Today, I have a special guest post by the awesome Katie French. Lately there's been a lot of talk about reviews and sock puppets. If you've been following the drama then you know what sock puppet means, if not, read on...
have caused quite a stink in the writing community lately. In the span of a few
weeks there were two scandals. The first involved Todd Rutherford of the former
GettingBookReviews.com and his paid reviews system. The articleintheNewYorkTimeswent on to claim that one third of all reviews on Amazon were fake,
bought and paid for, leaving everyone to wonder if any customer review should
be trusted ever again.
backlash to this caused many customers to believe only the lowest reviews,
surmising that because it is a bad review it has to be correct. However, the
next scandal put that theory to test when E.J. Elroywasexposed for using “sock puppets” or pseudonyms
on Amazon and other reviews sites to bash his opponents and praise his own
work. Elroy, a bestselling British author, admitted the act and apologized, but
the backlash to this dishonesty has just dumped more doubt on Amazon reviews
across the board. How many authors used this tactic and just haven’t been
caught? How can we believe any review we read ever again?
Amazon is reacting, clamping down on its policies--
advertising when someone uses their real name, letting us know that they have a
confirmed purchase of a book. However, those will not stop someone determined
to trick the system. So, what can a book buying fanatic like myself do? How can
we deal with the rampant lies slathered across our Amazon review pages? How
will we ever know if a book is good enough to purchase?My personal opinion is we do absolutely
spend a lot of time perusing Amazon books in the genre in which I write. Almost
all of them carry a rating of around 4 to 4.5 star rating. All of them. So the
star ratings don’t sway me. The number of reviews may peek my interest, letting
me know that many have purchased this book instead of few, but usually that
means little as well. I may read a few of the top reviews (even though I have no
idea if they were written by the author’s mother or an honest reviewer) or I
may not. What I mainly consider is if I like the cover and the blurb, if the
story calls to me in some deep down, gut wrenching way, if the characters seem
to pop off the page and if the setting is spellbinding. If those things are
there, then I’ll buy it, reviews be damned.
will always be rule breakers. There will always be those who try to cheat the
system. I don’t think Amazon can create a filter that will stop the pin heads
of the world. But in the end, giving yourself good reviews can’t make you
write. That takes grit, determination and thousands of hours at the keyboard.
No sock puppet will get you there.
Katie French is the author of the debut book TheBreeders,a YA dystopian adventure available now on
Amazon. She is also the co-creator and contributor with UndergroundBookReviews,
a site that seeks to promote quality unpaid book reviews to self-published and
independent writers. Her passions are her family and her work with at-risk
teens. You can find her at www.KatieFrenchBooks.com
or on facebook.
GIVEAWAY ALERT! We're also giving away an ebook of Katie's YA debut, THE BREEDERS.
All you have to do to enter is leave a comment and include your email
address. For 5 extra entries tweet this ready-made tweet:
Katie French's thoughts on the recent book review drama and enter to
#win her #ya debut, THE BREEDERS.
"Will readers of supernatural be drawn to my story even though there are no werewolves or vampires? Only time will tell. I could have followed popular trends and thrown in a blood sucking or howl-at-the-moon moment but that wouldn't be true to who I am or who my characters are. So with that in mind, vampires, werewolves, wizards, fairies, even leprechauns, watch out! There's a group of extraordinary and complex characters patiently waiting in the shadows, ready to give you magical creatures a run for your money. They're called The Kindrily. And while a full moon is beautiful to look at, it only shines once a month. Some stars shine forever, and my people are all about the stars." ~Me (Full Moon Post) www.TheKindrily.com