|"You Lie" by Banksy|
Monday, September 10, 2012
Authors Behaving Badly: Reviews
Okay, so I've talked a bit before about how I feel about reviews. Short version: Authors, don't go there. Reviews are for readers, not for you. Put your hands over your ears and go la la la, but never respond to reviews.
But you know one thing I didn't mention? Because I really thought it was so obvious that it didn't need mentioning:
DON'T FAKE YOUR OWN REVIEWS!
Don't be like a certain British crime writer who posted reviews under false names on Amazon. You know what, even if he thinks he's written "a modern masterpiece" that "will touch your soul", it's not for him to say. And he knew that, or he wouldn't have used a pseudonym. That goes to show intent, your honour.
But don't mistake this guy for a one trick pony. Because not only did he give himself fake awesome reviews, he also gave low star reviews to the work written by rival authors.
Rivals? Shit, I thought we were all on the same side.
DON'T FAKE OTHER AUTHORS' REVIEWS.
Which brings me to another thing about reviews. Professional courtesy.
I was worried about going on to Goodreads as an author, because I didn't like the idea of reviewing other authors' works. I don't want to lie, but sometimes I don't want to say exactly what I think either, right? Because your work might be a pile of steaming howler monkey crap -- and you might think mine is as well -- but we both know how hard we worked.
After speaking to a few other authors, I've adopted the following strategy: I will only rate three, four or five stars reads. If it got under that, you won't even know I read it. Nothing goes onto my "Currently Reading" list that I haven't already finished.
I might not like your book, but I'm not going to bag the shit out of it in public. Not under any name. If I like it, I'll rave about it. If I hate it, I'll shut my mouth.
As a reader I might not feel so constrained, but that's where I've decided to draw the line as an author.
My last point on reviews: Guys, YOU NEVER PAY FOR REVIEWS.
A paid review is ultimately as worthless as a faked review, expect now you also have no money. Reviews, good and bad, will happen organically. And you have to step back and let it happen.
Fake reviews are worse than bad reviews. And do you know why?
Back to the British crime writer: did his book touch my soul? Don't know. I'm never going to read it now. He doesn't deserve my money.