That is a question Indie authors eventually have to ask themselves. All authors live and die by the people who read and review their books, but when you self-publish it’s even more important. Indie authors have no one but themselves working for them to advertise and promote their work.
Getting someone to review your book can be as difficult as trying to juice a rock. You send out several dozen review requests just to get a single response and even then the person will get to your book when they have the time, which can be as far out as 6 or 7 months. Then you repeat the process and pray that someone wants to review your book.
Somewhere along the line you hear about a ‘service’ that will read and review your book in a relatively decent time frame. ‘Decent’ means days or weeks instead of months. They say things like ‘3 stars or better’ and ‘published on every major book retailer site’. Only $99.99 or $12.99 a month for six months, or something like that.
They always sound tempting. Get a review, any kind of review, in less than half a year.
Unpaid reviews are seen as honest and unbiased. The reviewer feels no obligation to give a ‘good’ review simply because they were paid to do the review. People look at those reviews as ‘fair’.
A paid review has a stigma attached to it. It’s assumed that a paid review is the same as a paid ‘good’ review, even if it’s not. Readers see it as ‘this person’s book was not good enough to get a ‘honest’ review, so they had to pay for one’.
This is the dilemma. You have to choose whether you want to do paid reviews and attempt to get your book noticed faster or continue to do the unpaid reviews that take longer and will eventually achieve the same result with patience. We feel it is better to stick to the unpaid reviews even if it takes longer to achieve the goals we want. We feel the unpaid reviews are more honest as the reader wanted to read them and was not paid to do so. Ultimately, the choice is up to each individual author whether to pay for reviews or not.