I am not above posting articles which could be classed as controversial, such as this one, because I think it is a writer’s duty to bring into the open topics which can be discussed and debated among one’s peers.
Therefore, your comments and viewpoints are most welcome, even if they are incorrect!
Many indie authors tend to ‘chase’ reviews for their books.
Many more coerce family, friends, co-workers, fellow authors and the like to write a ‘good’ review, even a ‘five-star’ review for their newly released novel(la).
After which, the race is on, posting to social networks, giving away volumes of volumes, (pun intended), to gain several more one or two lines like:
“I loved this book, you will too.”
“I spent all day reading this book as I was sick in bed. It is good as I spent all day reading it and have only just finished reading it after all day. I liked it alot.”
(YES, these are genuine ‘review’ quotes I stole from the internet.)
There are those which babble on about very little, and end up with lines such as:
“Five stars from me.”
While others focus on the ‘writers’ style and what they ‘got wrong’ and what they, [the reviewer] personally agreed with, so ‘sorry’…
“I can only give this book three and a half stars.”
It all makes me chuckle, especially as many of the self-righteous sounding comments, I hate to term them as reviews, are written either by self-proclaimed literary reviewers or by a paid-for review service.
Neither of the above being literary or journalistically trained, none can be classed as successful authors in the ‘household’ name sense, and none have any doctorate or master’s degree in the art of book reviewing.
All which is self-explanatory, when considered in the cold light of day.
Now, personally, I believe the time and investment an author puts into creating a book, the concept, planning, writing, re-writing, editing, cover design, re-writing, formatting, proofreading and so on, is enough money spent.
Once the book is published, the idea is it starts to return the investment made. (see The Frugal Author for details.) It is NOT the time to be paying someone, often with little talent, to scribble a few badly drafted, ill-advised comments and call such a review.
It is NOT.
Neither will their comments give any true credence to your book’s status, even if they say a ‘seven-star’ review… or a ‘ten thousand star’ review… they mean absolutely next to nothing, if not less.
One reason is, ‘stars’ or even the concept of ‘stars’ hold no value. There is no academically, or commercial accepted value to these ‘stars’.
They hold NO value because any Tom, Dick or Harry… or Sharon, Karen or Portia for that matter can ‘award’ these ‘stars’ to anyone for any reason whatsoever.
Recently, there has been many a disgruntled an author complaining to Amazon because they removed several ‘reviews’, or disallowed others from appearing on the Amazon book pages.
This is a good thing.
I SHALL EXPLAIN WHY.
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned the coerced reviews, those from friends and family etc.
Now, consider the facts.
Anything any of these people write, as so-called reviews for your book is, by the very nature of its inception, biased.
Given these untrue reviews, any person buying the book ‘off-spec’ and finding the reviews posted were false, will most often leave a scathing review of their own, which will often impact with a far greater force than a dozen fake reviews could ever deliver.
The author will then run the risk of being classed as fraudulent.
Which is one of the reasons why Amazon have, and are, clamping down on the reviews they allow to be presented to their potential customers.
One more thing to seriously consider regarding friends, family and colleagues.
IF… and I mean IF your friends and family really want to help you succeed, if they genuinely want to help with the sales of your book, the best and MOST effective way is the simplest… to buy a copy of your book. Not a free copy, not an ARC, not a discounted edition, but actually buy, at the full retail price, a copy of your work.
This will increase your book’s exposure and move it higher up the rankings with almost immediate effect. This alone is worth more than a mass of fake reviews.
IF they don’t or won’t buy your book, you will know who your true friends are and which members of your family truly support your efforts.
(Or… you will find your book is so bad even your nearest and dearest do not want to read it.)
Either way, it will save you a ton of long-term heartache.
The second point is, ‘paid reviews’.
To pay a person to review your book is worse than asking your Mum to write something nice about it.
As with the family and friends’ gig, paid reviews are fake.
They are false because the reviewer has a vested interest to keep you happy. After all, you are paying them and they want your money again in the future when you ask them to read your next book.
Also, they [the reviewer], will not want you posting remarks about their ability or aptitude regarding reviews. So, they will keep you, the author sweet by writing nice, or at least a less critical review of the book in question.
BUT… here are a few things to consider.
Amazon is cracking down on paid-for reviews and will be doing so again, soon.
They know ‘who is who’. They do this by monitoring who, where from, when and how reviews are written and posted.
So, you could be risking your hard-earned cash on a review no one will see because Amazon will either refuse to publish it or they will remove it soon after it shows on your books page.
Secondly, many so-called ‘professional’ reviewers boast about the number of books they review in a year.
Many of these numbers would mean the books have to be speed-read to manage those figures. So, the reviewer will never read your book in the same manner as a ‘normal/regular’ bookworm.
There are some who have a pool of readers, each of whom gives their comments to the principal reviewer, who then uses standardised templates, altering a few words here and there to ‘personalise’ the ‘review’ of your book.
Not that it matters to the reviewer, they don’t care about you or your book, they just want their fee.
Genuine reviews are given by people who read your book without any other reason than something attracted them to it.
It could be the cover, the back-cover blurb, the ‘look inside’, a book trailer you have on YouTube or a post you made on social… it matters not.
What matters is their review will be honest and unbiased.
This is the ONLY form of review which has any genuine validity whatsoever, be it the one-liner which says,
“I liked this author & want to read more.”
Or the long form of essay, sometimes greater in length than the book reviewed which ends in,
“I give this book five stars.”
See, I told you anybody could give you five stars.
That is why reviews don’t count for much… unless.
Do you, as an author, want to know and understand more about the ‘Stuff’ of being indie, about books, the publishing and printing processes?
I have been working on an awful lot of ‘Stuff’ these past few weeks.
I am always busy, it keeps me from hanging about on those street corners. But these past weeks I have been busier than most.
Let me give you a clue….
Over the last two weeks, I wrote approximately 630,000 words, 350,000 last week and 280,000 the week before.
I have promoted the November edition of CQI magazine, the Sci-Fi season special. Click on the cover image to read.
I am in the midst of compiling two annual catalogues for CQI, ‘The Collection – a guide to year-round giving’ and ‘The LIST 2018′ a catalogue of commended and acclaimed books.
During which time, I have beavered away at marketing to keep my two latest books high on the Amazon sales lists. Successfully.
I finalised and formatted a further two books, including designing the covers. They are:
Dark Words – dark tales & darker poetry is scheduled for release on the 1st of February 2018.
Within the Invisible Pentacle, a collection of intriguing feminine titles is due out on the 1st of June 2018.
That done, I can concentrate my efforts on completing two other WiP:
Floyd a Novel about an escaped psychopath on a bloody rampage of revenge and…
On the Highway of Irreverent Rumination & Delusion, which is a rendering of my past blog of the same name, about musings of life, living and our society, with many additional perceptions, formed into a book.
I am hoping to have both completed by the end of 2018… but who knows?
Included in this time, right up until yesterday morning, I have published three new eBooks, Kindle ‘novelettes‘ under the collective brand of Electric Eclectic.
Electric Eclectic books are absolutely fantastic, they enable readers to ‘taste‘ a previously unread or unknown author at the extremely low price of just 1.00 (Dollar/Pound/Euro). HOWEVER… unlike many low-cost books all EE novelettes are vetted to ensure they meet exacting standards, so readers can buy Electric Eclectic branded books with confidence.
EE is a Franchise, where the individual authors benefit from the marketing and promotion of being associated with the prime EE brand itself. Enquiries about becoming an EE author to EEbookbranding@mail.com
My current EE novelettes are:
North to Maynard, a tale of Gremlins in our modern world of high tech.
Three Floors Up, where a psychotic man watches those below until…?
Mechanical Mike, a tongue-in-cheek sci-fi robot story, set in Paris during WW2.
Oh, I have also helped a fellow author to create a fully illustrated children’s book, written by an eight-year-old girl. A project not without its problems, but one where I have enjoyed overcoming the challenges.
I took three days out to travel to Belguim during this time period too.