When I started this blog I never even imagined I’d have the opportunity to make money from it. Get some free books, yes. But actual money? Not in a million years. Even now, three years later, I never really thought I’d have that opportunity. Except now I do.
Yesterday I received an email from Penny Sansevieri of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. She gave me a pretty good offer that was essentially this:
- If you become a reviewer for us, you can receive free swag OR
- You can directly get $20 per review, positive or negative.
I thought this sounded a little fishy so I did about two hours of research on Sansevieri and the history of the company. As far as I can tell, it all seems legitimate and I think the offer is a valid one. It seems more than fair to me to either get swag or money for doing a review, positive or negative. But will the company stick to the ‘money for a review positive or negative’ or will there be pressure to only write positive reviews? If I were to accept the offer and take the money for reviews I would be my usual brutally honest self. If I received undue pressure to only write positive reviews, I would walk away rather than compromising my principles as a book reviewer.
My main concern lies with you guys, my readers. Without going too much into my financial situation, essentially in the next half of this year my expenses are going up and my income is going down for a bit after my move to the city. I need a little more incentive to keep going with my blog and having a little bit of positive cash flow would be nice so I don’t keep spending my own money on giveaways. If I were to take the offer I would likely just sink the money back into The Mad Reviewer so that maybe I could finally afford to get my own domain name and move off the free WordPress site where the threat of arbitrary suspension constantly hangs over my head. And if I had any extra cash it would also go to more giveaways. So essentially it would make my blog a net neutral in terms of cash flow.
However, the trust of my readers will always be my number one priority. Even if I disclose when I am being paid for a review, you guys may not be comfortable knowing the fact I was paid. After writing 650+ reviews over three years I believe that the money will not influence me but if you guys are uncomfortable with that I will not take the offer. Honesty is always my priority and I do want to hear from you guys.
1. Would I be compromising my integrity by accepting money in exchange for my usual honest reviews? (As a side note, my own personal submissions will always remain free of charge.)
2. Are you comfortable with the fact that I might be paid for reviews? (Note: I will always disclose whether or not I was paid, as has been my policy from the beginning regarding where I get my books from.)
Please let me know in the comments section. Or, if you’re not comfortable with that, feel free to drop me an email directly or go to my Contact page. I really do want your input and feedback, positive or negative. It will certainly help me decide whether or not to accept the offer.