Tip of the Day: "Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda Apply this to everything in your life and you'll discover how to use the force...or at least do your best and succeed. ;)
The big news this week in publishing is sock puppet reviews. John Locke, who sold over a million ebooks did it. Stephen Leather did it. Now RJ Ellory has been caught doing it.
I have used Amazon.com for years. How many? I think they went live when I was in college, so nearly fifteen years now. Those customer reviews are important to me as a reader and consumer. Did I believe every single review out there? Of course not. I'm not gullible. But I'd like to think most of them are real. Now I'm not sure.
Locke paid a service to buy his books and then review them. Reviewers were paid more for 5 star reviews. Leather and Ellory have fake accounts that they use to review their own books highly and then leave horrible reviews on other people's books.
What's even more scary? I know other authors who've done this. Who've outright admitted to me that this is the way to get sales. Any way to game the system to make more money, right? Needless to say, I've worked hard to disassociate myself with these authors.
What have I done for reviews? I have given free copies of my books to bloggers for totally honest reviews. No money involved. No promises of compensation. I've gotten some pretty horrid reviews off of those too...lol. I can't pay for that kind of abuse. ;)
For my latest release, The Sundering, I paid The Bookish Brunette to run my blog tour. She's finding the bloggers who will participate and coordinating what goes on what blog which day. The fee I paid isn't for positive reviews. I'm paying her to be my organizational guru for a few weeks. I've organized my own blog tours in the past. It's a relief to outsource all the work involved (and until you've done one, you have no clue how much time and effort is put into coordinating a tour).
Not all the bloggers on the tour are reviewing my books, but those who are got coupon codes for free downloads on Smashwords. It doesn't even count toward the all-important Amazon sales algorithms. Again, there's no guarantee I'll get a good review. I get what I get and that's okay with me. The point of a blog tour is exposure. Besides, there are plenty of NY Times Bestsellers I've read and hated...not everyone likes everything.
How do you know if a review is real or fake? Sigh...I wish I could tell you there was a reliable litmus test. Some people suggest looking at the reviewer's other reviews. OMG, do you know it could take hours to sort through that? I suggest talking to your friends or you'll end up like the girl in this State Farm commercial who says she believes everything on the internet:
What irks me most about this topic that is publishing has more drama than The Bold and the Beautiful (which I watch religiously). I enjoy soaps on TV because they aren't real. Why people purposely want to inject this kind of drama into their lives and the lives of others is beyond my understanding.
Work hard. Earn your accolades. If you get it honestly, good for you. But guess what? You aren't entitled to 5-star reviews just because you wrote a book. You only deserve them if the reader truly loved your novel and gives them to you.
The ONLY sock puppets I want to see from now on better look like this:
Megg, Miss Enchanted ePubber