Let's Talk

This book doesn't seem to exist on Amazon. Truthful company already.

My publisher pays for NetGalley. I didn't expect it, but I'm glad she does. Reviews are important for authors. They spread the word about how other readers (hopefully who like the genre) feel about the book. If less than 2% of readers review, and there are fewer people who read poetry, it's going to be uphill both ways to find readers who want to take their time with my words.

Though NetGalley is the most well-known of the review sites, others (like Booksprout and BookSirens) exist. And then there's Pubby.

Facebook, the delightful spy, showed me a video ad of a book on Amazon that proclaimed "Authors are getting 200+ reviews for their books using our tool." Huh. Interesting. The background was of a memoir with a 4.5 star rating out of 208 reviews. Pretty damn impressive, assuming Pubby is responsible for most of those reviews. There's a ten-day trial... enough time to get at least one review before committing.
I started to read the comments. A few people got several reviews in the first month and were thrilled. People were posting their own books and asking other commenters to buy and review them. And then the warnings trickled along.

One month of Pubby is $30 but you can choose to pay annually for a discount. You have to review other books in order to earn enough "snaps" to get your own book reviewed which can be quite time-consuming as it's not one-to-one. A couple folks commented that Pubby can soak up so much of your life that it's a full-time job; even people who praise the company say it's a significant time investment. I'm not saying it doesn't exist elsewhere, but I've never heard of a reviews site charging you and then requiring you to do a bunch of work to get what you paid for.

The quality of reviews can take a hit in this system as some people can give you wonderful, thorough reviews while others speed read just to get their book read by others. Facebook commenters said reviewers would do things like say one character that died in the first chapter was the protagonist, make up entire plotlines, copy the description with nothing added as the review, have reviewers parrot things others have said that were inaccurate, and so on. Even though you aren't necessarily supposed to review the books of those who read yours, it happens and low-star retaliation has occurred more than once.
Since Pubby only has a review system for Amazon, those looking for coverage on other places (like Goodreads) aren't going to find it. The company claims Amazon won't take down reviews because writers aren't swapping them, but more than one client said they had all their reviews taken down because Amazon flagged them as being in a review ring. 
Personally, I think it's a great idea with terrible execution. The price is high for what it is—it can't promise quality reviews for that $30 a month or how many reviews you'll receive (no one at Pubby checks what people write). It doesn't have a long, credible history. Customer service is reportedly not great and credit card misuse has more than one (dis)honorable mention in their website complaints. I'm steering clear.

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