Just because a website reviewer received a book for free doesn't mean they'll give a good review, but I agree just on principle anyway. We all have such unique tastes, I don't really look at book reviews.
Hmmmm, in my alter-ego role as reader, I confess to being attracted like a moth to bright, shiny books that have more than 30 or so reviews. A certain number of reviews gives a book a sort of grown-up feel to me. I don't care if all the reviews are 5 stars, but I'll want at least a few up there high.
I always read samples, though. Maybe not the whole thing, but long enough to get a sense of the writing.
I don't understand readers who don't read samples. One of them was the one who left me my 1 star review. In a bookstore, would people really pick a book off the shelf (from an author they don't know), skim the blurb on the back cover, then purchase?
This particual topic kinda ticks me off. If there are gramatical errors in the blurb then the five star review is fake. Give me a break. Half the readers in the US wouldn't recoginze most errors. "Its" where "It's" was required. No comma after "Which". And it goes on and on. However, those errors could not possibly allow a five star review. This never takes the story into account, only its structure.
Try this on for size. If you don't like the blurg or the book, then any five star review must be fake and the one stars accurate. It's amazing how one's taste dictates their determination of what's true or false.
I suspect a huge number of reviews on Amazon, especially on books that are high in the rankings, are done by other authors with an ax to grind. Those are the real fake reviews.
Most of my reviews are from bloggers who got my books for free from Smashwords with a coupon I provided, who all posted on Amazon, too, as well as their own blogs. I didn't know any of them and they wrote what they really thought. Most of the reviews are good. The only one-star review I've gotten that I've noticed is from a woman who was so offended by the language on the first page, that she stopped reading, deleted it and "warned other readers" about it. Now, first of all, I plainly rated this book for language. Second, the book isn't filled with bad language. The character himself is a bad person who uses vulgar language. If this silly woman had had the gumption to keep reading, she would have realized that and maybe even enjoyed the story. I couldn't even bother being upset about it. I just laughed and moved on.
As a reader, I always take reviews (even those I don’t consider fake) with a grain of salt. Over on Goodreads, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander received 8,780 one star and 8,434 two star reviews. That many people disliked her book, or found it lacking. (Of course, she got almost 60,000 five stars stars.) Diana Gabaldon is one of my favorite authors, and I loved Outlander.
As a writer, I’ve never really solicited reviews, and only have a few on my various books. Several are written by people I know personally – yet so far, my favorite review for Lessons is one I got over at Smashwords. That reviewer only gave me 4 out of 5 stars, but she wrote: ” I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the main and subsidiary characters well drawn and interesting.”
Not sure if other readers will think it is a fake, but it sure made me feel good.
One of my best sellers (under one of my pen names) only has 3 reviews. All are legit, Two are a 5 star, and one is a 4 star.
One of the reviewers has over 100 other reviews, and he/she is not shy about giving 1 star reviews.
Another has a blog, where she posts her reviews.
The third has over 20 other reviews, and also not shy about giving 1 star.
I suspect readers consider the reviewer, and that reviewer’s history of other reviews. Perhaps just having a couple good reviews, from a verifiable reviewer is worth more than having dozens of five star reviews.
Writing fake reviews happens all over. For example, I often check out the IMDB for movies, and there are numerous fake reviews there put in by the marketing guys. How often do you see a movie add that states `and the critics raved ...` when the film was horrible. They pay people to write good reviews, and you can spot the fake ones right away.
But reviews from friends can be genuine, too. One of my best friends looked at my book and admitted it was not his genre (a teen book) and had his 18 year old nanny review it who praised it.
It also depends on the reader. I have read traditionally published books that had great reviews that I thought were crap. In fact, I just perused the book store the other day just to see what was on the shelves and I could not believe some of the premises that were being fully published and marketed.
The new and evolving ebook and Kindle phenomenon is turning the traditional publishing world upside down, so expect a backlash from their supporters. For us indie authors, this is great, but for Corporate and Mom and Pop book store owners, plummeting sales are looming.
'Perhaps just having a couple good reviews, from a verifiable reviewer is worth more than having dozens of five star reviews.'
That, in my opinion, sums it up. Readers are far more intelligent than what many 'fake-review authors' would believe. And the personality of 'readers' differs from the majority of cinema-goers and TV-viewers in that they enjoy reading because they like to think and evaluate for themselves.
Wow, It was so nice to read some of your guys' thoughts. Believe it or not I actually feel a little relieved. Although one of my books has a few one star reviews there are just as many or more positive, three or more star reviews. All of which are given by credible reviewers, those that have more than just my review up. I will take solace in the fact that despite my review worries at least my books continue to sell at a steady rate.