Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Midlist Writer blog, where he talks about writing, adventure travel, caving, and everything else he gets up to. He also reproduces all the posts from Civil War Horror, so drop on by!
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Indie Life: Let's Stop Review Inflation
It's simple: an indie writer gets her friends to give the book five-star reviews, lavishing praise on the book. Sometimes it's quite obvious. I've seen books that have only been published for a day that somehow have half a dozen reviews, all of them five stars. The idea is that this will help sales.
In the end, this hurts the author and indie writers in general. When real readers buy the book, they're often disappointed and take out their sense of betrayal with especially bad reviews. Readers are also getting more sophisticated. I've seen more than one review on Amazon or B&N which complains there are too many fake reviews for a book.
It's also just plain dishonest, and trying to pull one over on your readership is not going to help your career in the long term. I have never asked my friends for reviews. For my Civil War novel A Fine Likeness, only one reviewer is someone I know. ACLopez is a friend of mine. I didn't ask her to write a review, but she did anyway and gave it five stars. I'd think she really enjoyed the book and was probably tickled that much of the action took place in her county, but would she have given it five stars if she didn't know me? Probably not.
The only other unsolicited review from a friend was for The Night the Nazis Came to Dinner and other Dark Tales. On Amazon UK, Critch gave me only three stars and said, "He needs to improve if his fiction is to equal his non-fiction, but there are glimpses of potential in this collection."
Well, no review inflation with that guy!