No. You shouldn't pay for a review. Once a reviewer accepts payment the review is no longer unbiased. And not necessarily biased in your favor...
The only time you should pay for a review is if you are unsure that you are ready to publish and you want a professional industry prepublication critique. But those run hundreds of dollars and if you're going to do that, you might as well get an agent.
That's definitely a straightforward answer; however, what about an author who's never published through a regular publisher, but has self-published a book or two? Might it not be that paying a reviewer some money for writing a review could end up resulting in a few more sales than would have otherwise been the case?
As for myself, I have
self-published a couple of books, but with no promotion of the books at all, no advertising of them, and merely being available at Amazon, B&N, etc., one or two sales per year is about the amount of success I've had. Frankly, I'm willing to lose
money on advertising or promotion, if the amounts of expenditure are reasonably small, and if
it'll result in at least a few people buying my books. In other words, my concerns over book sales extend well beyond the mere financial aspect of the matter.
Frankly, I do not believe that either one of my books is so horribly insignificant, uninteresting, or undeserving of being read as would appear to be the case just from sales alone. After all, if a book is merely available, but has no promotion
and no advertising
, how could one hope that it would sell -- since self-publishing companies will simply ignore the books they've published, unless the author is willing to pay them for advertising the books? This gets terribly expensive.
Yes, I am in a dilemma with regard to my writing, but I'm hardly willing to just let me books gather dust with no exposure to the vast readership "out there". Yet, I simply do not wish to function as an advertising agent or someone who invests a lot of time and effort to try to get at least a little bit of the public interested in my writing. My writing is about philosophy and religion (or spirituality), and this is whole different ballgame from fiction, or just some form of entertainment. I'm willing to dish out at least some money, if I can be fairly certain that the money will at least result in several sales -- even if not nearly enough to cover my advertising costs.
Given my scenario, does your strictly negative stance on paying for reviews still hold?