Fascinating, and thought provoking, article from Laura Miller at Salon.com and recommended for anyone out there with thoughts of hyping one’s self-publishing ebooks:
When looking over some of the independent self-publishing authors out there, I was struck by those who had an incredible amount of extremely positive reviews about their book. We’re talking about authors I was unfamiliar with, people who sometimes only had one book on their resume, yet over fifty plus positive reviews about said book.
I wondered: How was that possible?
In the past few years, I’ve released a graphic novel, a book of short stories, and five novels. Those I’ve encountered who have read some (or all) of my works have given me very kind complements about them. I’m not exaggerating when I say these complements often border on the wildly enthusiastic. Despite this, there is a dearth of positive reviews of my works on Amazon. Those that are there are positive, like this one I found on Amazon UK just today (it was posted on August 6th) concerning my most recent novel, Chameleon, and is written by someone who identifies him/herself as “freeloader”:
(Chameleon) is an excellent read, i could not put this book down, and i will be looking for other works by this author, once again i found this as a free download on amazon Kindle site, and i thought free must mean rubish, but no once again a good book to read and would have no hesitation in trying this author again
Just to be clear here: I have neither friends nor family in the UK, where I’m assuming this review originates from (it was, after all, on the Amazon UK website). I’m proud beyond words that my book was enjoyed by this particular reviewer enough for him/her to spend a few moments of their valuable time giving the book such a glowing positive review.
But I know that the vast majority of people out there simply don’t have either the time or inclination to write positive or negative reviews for everything good or bad they stumble upon in their day-to-day life.
I know because I’m guilty of doing just that.
I could spend literally days, weeks, months, and years sorting through the music I enjoy and writing reviews of everything that turns me on and off. Ditto for movies and books. The same goes for hotels, airlines, and restaurants I’ve used. I could also review shoe, clothing, and T-shirt companies. Hell, I could even write about politicians and countries. Just about everything one encounters in the course of a day could be reviewed by you, should you choose to do so.
Which brings us back to Laura Miller’s article and my suspicions regarding some of those independent books with curiously large amounts of positive reviews. I suppose one could accuse me of being jealous that I don’t have as many positive reviews of my works…and I would certainly accept that as a possibility. I won’t lie: I do wish that more of my readers would take the time to review my works, especially if they enjoyed what I’ve written.
But I am also realistic enough to know that what I do get in terms of reviews are a blessing. Why? Because these people have done something I myself haven’t done nearly as much as I should: Take a moment of their valuable time to write something positive…in this case, about works I created.
While I’m certain there are those out there who use social media and social media promotion companies to manipulate opinion of their works, the fact is that that’s a reality of the world we live in. It is my choice not to use professional promotion companies to pump out false positive reviews. Thus, for better or worse, the reviews that do appear regarding my works -few as they may be- are earned.
And for those who have taken the time to say such nice things, my thanks to you.
I truly, truly appreciate it.