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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

darke_conteur
Jun. 25th, 2012 03:13 pm (UTC)
Why does it not surprise me that this is going on. A while back a friend of mine was upset at the fact a writer on one of these forums was saying that all self-published authors should give other SP authors a five star rating because they had to stick together against the big, bad Trad. published books.



jongibbs
Jun. 25th, 2012 03:17 pm (UTC)
I guess the reverse is when people give one star reviews because they don't like the author, or the price.
temporus
Jun. 25th, 2012 04:36 pm (UTC)
If the price commentary is along the lines of: I can't believe I paid $XXX for this garbage, to me that's legitimate. Because it's fair to feel that there's a reasonable price point and when something doesn't measure up, to state that. But the ones that don't read a book, but just post up a "review" that says you don't like the fact that the company chose to price the book at $14.99? Those people are annoying.

As to those that don't like an author, say, for their beliefs or politics? That's tougher. It can be a form of protest, that while I wouldn't engage in, might be one of the more effective ways to disseminate said person's beliefs to those that might care when making a purchase.
jongibbs
Jun. 25th, 2012 04:43 pm (UTC)
It seems so petty to give a 1-star review for a book you haven't read, just because you dislike the author. I saw some for Bill O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln, a book I enjoyed immensely.

I think it says more about the reviewer's maturity (or lack thereof) than it does about the book in question.
starry_diadem
Jun. 25th, 2012 03:22 pm (UTC)
A dishonourable and despicable thing to suggest. It's like voting for yourself in an election. Such bad form.

I treat all the reviews of books with caution anyway, not knowing what I can trust. If I knew of an author who signed up to something like this, they'd be off my reading list. Permanently.

jongibbs
Jun. 25th, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC)
I suppose to the folks who take this route, it's just a small step from all the 'My book's up for an award, please vote for me' request, which you see from time to time, although at least with mpost of those, the person requesting usually asks that you've read it first.
mutive
Jun. 25th, 2012 05:39 pm (UTC)
I'm not surprised, really. I've heard of similar stuff happening, which makes me sad. I'd probably buy a fair number of self-pubbed books...except that I know this kind of thing exists, and do know that there are lots of quality issues. (Some are great, I'm sure. But there isn't the same filter that there is on commercially published books where at least *someone* thought they were worthy of publication other than the author.) It's sad, because if self-publishing had more of an attitude of leaving critically honest reviews, I'd probably buy more self-pubbed books. (As then I could use reviews to sort out the wheat from the chaff, if you will.)

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















 











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