There’s an article doing the rounds at the moment from the Washington Post suggesting that the Amazon is undergoing some kind of fake review crisis. There are problems with Amazon reviews, of course, but this article is based on some pretty flawed data. At least in how it pertains to the world of books, which is what I know, and what I’ll focus on here. I can’t speak to the world of diet supplements or fake tan or giant tubs of lube – alas.
The article’s claims are largely based on a flaky site called ReviewMeta, which seems far better at getting publicity for itself than correctly analyzing the trustworthiness of reviews, which is a pity as it would be a wonderful tool if it was in any way accurate.
I first heard about ReviewMeta back in 2016 and was very excited to test it out. Naturally, I started with my own books, as I can be pretty sure there are no fake reviews there, being the author, publisher, and marketer of all these titles, and someone who is fastidious about the rules as my name is literally my brand.
However, ReviewMeta seems to call into question a large number of my reviews and reviewers. And by extension me, I guess. And all of you too, because many of the random selection of books I checked had similar issues. The ReviewMeta site helpfully gives explanations for why its system made these determinations, and you can actually break down each component and get a further explanation. This transparency is hugely commendable. Read More…
Readers can be a skittish bunch, bolting for cover at the first distant rumble of the author promo wagon. I don’t blame them. Nothing spoils a good conversation like a salesman with a megaphone. What usually happens is this. Readers find a nice site where they can congregate and have good conversations about books. A writer discovers the site and thinks he has struck gold. Word of this rich seam of “customers” spreads like wildfire, and writers descend en masse hauling wagonloads of blurbs, excerpts, taglines, hyperlinks, ALL CAPS, and, yes, megaphones.
I am in a wistful mood this morning. Perhaps it’s the soft summer rain. Maybe its the Joe Dassin tune on my record player. Most likely it’s last tentacles of the wine I drank last night still wrapped lovingly around my frontal lobe. Whatever the cause, I’m going to take advantage of this faux-nostalgia and peer back through the mists of time, all the way to April 2011. If you keep with me until the end, there may even be a moral to the story. At the start of April, the only people who had read my writing were a handful of friends and a group of overworked literary agents’ interns. The only person who had been subjected to my Read More…
This is the seventh part of my continuing series INDIE PUBLISHING FOR INTERNATIONAL WRITERS, a step-by-step guide to getting your stories into (digital) print. I’ll be doing each step with you, learning as you do, because I’ve never done this before either. I will be compiling all these steps into a free e-book for my blog-readers when I am done. Step 7: Reviews: How To Get Them, And How To Deal With Them Some people are sceptical about the power of reviews and whether they have any significant effect on sales. However, I think this is a very short-term view.
Even God got a day off on Sunday, so here’s some stuff for you guys to chew on, while I try and get a story finished. A Bad Week For… Agents Agents made a lot of headlines this week. First we had top UK agent Ed Victor announcing the launch of his publishing imprint. Fellow agent Peter Cox bravely called for him to be thrown out of the Association of Author’s Agents (quote in comments at end).