Dear Self Published/Indie/Whatever you call yourself Author,
You do not have to pay for reviews. Your friend may have done it, it may have resulted in some sales. The average Joe saying, wowza that’s a lot of positive reviews. Then Joe buys the book. That’s awesome right? But as an author, do you feel like your friend gave Joe a legitimate route to buying your book?
Isn’t writing a creative thing? Don’t you want people to be drawn to your work based on its merit? If you are getting bad reviews, stop and think. Is there some common theme in these bad reviews that you can use to make your writing better for the next book? Or hell, you can revise this book and put it up again replacing the older copy. That is the beauty of self publishing!
I ain’t even mad at y’all for paying. I’m not even mad at the douchebag who takes your money and doesn’t even read your book before he writes you fifty glowing reviews. But I’m saddened that yet again another black mark has found its way onto self publishing’s reputation.
Todd Rutherford (@PublishingGuru) is not your friend. He’s a guy making money off your need to have these good reviews, and your want to make it big time on your own without traditional publishing. I’m in your corner! I want to see more Amanda Hockings, but I want to see this done on hard work and actual fucking ethics, like Hocking did.
Hocking went to blog reviewers (a lot of whom also post on Goodreads and Amazon) and she worked hard pitching them individually on her own and getting her books read. There are bloggers who read self published works in the genres they are passionate about (No, I am not one of them. No, your book isn’t different. Please don’t pitch me.).
Last year I read three or four self published books that were recommended to me by these blogger friends. This year I’ve bought seven. They were recommended to me by blogger friends. Do you see a pattern? I am not about to buy a self published book based on how many AMZ reviews it has if I do not know the reviewers. I have been wary of these reviews for a while, the good and the bad. The good could be from someone like Rutherford, and the bad from the competition.
Consumers are smarter than you give them credit for, and especially now after the New York Times ran this story your consumers will become even more wary of online reviews.
Here is my suggestion for you. Go research bloggers who review self published books, and see which of those blogs review books in your genre. Write a pitch (much like a query letter to an agent) and maybe they will review your book. Do not spam, do not write, “Hey, Blogger,” our names are on our blog somewhere. If you can’t find it just say hi.
It is a lot of work. Hell, it may be harder than the actual writing of your book, but people know these reviews are for real and bloggers are the online word of mouth. You should never pay for a review, ever.
Pam, who still thinks Rutherford is a douche.
If you are a blogger that reviews self published books please say so in the comments. It will help the peeps who read this post get a start on their search.
What do you guys think of paying for AMZ reviews?
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