ebook. Heck, they not have even been all that well researched. Here’s how one of Rutherford’s reviewers described her work process:

For a 50-word review, she said she could find “enough information on the Internet so that I didn’t need to read anything, really.” For a 300-word review, she said, “I spent about 15 minutes reading the book.” She wrote three of each every week as well as press releases. In a few months, she earned $12,500.

Complete article here.