5 Star Average Rating! (my foot)

I am probably the worst nightmare of other authors: click on all their links — not because I’m curious about their book — but because I’m curious as to why someone would be interested in their work. I like to troll around on Amazon and see what people are buying, read a few reviews, and just get an overall sense of what’s out there.

Of course, in doing so, I often find myself shaking my head at the types of books and types of hype which is used to sell books.

I saw on Twitter someone advertising a book which had a “5-star rating average.” My first thought was, wow, it must be some book. My follow-up thought was that there must be something wrong with this picture – no book with any amount of stars maintains a 5-star rating. I had to find out, so I clicked on the link, found myself on their amazon page, and sure enough, the book had an average 5.0 star rating. Here’s the break-down:

1 Review = 5 Stars

That’s it. Now it was a verified purchase review, so that’s at least something.

But come on, are we fudging the facts just a bit? I certainly wouldn’t be comfortable in saying that in an advertisement. It worked, in that it at least got me to click on the link and look at the author’s book, but …

Hey, I understand. Advertising is tough. The market is saturated and you want to use every trick available to grab someone’s attention. But still – is that the best you can do? Even if I was interested in the topic of the book (which I wasn’t), I wouldn’t have bought it because of such an underhanded tactic.

I’ve been advertising my latest novel, The Reach of the Banyan Tree, at 4.8 stars on 22 reviews. In my opinion, that’s enough independent reviews to get a sense of how readers are accepting the work. I’m comfortable in promoting that. But 1 at 5?

Come on, authors, we can do better than that.

My Reviews are Not Fake – I pledge!

I took the pledge – http://truereviewpledge.com/

Truth be told, I took the pledge in order to request a review of my novel “Beauty Rising” from a site who won’t review authors unless they take the pledge.

But, I support what TrueReviewPledge is trying to accomplish.

We’ve probably all heard the stories. Authors padding their Amazon reviews with fake reviews from fake people or from from voracious readers who read 20,000 books in the last month. Yeah, right.

Reviews help drive sales, and some authors see no problem with padding their review resume in order to increase sales. Sure, it might be tempting, but I could never do that.

Call me old fashioned if you like, but I want my writing to stand on its own two feet.  I don’t know anyone who likes poor reviews, but I will tell you this, I would rather have a poor review than a fake review any day of the week.

Perhaps it’s a matter of pride. I couldn’t live with myself if I was just faking reviews to build up a readership. The only way I want to build a readership is by writing a quality book and having people enjoy it and want to share it with others.

That is why the reviews that I have had mean so much to me. Sure, I personally know some of the people that reviewed “Beauty Rising” – but I told them, point blank, to please be honest. I believe they have.

Now, I have many reviews from people I don’t know, most of them have been very positive – but not all. This is what really means a lot to me – to have someone write a review – good or bad – because the book affected them in one way or another.

I’m not writing for money – certainly not fame – I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. (Luckily, I don’t think I have enemies.) I’m writing because I love to write. What kind of person would I be if I loved my writing so much that I’d be willing to lie about it just to get ahead?

No thanks. I pledge that all the reviews of “Beauty Rising” that you can read on Amazon are real. Now it’s possible that someone faked a review, but I can’t imagine what the motive of that would be.

So I took the pledge. I want real reviews. I’ll be honest in my own reviews.  Hopefully, the book world will be better for it.