Back in August, I posted a mini-rant about the slew of get-rich-quick-through-self-publishing books that were cropping up on Amazon. These books promised to make you the next Amanda Hocking or John Locke. Mr. Locke even published such a book, revealing his secret to success.
It’s no surprise to me that this turned out to be a lot of hooey. Sadly, some writers were sucked in, even seasoned professionals. Holly Lisle, a much-published author, admits to being fooled by the lure of easy money that John Locke offered. She recently blogged about her experience and I think it is well worth the read.
You can find the article here: Do I still recommend John Locke? No.
She also includes a link to an article about the issue in the New York Times.
The issue has to do with Mr. Locke and other authors paying for rave reviews on Amazon and other book sites. Irreparable harm is caused by this phenomenon. How can a reader trust a review if she isn’t sure if it was written by another reader or by someone part of a review mill, who probably didn’t read past the first chapter, if at all?
Answer: reviews are great, but let the buyer, even the freebie buyer, beware. It’s easy enough to read the first few pages of most books available on Amazon and elsewhere.
I also want to note that I don’t count as part of this reviewers who were given free copies of a book and then asked to post an honest review. Authors have to get the word out somehow and they are taking a chance the review will be unflattering.
Any writers reading this, published or not, let’s all agree here and now that we will never pay for a flattering review. After all, no amount of money can repair a damaged reputation.
I’m with you. However tempting those rave reviews are, if they aren’t genuine then you might as well write them yourself.
I’m happy to give copies of my books to potential reviewers – no strings attached. I recently posted on my own blog about the dangers of not proofreading after one reviewer gave my book five stars and commented that it would have had five but for some proofing errors.
Authors who just see readers as numbers and only want to trick money out of them are no better than dodgy estate agents (realtors to you) or ambulance-chasing lawyers. Pond life.
Holly Lisle mentions someone who suggests that authors open multiple phony Amazon accounts just to provide themselves with good reviews. It’s sad that people feel the need to resort to that, but it’s also dishonest. Plus, if you get found out, it’s worse than having no reviews at all.
I think even if you don’t get found out, it’s worse than no reviews.
Deep down you know the reviews are meaningless. Do we really want to have our worth only measured by our own opinion?
So true! No amount of self praise can equal one good review written by a stranger.