Reviews are the lifeblood of the indie publishing world. That’s why they should never be tampered with, and yet authors are still buying five-star reviews, posting fake reviews, having friends and family write glowing reviews when they haven’t read the author’s story, or the worst in my opinion, unpublishing their work and republishing it when they don’t like the one star real reviews readers gave them. If this keeps up, the indie publishing world will destroy itself.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve downloaded an indie book to my Kindle with a few glowing reviews and have been disappointed. The work was poorly formatted for the Kindle. It was full of typos, misspellings, and other copy editing issues. The story was written, in summary, more like a synopsis instead of in scenes, commonly known as telling instead of showing. The novel was full of unnecessary boring back story. The list goes on.
Readers are not stupid, and if authors keep messing with the review system, readers will stop buying indie books, and the big publishing houses will win. How? Because readers will never pay for an indie book, they’ll only download them when they are free. It’s already happening. It’s great to offer your book free so readers have a chance to try out a new author, but at some point, you do want them to start paying for your hard work, if you’ve actually put the hard work into your novel. And that, my friends, is where the problem originates, not putting actual hard work in.
Lazy authors. Yes lazy. If these authors put as much effort into learning their craft, writing their novels, and formatting them correctly, as they do in trying to accumulate fake reviews, then fake reviews wouldn’t be needed in the first place. Think about it. If no one is willing to honestly review your book, even after giving it away free, then no one is actually reading your book. Why aren’t people reading it? Because they open it up and it’s a mess.
So please do readers and writers a favor. Do your homework. Learn your craft. Read editor’s blogs, even if you’re self-publishing, to learn the most common mistakes writers make. Don’t release your manuscript until its perfection. When your work is as good as traditionally published works are you won’t have any problems getting real reviews.
When I pick self published books to read, review, and promote on my blog, I have a criteria I follow. The first one, the book needs to have more than five to ten reviews. I know, and every reader knows; the first reviews on an indie work are friends, family, maybe even writing group partners, therefore, those reviews hold no weight. It may not be true in every case, but it is true for most cases. It is especially evident the reviews are fake if they are all five stars, short, and say nothing specific about the book. I look for books that have at least twenty-five reviews or more, and then I read the one star reviews first. Depending on what those reviews say, I may decide to get the book for myself and promote it on my blog.
I hear people say won’t or don’t want to read self published authors. I hope I can change their minds by finding the best of the best self published books to share with everyone.