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Thursday, 19 July 2018

Should you pay for reviews?

I write a music blog. I started it late last year (2017). The idea was my dad's and it was a pretty great one. I started reviewing music sent to me from people at my uni. Then in January I got inspired by a lecture to start charging for my reviews. My writing is good, and I am very positive and don't 'slander' anyone - even if something isn't my thing I write about it objectively and throw in some constructive criticism if I feel it would be helpful.

I charged a grand total of £3 for my reviews, now up to £3.50. People who don't want to pay decline, and people who are happy to pay accept. I don't think there's anything at all wrong with this. I'm an honest person and I never screw anyone over. I don't take the payment till after I've written the review (there was one person that didn't pay me so I took the review down; shame because I liked their EP).

I do give my honest views but I keep it all positive because I see it as helping to promote artists as a fellow musician. For me it is a service; I am spending time listening to someone's music and writing about it, and that takes time and effort as I want to make each piece of writing the best it can be to express the artist's work in 200-300 words. Also, I'm a student who doesn't have a great deal of money. (Ok, I won't be a student for much longer, but I still don't have a great deal of money though hopefully that'll change one day).

It works both ways too; I am totally fine with paying someone for a review. I actually have paid a blogger (in advance) to review my new book later this year. As long as the person isn't charging a crazy amount, and I can see evidence on their blog that they are giving detailed and honest opinions written in a genuine way, I don't see the problem with it. I actually think it's a little disrespectful that people expect to just get something for nothing. We live in a capitalist society where our economy is based on business and marketing. If you're smart and ambitious you can use this to your advantage. If you would pay people to promote your product on social media, why wouldn't you be cool with paying someone for something that would take more time and effort?

I also share my reviews to Facebook groups and all of my blog posts (from this blog and my music blog) go straight to Google Plus. I screenshot my posts regularly and share them to my Instagram as well. If a person doesn't want to pay they politely decline and I am ok with that. Plenty of people are happy to, I'm ripping no one off, and whilst I am positive I am true to each piece of work done. I tailor each review specifically to whatever EP/song/performance/video I'm writing about.

But yes, there is the question; how do you know if someone's legit? I think the reason a lot of people are against paying for reviews is there are scammers out there who unfortunately will take the money and then write something crappy that doesn't really reflect the product at all. I completely understand that. A red flag also is the pricing; evidently three quid is not an arm and a leg, and my reviews are pretty short. Books and movies take longer to read/watch hence why charging a bit more makes sense, but if someone is charging something like fifty quid and they don't have a massive following then anyone would have a right to be suspicious.

Anyway, so that's my take on paying for reviews. I think its acceptable to charge as long as you can show evidence of your work being genuine and not just trying to scam people for money. There are a lot of dishonest people out there, especially on the internet.


Check out this interview I recently did for a blogger about my book!

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I'm Zarina Macha, an author, blogger, and musician from London. I write about stuff on the internet 'cos having opinions is fun -- if you want to join the games, please note your thoughts below. All thoughts welcome, even if they're mean (just no spam links please -- can't tell you what a liability those are to remove).
I've also published three YA fiction books and two poetry volumes. To check em out, copy and paste this link into your browser: