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A couple of months ago, I got invited to (what I can only describe as) a ‘Mutual like and review’ party.

Here’s the gist of the invitation:
On sites like Amazon, Goodreads, B&N etc. you give a glowing, 5-star review of the latest book by each of the twenty or so writers taking part. In return, they do the same for you. Everyone’s book ends up with a couple of dozen great reviews (including yours). This not only makes your online sales pages look better, but also raises your book’s profile within each site’s database, apparently making it more likely to include you in all those ‘Folks who read this also bought’ section. The best thing of all (according to the sender), is you don’t even have to read these other folks’ books, just take a name or plot line from the blurb and make something up.

I didn’t accept, didn't even reply, but it left a rotten taste in my mouth which has been bugging me ever since.

I suppose this sort of idea was bound to take root at some point or other. After all, plenty of folks already do the ‘I’ll ‘like’ your Facebook page, if you like mine’ thing, but I have to say, I find this far more disturbing.
Personally, I don’t pay too much attention to a book’s star rating, or how many reviews it has, but some people do. I’m sure they’ve learned to disregard the obvious one-line raves written by well-meaning friends and relatives, but to me, it’s just plain wrong to post a ‘review’ of a book you haven’t read.

Sure, I’d like more reviews on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads and the like, but not from people who haven’t read my work. I really hope this idea doesn’t catch on, but I’ve a nagging suspicion many writers will convince themselves it’s okay to join in the deceit, citing the ‘Everyone else does it.’ excuse, or simply because they don’t care if it’s wrong, so long as they make a sale through it.

How about you?

How do you feel about writers giving rave reviews for books they haven’t read?



Poll #1849478 Fake reviews

How do you feel about writers giving rave reviews for books they haven’t read?

It’s wrong, with a capital ‘Wrrrr”
59(100.0%)
All’s fair in love, war and marketing. Besides, writers need all the help they can get these days.
0(0.0%)
Something else, which I’ll mention in the comments
0(0.0%)




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Comments

( 56 comments — Leave a comment )
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tracy_d74
Jun. 26th, 2012 04:06 am (UTC)
If I'm signing my name to something, it's because I believe in what I just said. Plus, I think eventually, the truth will come out and my credibility would be shot. In life, your word, honest word, is priceless.

Edited at 2012-06-26 04:07 am (UTC)
jongibbs
Jun. 26th, 2012 05:13 pm (UTC)
Sadly, too many folks don't seem to think so :(
paulwoodlin
Jun. 26th, 2012 06:34 am (UTC)
I don't know what to think of a rating anyway. Lots of people like different books than I do. A review that explains why they like it, sure, that would influence me.

Frankly, there's so much marketing out there, I've been tuning it out as much as possible for years. It's like cars honking. I've even dropped some of the LJ friends because I realized their sites were just marketing.

The most depressing thing is that I expect to be lied to, not just by book raters but by sales reps, car mechanics, just about anyone who is after my money or my vote. The last political speech I listened to was Obama's keynote address in 2004, which was stellar as far as politics goes, but I don't get "facts" from politicans or political ads, etc.
jongibbs
Jun. 26th, 2012 05:14 pm (UTC)
Somewhere along the way, it become okay to tell lies, provided you weren't a: found out, or b: the 'cause' was big enough to justify it :(
peadarog
Jun. 26th, 2012 11:02 am (UTC)
As a reader, I absolutely hate this. As a writer, I feel the way an honest athlete feels when a drug cheat takes all the medals.
jongibbs
Jun. 26th, 2012 05:15 pm (UTC)
'As a writer, I feel the way an honest athlete feels when a drug cheat takes all the medals.'

If I had a 'Best comment of the week feature here, this would win hands down :)
peadarog
Jun. 26th, 2012 05:46 pm (UTC)
curses, I coulda bin a contender!
p_m_cryan
Jun. 26th, 2012 10:07 pm (UTC)
I am glad that my visceral reaction of "who could possibly think that was okay?" has been borne out in your poll results.

On a cheerier note, I have a link for your weekly writerly-posts roundup.

http://whipchick.livejournal.com/17897.html
jongibbs
Jun. 27th, 2012 08:51 am (UTC)
Thanks, Pat :)
calli_scribbles
Jun. 27th, 2012 01:33 pm (UTC)
This sort of thing has plagued other online writing communities (a forum that I was once part of, and some groups on fictionpress, for examples) and it just doesn't end well. Granted, Amazon's a bit large for the formation of an absurdly powerful "in" crowd, but even though it makes a lot of sense for writers to review other writers, you shouldn't be beholden to the person you're reviewing.

Also, the formation of groups like this drives good writers away from the group, in addition to falsely inflating the reputation of a work. And then it drives serious readers away, to find that there are so many rave reviews and five star ratings of works which may or may not deserve them. On the forum (which shall remain nameless) where this happened, the server was actually programmed to ignore any stories below a certain rating, meaning that if there were enough false five stars out there, it was really hard to find a good piece of reading material.

Also, the whole process just sort of smacks of dishonesty.
jongibbs
Jun. 27th, 2012 02:43 pm (UTC)
I have to say, when I see a book with nothing but 5 star reviews, I assume they came from friends, relatives and/or the writer himself.

Thanks for the input :)
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Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there


No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there















 











THE MEAGER PUDDLE OF LIMELIGHT AWARDS


Books by my writer friends - compressed

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