I've been in publishing for over twenty years having written for newspapers, magazines, companies and myself; the rule has always been that you never mix editorial with advertising. That principle ensures editorial independence and readers know they can trust reviews or coverage of anything in the magazine.
However, when you are running a publication on a shoestring things are different. I know how hard it is to run a print magazine as I started The Philosopher's Stone magazine many years ago. It folded after three issues due to me being too much of a perfectionist and the magazine too much of a commitment. I can't remember if I ever asked for an ad in return for a review but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have turned one down if offered. I know I covered things without having associated ads.
But it really galls me to buy a review and I don't want to be seen to be buying one, would you trust it if I did? Of course I wouldn't be buying a review, but would they review me if I don't buy an advert. I don't know what they would say to this but I intend to ask them. I also intend to ask them if they will write me a bad review. Does the positivity of the review depend on the amount I spend? Is there a direct relationship, is it linear, inverse, a curve of some sort? There are so many questions. You know I may just buy an advert and ask them not to review my book just for the sheer hell of it.
Heaven knows I need more reviews but I know that one review on it's own won't be enough. (See my last blog for the somewhat disjointed and illogical sheep shagging argument about reviews and their efficacy or lack of it.) Watch this space. I'll keep you informed of their response.