Let’s Talk: What’s the Deal with VSP?

Let’s Talk: What’s the Deal with VSP?

Maybe last week or so, I posted a review on my blog for The Seduction Expert by Saya Lopez Ortega. Not a big deal right? Well, apparently there has been some controversy over VSP Publishing and how they were asking for reviews on this specific book. After reading my account, and some other accounts, do you feel like something wrong was done? Let me know.

So I remember getting a message on Goodreads from VSP Publishing asking if I would be willing to read and review a book. Thinking nothing of it because I had started getting requests already, I said sure. They then said that they would send it in an email. That sounds about normal, right? Well, now that I’m trying to find research for this blog post, it looks like all traces of their contacting me on Goodreads is mysteriously gone. No trace of me sending them a response or receiving an initial email.

Well, on June 30th, I (along with a bunch of other people) received an email with the book. See the screenshot below. Nothing sketchy on mine, right? Well, besides a bunch of emails for other bloggers that didn’t need to be shared. That could have been a human error or not, but either way it happened. I didn’t look at anyone else’s emails, and made sure that I only responded to VSP.

Now, if you look at the screenshots from Megan on Goodreads, you can see that they specifically said to send them an email if the review was going to be less than 3 stars rather than posting it. I don’t know about you, but if a publisher is going to send emails out to a bunch of people and ask for an honest review, wouldn’t having a restriction on the star rating defeat the purpose of having an actual honest review? Here is an account of the situation from Krystal and Melissa, along with a post from 2018 about this situation happening again with VSP, again with this novel.

Looking at all of these, it would seem like it’s a little hazy on whether procedure was done correctly on VSP’s side. Also, if you read the post from 2018, you can see that VSP commented on that blog, and tried to say that they had sent an email to the poster but did not receive a response. I don’t know how true that is since I’m not the original poster, but it’s interesting that they took the time to comment on that post. If you also look at Krystal’s review comments, Jen from VSP commented on there as well.

So what do you guys think? Was something done wrong with this whole situation? I personally didn’t like the book enough to rate it higher than a 3, and since I wasn’t told to not post if it was less than 3 stars, I didn’t get any initial sketchy feeling until today, when I was trying to find my initial email request but see that it’s completely gone. Do you feel like the situation has been exacerbated and blown out of proportion for no reason? As a new blogger, I’d love to hear your opinion on both VSP and this situation so I can know in the future what to look out for when accepting review requests.

8 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: What’s the Deal with VSP?

  1. I don’t know about the specific situation, but if someone were to request I review a book, then they better be prepared for an honest review, no matter how good or bad. If they ask for a certain rating or higher, I would flat out decline because that goes against the entire purpose of opinion based reviews. I personally think that practice is unethical at best and brushes up a little too closely to the concept of paid positive reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I agree TJ. I think honest reviews are the only way for other readers to get a true idea of whether or not they will like a book or not (for those that rely on reviews before reading a book). This hasn’t happened to me specifically, but I have heard of this happening to other people so I was curious to know how others felt about it.


  2. Hmmm, now I’m really glad I declined their offer. This situation definitely sounds shady to me, The thing is, when reaching out to reviewers for honest feedback, publishers and authors should know to expect that it is inevitable that SOMEONE will not like the book. Even the most popular and widely sold novels have critics. It’s wild to me that they thought that they could get away with asking reviewers to not publish their review if it was less than 3 stars. That’s entirely unprofessional and unethical and I’m glad that you and other bloggers have called them out!


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