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June 15th, 2009

6:53 PM

The smell of desperation

A classic mistake made by many self-published authors is believing that if they review each other's books on Amazon, people will be led to believe that those books are so good, they have to buy those books.


This classic thread has everything.

Authors telling each other where to find chapter excerpts and such, because heaven knows, reading a book to write the review is a waste of time. As one author puts it, nobody reads the whole book when writing reviews anyway.

Authors complaining that they can't afford to buy their own books for review. And they expect readers to somehow afford those books, then? Amusing.

Here's my unsolicited suggestion: stop treating readers like a herd of brainless twits oblivious to such blatant tactics. Setting up a Yahoo! group to bombard readers who join with sales pitches - come on, why would any reader sign up to such a blatant promotional group by a bunch of lesser-known writers in the first place?

The road to success via the self-publishing route is never easy. But it's never easy because readers tend to be smarter than these authors believe.

Think about it. If these authors, while wanting to review each other's works, whine that the books are too expensive and reading an entire book is too hard, why would any reader bother with the books of such authors then? The attitude towards readers/customers here seems to be, "I've written a book, NOW BUY IT BITCH!"

That's why I once said that many of these authors never consider readers as human beings in their plan for world domination. I got plenty of heat from so-called POD experts for saying this, but if you ask me, it is such attitude - assuming that readers are a bunch of homogenous fools with no independent thought - that causes 90% of the efforts by these authors to promote their books to fail right out of the gate.

It is important, IMO, that they respect the people they are selling their book and treat them as intelligent human beings capable of discerning gold from BS. Only then will those people pay attention to what they are selling.

7 comment(s).

Posted by Cheryl Anne Gardner:

I guess they should read my last post on how to write a review, but then, why would they? These authors don't want a "real" review: they want a strip-search pat on the back, and sorry to burst the bubble, but those don't sell books. Savvy readers can tell a fake review a mile away.

Here is how bad it is out there: Last week I posted an open call both on Lulu and on Createspace looking for specific genres that Em, Chris, and I would like to review at the moment. How many queries did we get? One, and that author didn't read the post and submitted a genre we don't review at all. On the lulu board, people started randomly posting to the thread versus submitting a query as they were instructed.

All DIY sites have serious authors and hack authors. It just is what it is, but you can distinguish the serious ones right away. They know how to query for a "real" review. They respect the word, which in turn shows respect for the readers.
June 15th, 2009 @ 9:20 PM

Posted by LKCampbell:

In the first place, reviews don't sell books. A blurb with a good hook, quality of writing in the excerpt and word-of-mouth do more to sell a book than reviews will. That's true for all books no matter what method of publishing was used.
Secondly, readers ARE smart enough to know "fake" reviews when they read them. Having friends and family members post 5-Star reviews on Amazon—especially when they haven't read the whole book is a waste of time.
And finally, I learned early on that what will kill a self-published book (more than anything else) is pricing it out of the market. One of the reasons that I don't make a huge royalty from my books is due to the fact that I set a price I thought readers would be willing to pay.

The "work" of self-publishing is way too hard for the type of people who posted in that forum, and soon they'll go away never to be heard from again. The bad thing is that the ridiculous nature of that forum post makes it even harder for the rest of us to make any headway with readers.
June 15th, 2009 @ 9:35 PM

Posted by willaful:

"Secondly, readers ARE smart enough to know "fake" reviews when they read them. Having friends and family members post 5-Star reviews on Amazon—especially when they haven't read the whole book is a waste of time."

I only wish that were true. There are several cases of people fake-reviewing themselves into fairly high amazon rankings. You will find these sad, bewildered reviews amidst the raves, saying things like "I bought this because of all the excelent reviews, but this book didn't even make sense."
June 16th, 2009 @ 6:22 AM

Posted by meh:

What willaful said - it's true. There is so much among readers and agents that gets picked up based on fake or wholly unconsidered endorsements. There's also divebombing of the competition or authors the fake reviewer just doesn't like.
June 16th, 2009 @ 12:00 PM

Posted by meh:

And I mean just doesn't like on a personal, rather than writing, level.
June 16th, 2009 @ 12:02 PM

Posted by LKCampbell:

I should change something in my post. I should have said "the type of authors who posted in that forum" instead of "the type of people". I meant no offense to anyone's character. I was talking about their lack of thinking when it comes to publishing and effective promotion.
June 17th, 2009 @ 4:20 AM

Posted by Zoe Winters:

Another problem with this is that those of us who don't ask people to leave dishonest reviews or not even read it before reviewing it, get accused of the same anyway. Because of people like the self-pubbed authors in that thread.

I've had more than one person assume that most of my good reviews on Amazon are reviews from friends or people who didn't read it. Over half of the reviews were completely unsolicited, and the others were from people who met me through my writing and actually read the novella.
June 25th, 2009 @ 8:35 AM