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Reviews are for readers, right?

Posted: Tue January 10th, 2012, 3:45 pm
by Misfit
It's been much too quiet. Interesting blog postover at Dear Author today. I have to get to work so haven't had time to read thoroughly or get through comments but thought it might be of interest.

Posted: Tue January 10th, 2012, 7:06 pm
by lauragill
With regard to the self-published book reviews, a disturbing proportion of them are deceptive five-star reviews from family and friends, or outright shills from the author's own sockpuppets. And in some cases where an honest reader leaves a negative review, either the author or their friends pounce on it. As a result, any positive reader reviews of self-published books have to be taken with a grain of salt, because, even when they're legitimate, they're automatically suspect.

Posted: Tue January 10th, 2012, 7:16 pm
by Misfit
[quote=""lauragill""]With regard to the self-published book reviews, a disturbing proportion of them are deceptive five-star reviews from family and friends, or outright shills from the author's own sockpuppets. And in some cases where an honest reader leaves a negative review, either the author or their friends pounce on it. As a result, any positive reader reviews of self-published books have to be taken with a grain of salt, because, even when they're legitimate, they're automatically suspect.[/quote]

I know, I always roll my eyes at all those gushy reviews. I actually had a review I posted on a kindle freebie that got 20 something negative votes in a matter of hours. I took the damn thing down in the end to stop it. I probably never would have picked it up, free or not but the way the book was promoted led me to believe it was something different than was it was (an oversexed bit of wallpaper).

Posted: Tue January 10th, 2012, 7:39 pm
by LoveHistory
[quote=""lauragill""]With regard to the self-published book reviews, a disturbing proportion of them are deceptive five-star reviews from family and friends, or outright shills from the author's own sockpuppets. And in some cases where an honest reader leaves a negative review, either the author or their friends pounce on it. As a result, any positive reader reviews of self-published books have to be taken with a grain of salt, because, even when they're legitimate, they're automatically suspect.[/quote]

I know that seems to be the rule rather than the exception but I actually got a five star review on one of my self-published books from a total stranger. I've gotten some middling reviews as well, all from people I don't know.

Not every self-publishing author has friends and/or family gumming up the works with phony reviews. I don't know whether in my case it's proof of my connections' good sense or their apathy, but either way I appreciate their lack of gushing for exactly that reason.

One of the tell-tale signs for me is that the text in the review is taken directly from the back cover copy or other marketing materials. You'd think people writing fake reviews would at least paraphrase instead of just copying and pasting. If you care enough to skew the ratings, you should care enough to be original.

Now, on the read the DA post and possibly the comments as well (those get downright entertaining sometimes).

Posted: Tue January 10th, 2012, 8:11 pm
by LoveHistory
Interesting post on the whole. Valid points. I agree that reviews are, by and large, for readers.

But I would also point out that we should remember not all readers read reviews. An offhand comment from a friend with similar taste is good enough for me regardless of a rating or hundreds of reviews by various strangers on Amazon, Goodreads, or anywhere else.

Posted: Tue January 10th, 2012, 8:59 pm
by Misfit
[quote=""LoveHistory""]Interesting post on the whole. Valid points. I agree that reviews are, by and large, for readers.

But I would also point out that we should remember not all readers read reviews. An offhand comment from a friend with similar taste is good enough for me regardless of a rating or hundreds of reviews by various strangers on Amazon, Goodreads, or anywhere else.[/quote]

I agree, although my *real life* friends and coworkers don't read what I do, so it is the comments from online readers here and at Goodreads that count for a lot.

As for padded reviews on Ammy and elsewhere, I hope by now most of us can tell the difference between a well thought out honest opinion and that of one of those two sentence friend/family member reviews. It really only catches my attention when there are a bunch of them, and all written in similar style and most coming from the same hometown as the other. If I come across an example I'll post it here.

Posted: Tue January 10th, 2012, 10:58 pm
by lauragill
[quote=""LoveHistory""]I know that seems to be the rule rather than the exception but I actually got a five star review on one of my self-published books from a total stranger. I've gotten some middling reviews as well, all from people I don't know.

Not every self-publishing author has friends and/or family gumming up the works with phony reviews. I don't know whether in my case it's proof of my connections' good sense or their apathy, but either way I appreciate their lack of gushing for exactly that reason.

One of the tell-tale signs for me is that the text in the review is taken directly from the back cover copy or other marketing materials. You'd think people writing fake reviews would at least paraphrase instead of just copying and pasting. If you care enough to skew the ratings, you should care enough to be original.

Now, on the read the DA post and possibly the comments as well (those get downright entertaining sometimes).[/quote]

The reviews on my books are authentic, too. None of my family or friends has read anything of mine. :(

Posted: Wed January 11th, 2012, 2:43 am
by rebecca
I agree reviews are for readers and for buyers of books whatever genre the book may be. What it should not be is a publicity stunt for authors to pimp their books and basically bully anyone who dares offer a valid criticism.

Just the other day I read the reviews of one particular author(who I shall not name:rolleyes :) and the impression I had was that the author herself had taken several ID's and wrote their own glowing reviews, the author was probably aided and abetted by close friends and relatives. The book focusses on a well-known historical figure but unfortunately the author is so in love with this particular person that there is no objectivity, it is simply a love fest.

It is the type of book where the heroine walks out the door and the sun shines on her, the birds sing, the flowers bloom, while she smiles beatifically at just about everyone. It is not well written and yet the reviews are so gushing that one would think the author had won the booker prize.

There are also times where I read reviews and it is obvious that authors are using different ID's to trash each other’s works I suppose in an effort to annihilate the competition.

I like reading reviews that are objective and fair, even if the person may not have enjoyed the book, after all each reader has different tastes in books. For an example I hate vampire books, so I choose not to read them, but it doesn't mean that all books which have a vampire theme are trash. I recently read 'A Discovery of Witches' by D. Harkness and though I didn't particularly enjoy it- it does have a good plot line and is well written for those who enjoy supernatural thriller/romances.

So my rather long winded point is to leave the readers to write the reviews, after all we're the ones who spend the money.

Bec :) PS Laura-I just checked out your book and read the reviews on it and it does interest me, but unfortunately I don't own a kindle. Will your books be published in paperback?

Posted: Wed January 11th, 2012, 3:13 am
by annis
I thought it a sign of life and times on Amazon that when I broke into superlatives over Robert Lyndon's Hawk Quest on the Amazon HF forum I felt it necessary to add a disclaimer that I didn't know the author from a bar of soap :)

Posted: Wed January 11th, 2012, 3:38 am
by Misfit
[quote=""annis""]I thought it a sign of life and times on Amazon that when I broke into superlatives over Robert Lyndon's Hawk Quest on the Amazon HF forum I felt it necessary to add a disclaimer that I didn't know the author from a bar of soap :) [/quote]

:D :D :D :D

It is sad over there, isn't it?

@ Bec. You go girl, I couldn't agree with you more.