I spent at least two hours of my Saturday morning just drafting polite individual messages for ‘book reviewers’. After a point, I just ignored some, even though I didn’t want to.

What am I rambling about? Well, some of you might be aware that I published a book called ‘Love, Loss, Lockdown’. It’s a collection of 10 short stories set against the Covid19 pandemic. And a lot of ‘book reviewers’ have reached out to me on Twitter and Instagram, asking me if I would like them to review my book.

Reviewers reaching out to a new writer, sounds great right? Not really. All of the reviewers who reached out to me wanted me to PAY them to review my book. And I do not believe in buying reviews. That’s what it is. While I am happy to give a free copy of my book to somebody who genuinely loves reading and does critical reviews; I am not going to pay for it, even if it’s just a dollar.

Some of these reviewers who messaged me had more than 10,000 followers, heck, one of them had over a 100,000 followers. But my answer was pretty much this – happy to give you a free copy in exchange of an honest review, but will not pay for it.

Some random reviewer (with about 1500 followers on Instagram) clearly didn’t understand what I was trying to say and responded to me on the lines of – “Okay, I will mail you my review, but I will not post it anywhere, because that means I am promoting your book and for that you will have to pay”. I had a huge laugh out of it and didn’t respond.

Honestly, the idiotic response completely fucked with my head for a few seconds. I mean – why does this random person (who contacted me first) think I am interested in knowing his opinion via a private email? And actually expects me to give him a free copy of my book for a private email feedback? L-O-L. I really wish I had the confidence of some of these guys. I have 6,000 followers on Quora and never have I ever messaged any of my loyal readers to sell them a copy of my book.

I am guessing since I have a pathetic following on Instagram, some of these ‘reviewers’ think they can scam me. I know there are enough independent authors out there, who would happily pay anybody who would read their book and post reviews on various social media platforms. To my fellow independent writers – if you value your work, can you not pay random reviewers who write generic reviews? You are basically encouraging a toxic culture of every second reader wanting to become a paid reviewer.