93 5-star reviews...really?

July 24, 2013

I’ve been told never to write in anger…that a lot of problems can come from a hastily written opinion piece. The advice it to write it then come back to it again the following day to make sure you really want to say what you’ve committed to paper…err…keyboard. But do you know what? I’ve waited the required 24–hours and I still want to say this. So here it is…

Alright, so it’s rant-o’clock here on my blog, and that's perfectly okay because this is my blog, my personal corner of the Internet where I can say what I'm thinking and feeling without a lot of fallout.

I’ve been biting my tongue for a long time now about the amount of Indie authors who have a new-release book and within a few days of it being available for downloads, they already have 50+ 5-star reviews. Okay, so great they have + 5-star reviews. That’s not where my issue lies. My issue lies with the fact that ALL the reviews are 5-star. Surely at least 10% of all those people would have had some issues with the book to give them a four-, maybe even three-star review. 

I think a lot of these problems come from a couple of places. One is the blogger involved in a blog tour organised by either the authors themselves, or a third party who puts it all together. Why you ask? Well, it’s simple. When an author chooses to conduct a blog tour, it is essentially a week’s/two week’s/three week’s worth of guaranteed positive spin. I have to admit that I have fallen into the trap of doing this. Let me just say that I didn’t do this to get all 5-star reviews for my books. I simply did it to test out how well my book will be taken by people who are not my friends, who are not my family, who are simply people who love to read and will give their opinions honestly. 

I simply don’t think this is the best way to go about getting honest reviews. Yeah, I mean you might get half a dozen glowing reviews, but what does it really mean? Does it mean the book you’ve written is as amazing as all these bloggers are saying, or are they simply giving you what you asked for—half a dozen glowing reviews??

Honesty is what you want. But how do you get it? The only real way is to put your book onto Amazon/Kobo/iTunes/B&N and wait until perfect strangers who have absolutely no ulterior motive choose to buy, read and review your book. That is the only way to get an honest review for your books.

I guess my real issue is with authors who think that all those 5-star reviews are actually honest, they actually mean something. They don’t. They’re essentially paid-for-by-free-copy-of-book kind of honest. After all, what kind of blogger is going to review your book then tell you it’s crap?

No blogger at all. That’s who.

So, from now on, I won’t be participating in blog tours where I’m expected to give a 5-star review when the book is 3-star at best. I don’t like every book I read. Sometimes I see flaws and plot holes as big as the Grand Canyon, and I will talk about them along with all the positive things. When I review, I will give a well-rounded explanation of the book’s merits and flaws.

I guess that’s my rant over. As an Indie author, I’ve made mistakes along the way, but I believe I have enough integrity to admit my mistakes and learn from them. To those authors out there who believe in what they write in, do yourself a favour and don’t seek out reviews before the release of your book. The average reader is not an idiot, and they will see through everything the blogger is not saying in their 5-star reviews.

I'm fully aware that I'm going to cop some flack for this...if you have an issue/counter point/agreement/encouragement to what I've said, leave me a comment. Let's talk about this like adults, but at the end of the day, this is my opinion and someone's opinion is never wrong.

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