Category Archives: Book reviews

Amazon Removes Hundreds of “Verified Purchase” Reviews

This is a fascinating forum post. Apparently, publishers are sending Amazon gift cards to reviewers. The reviewers buy the books and then write the reviews.

The reason publishers do it? To get the “Amazon Verified Purchase” badge on the review.

Cheating? You decide. After all, it’s just a way of getting review copies into the hands of reviewers, so there shouldn’t be a problem. However, if it’s a sneaky way of getting the “Amazon Verified Purchase” notification, making it look as if it’s a enthusiastic buyer who bought the book and then wrote the review… it’s cheating.

Of course, Amazon is completely aware of who bought the gift card, who bought the book, and who wrote the review.

Read the post, Customer Discussions: Cheating with supply of review copies – the Amazon Verified Purchase scam:

“Some authors and publishers, seeing that some customers attach an importance to those Amazon Verified Purchase badges that I think they don’t deserve, have tried to get round the problem by sending Amazon gift cards for the value of the product to their reviewers, who then use that credit to buy the product.”

It looks as if Amazon’s cracking down on reviews in which there’s a connection between the author, publisher, and cover designer.

Also from the above forum post:

A graphic designer, who does book covers for authors, received an email from Amazon that she is not allowed to review the books/stories that she designs the covers for, even though she gets paid a flat rate, regardless of sales of the book, even though she chooses to review only the books she likes or reads when she makes the cover, etc., but they still consider that a monetary and material connection to the product, so she can’t review them any longer.

I’m with Amazon on this one. I constantly buy Kindle books. Reading is my pastime, as well as my business. Over the past couple of months, I’ve become chary of four and five star reviews on a book, to the point where I read the one-star reviews first. More to the point, I trust the one-stars more than the five-stars.

I’m sure I’m missing out on some great reads this way, but what can you do if the system is being undermined and gamed?

Who’s Afraid of One-Star Reviews? (Giggle)


Joe Konrath’s written an amusing post on maintaining perspective, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing: Get Over Yourselves:

“Pinheads have dumb opinions, and the Internet lets them shout their dumb opinions without any fear of repercussion. We’re all free to condemn whoever we want to condemn, and be outraged by whatever gets us off.

Right now I’m outraged at all the unwarranted outrage.”

I wrote a blog post on Silver Bullet Syndrome:

Here’s why magic-bullet-thinking is bad — it shows a lack of respect for your readers. (And clients, too, if you’re writing for clients.)

People do strange things when they’re afraid. The freak out at sock-puppet reviews. They’re outraged at one-star reviews. They join a discussion group to harvest emails and spam members.

Take the heat

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been chatting with Challenge members who are afraid, specifically of one-start reviews on Amazon. However, as Konrath says, Amazon allows one-star reviews.

Think about it. If you post your novel (or ANYTHING) online, how bad would it be if someone, or many someones, absolutely hated what you wrote? If they gave you a one-star review?

Would it destroy you?

It wouldn’t destroy you. It might enrage you and later, make you sad. It might even stop you writing for a few days.

Here’s my advice: breathe. Take three deep, slow, breaths. Then take three more. Keep breathing.

If you survived school, you know all about bullies, and you’re more than capable of dealing with one-star reviews. Think about how you’d react now. Be prepared for it, because it will happen.

People will hate what you write. They’ll hate what you write even if they’ve never read it.

You can’t control what people do, or don’t do.

Here’s what you can do. You can accept that you’ll get bad reviews. That’s life.

You can decide that you understand that, and are completely prepared for it.

Then you can decide that you’ll laugh at one-star reviews. If there’s anything in a bad review which can help your writing, you can decide that you’ll take the advice.

Then you’ll write the best you can, today and tomorrow.

, and on Twitter: @angee

photo credit: Rakka via photopin cc

Are You a New Author? Then No, I Won’t Review Your Book

Bloggers are often asked to review books. Sometimes I do, if the author has been published before, but if the author is new, I stay well away.

Here’s why.

Years ago, somewhere around 1998, I joined a writing group (the details have mercifully faded into the mists), where the deal was that we reviewed each other’s work.

All went well, initially. Then I wrote a review, and the author took it badly. Here’s the thing: the review was a good review. considering. I was kind, but I did point out a couple of flaws. My mistake.

I had a similar experience to this reviewer, One (Bad) Way To Get Yourself Noticed As A Kindle Author | Amazon Kindle 3 and Kindle DX Review and News Blog:

“When the reviewer piped up that he had gotten the new version, she got a bit irate.  Then she got a LOT irate.”

I’ve forgotten the details, but the lady told me exactly what she thought of me, and my ancestry, in very imaginative terms, and said she’d ensure that I never published another word online…

If you can’t handle reviews, don’t read them

If you’re writing a book, think about how you’ll handle reviews NOW, before you get them.

Yes, now. 🙂

Some authors can’t handle reviews. If you know you’ll have steam coming out of your ears and will turn purple with rage, commit to NEVER reading any reviews.

Remember: you wrote the book. You did it. You deserve kudos for it. Pat yourself on the back, and tell yourself you did great, because you did.

You also need to remember that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Reviewers too. Once your baby’s out there, focus on your next book, the one you’re writing now, and let people have their opinions.

A bad review won’t kill your book — indeed, it may make your book much more successful. There’s a reason for the saying that all publicity is good publicity, as long as they spell your name right.

Once your book is selling, it stands alone. If you do read reviews, and find that reviewers have picked up on a real problem, fix it. That’s easy with digital publication. On the other hand, if you think their opinion is wrong, keep quiet.

Focus on what matters: the book you’re writing now.

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