Friday, December 13, 2013

Pull Up A Chair With Mon Blog Series. Let's Talk About: Asking/Paying For Reviews #Authors #Writers #Blog

Asking/Paying For Reviews

A while back, this was a big discussion amongst many author groups. While many authors vary in their opinion and level of sheer gumption of how far they’re willing to travel down the road of dishonesty to sell their books, I think many are missing one simple fact.

I don’t see the point of having my “friends” say something nice about my books just because I smile, say pretty please and they like me enough not to want to hurt my feelings. I’ve had one or two requests for reviews on books I really couldn’t bring myself to give. I consider myself an honest person and one who has a code of honour. I can’t in all honesty say wonderful things about a book when I just deleted it off my Kindle because it was a waste of valuable megabyte space.

It’s all well and good to snag yourself a bucket load of 5* (star) reviews, but have you thought beyond the initial—My-book-has-a-trillion-5*-reviews?

What happens once all the 5* reviews do the job you hoped they would, and increase book sales? What happens when real readers read your amazing can’t-dare-put-it-down-and-go-to-sleep book?  

Personally, I think every author is entitled to conduct his/her business as she sees fit. However, I would never go that route to obtain reviews because there’s one thing most authors forget—and this is the fact I mentioned above—you can fool SOME of the people SOME of the time, but you can't fool ALL of the people ALL of the time.

What do I mean by this?

It’s all well and good to get favoured-reviews by friends or by payment, or nice-nice exchange. You know the ones I mean: you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours—wink-wink ;)

But the public will then purchase, and read, your fantastic book on the strength of those reviews. Impartial, she reads your book and decides for herself if the reviews are true. If the book doesn't stand up to her preconceived expectations, she will do one of three things.

1. Give you an awful review, in which she warns other readers that the reviews aren’t true reflections of the book. (I've seen this several times).


2. Never purchase another book by the author. She feels betrayed and let down by the reviewers, the author, and the book.


3. Do both of the above, but make waves (troll) until she feels satisfied.

Like I said, you can only fool someone once. Imagine if tons of 5* reviews came from friends, or readers who were cajoled in some way and feel obligated to say something nice about the book. Or from paid reviews, plus one or two 3* or 4* independent reviews. Other readers will go ahead and buy the book. If they hate it, they will never purchase another book you write. Eventually, in order to sell again, you’d have to change your name. :)

This is only my opinion and a worst case scenario. I guess ultimately, the author needs to decide if her book is indeed fab enough to withstand the weight and expectations of all the 
5* reviews.

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  1. Hi, Monique,

    You said that so eloquently and you are so right. So often authors forget the readers can decide never to buy another one of their books.

    Great post!

  2. I've been caught out like that before. I bought a book because of the great reviews and attractive blurb only to be disappointed in the total lack of an interesting story.

    1. Hi, Nina,

      I tend to disregard all reviews. I have a few fav themes. If I find a book that looks interesting, I'll download the sample and decide whether I wish to read the book or not.

      You can easily tell by the sample whether the author is a good fit for you. I've had people say my stories are "too Harlequin" for them. Well duh! That is the types of books I lean toward and it's perfectly obvious from the sample.

      Since I don't like anyone telling me what to do, I guess to choose or pass on a book on the strength of someone else's opinion falls to close to someone making the choice for me. I like to make my own choices.

  3. You bring up excellent points. But sometimes it's difficult to get people to pay attention to your book until it has some reviews. And there are promotional newsletters that won't accept an ad for your book until you have at least ten four or five-star reviews. So I ask my friends (street team, whatever) to read and post a review. So far they've been pretty honest - not all are five star, and not all are glowing, so I appreciate their efforts very much.

    1. Hi, Patricia!

      Thanks so much for stopping by. What you've described is honest reviews. We all love and appreciate honest feedback. Honest reviews never disappoint. It's the false glowing reviews we all have a problem with. In the end, I don't think it's bad practice to ask for reviews so long as the reviewer can put aside her--is she has any--personally relationship with the author and be honest without malice or agenda whether good or bad.

  4. You make so many interesting points. I'd rather get honest reviews on my books. I don't want my readers to be disappointed. Re: reviewing books. If I can't give a book a 4 or a 5, I won't review it. I try to follow the "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything" advice.

    1. I'm with you, Diane!

      I have a 1* review that just gives me tummy twirls and puts a big smile on my face! When I'm feeling a little down about my writing, I just pop over to Amazon and read it--my day is great after that! What was the 1 star review, I hear you ask. The reviewer gave me 1 star because my book was "TOO HARLEQIN"! Oh music to my ears since it's my dream to write for them!!!

      It's the best review I ever had, and I know if a reader who happens to like Harlequin books sees it, she'll probably buy the book because of that lovely 1* :D

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  5. When it comes to getting your books reviewed, I think it's important to let reviewers know you want honest reviews when you give them a copy of your book. This is common practice, and any good reviewer will indicate in their review that they received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

    It's better to have these honest reviews than the string of 5-star reviews that all say the same thing.

    Though, when it comes to reviewing books, I, like Diane, won't post a review unless I can give it 4 or 5 stars. If I would give it less, I usually don't even finish the book. But, I try to say more than "It was great!" I tell what I like, and what I didn't like about the story.

    1. Clearly you're a responsible reviewer, Jessica.

      I think it's a legal requirement for the reviewer to disclose that they received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

      :) thanks for visiting!

  6. I was .astonished when I found site where people can buy reviews-- it made me rethink why I buy a book. And also explained why some books with good reviews disappointed me so much. I agree I'll never buy that author again

    1. It's such a shame some authors don't pause long enough to realise the enormity of buying reviews.

      Sadly, you probably aren't the only disappointed reader that author ended up with!

      Thanks for sharing :)


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