Leave Paid Reviewers Alone

Myesha D. Jenkins requires a $10 “donation” for her book reviews. Though I thought it was kind of backhanded and shady, I really tried to view her fee in a positive light and was desperate to have someone outside my “network” read my work. Who does anything for free except me, right. Ten dollars isn’t really that big a deal, right.

My friend, “Shay”, seemed very disappointed in me for paying her and thought I was rushing too much into trying to expose my work. I wish I’d talked to her before I did it so she could talk me out of it. To top it off, my friend, “C”, just told me that Jenkins rated me two stars on Goodreads. Of course, I didn’t know this until a few minutes ago because I wasn’t going to read the Jenkins review until I finished the second book. This has been a really bad day.

That week a lot of people hoodwinked me because I know how hard it is for Black women writers to get recognized, or read at all, and I was convinced the only way for me to get exposure was to push for it through any means possible, even using my birthday money to pay for this review. I probably lost like $50, including this.

If that’s really all she thought of the book, I accept that. But I feel a lot of regret and shame for paying her to read it. Its something I won’t be doing again, not with her or anyone else. I feel so stupid and embarrassed because that particular review (the only so far) wouldn’t be there if I hadn’t sought this lady out and paid her.  It probably won’t be the last bad review and if people really think my work merits two stars or less they should be honest about it like her, but I shouldn’t be walking into two-star reviews, especially paying for them with money I don’t really have to spare.

Its better to let people come to your book of their own accord. Don’t pay them. Don’t coerce them. Don’t try finesse them into it. I knew that and still I let fear and misguided ambition lead me to do something like this.

Its done now. Lesson reinforced.

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