Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What! Hundreds of Paid Book Reviews!

The buzz, and an angry one at that, is that best-selling, self-published author, John Locke, has paid for posted book reviews (and stars) at Amazon.  Full article at NY Times.  

Come on now, do it the fair way.  After all, John Locke wrote a Kindle book, “How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in Five Months!”  I downloaded that book last year, and I don’t recall if I paid .99 cents for it or got it free.  I do know I did not learn much from it, if anything at all.  I basically was already doing most of his “suggestions” in promotion of my works.  I also believed his unusual covers might have helped his sales, and looking at a Search of his novels, I wasn’t impressed enough to buy.

But....the one thing he failed to put in his ebook, was how some of his success, and who knows, maybe all it, was because he paid for book reviews to be posted at Amazon.  A good way to become an “unethical” best-selling author and the first independent published author to sell a million ebooks at Amazon Kindle, a distinction announced in June, 2011.   

So what does this recent revelation of his promotional tactics, as well as those of others who employ these methods of paid reviews, do for legitimate reviews.  Especially for self-published/independent authors? 

But I’ve heard a lot of complaints from authors about the review process.  Too often someone leaves a negative review, and if one knows the book, it can be obvious that the reviewer either did not read all the book, did not agree with a point of view, or some detail, and leaves a bad review.

One of my friend’s first nonfiction book has had excellent five star reviews at Amazon.  Recently she called to tell me she now felt like a “real author” as someone left a terrible review, accusing her of setting up the reviews, saying her life story was made up, and the book was “garbage.”  This person has done other one-star reviews.  My reaction to something like that, is why did the person bother putting up a review?  There are too many so-called reviewers at Amazon who do things like that.  Most authors get those from time to time and find it irritating. 

But most authors will not pay hundreds of dollars to numerous reviewers who promise a good review.  What John Locke has admitted doing makes it tough for all authors who have “real and honest” reviews. 

My husband, Don Pendleton, learned early on in his career to ignore the negative professional reviews.  He also said most professional critics are nothing more than frustrated wannabe authors. 

So what does a non-professional reviewer want to be?